Britain: a few years from now. A new populist political party has won the recent general election.
Duncan Jones, freelance political journalist and blogger, loses his weekly column at a national newspaper and turns to investigative reporting. The chance remark of a friend leads him to suspect that the Russians are directing the new British government’s policies and decisions. As he visits Moscow and Ukraine to discover more, scandal follows intrigue, dark forces attempt to silence him by whatever means possible and he turns to an unlikely ally for help.
A Friend in Deed is a fast-paced psychological thriller set in an all-too-believable near future. It is also the story of how one man confronts the traumas in his past and works out how to resolve them.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I’m a morning person. I write 1500 words a day after checking my overnight emails, in the room above my garage looking out over the Sussex countryside.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I like the office to be tidy and organised before I start, with some soothing ambient music playing quietly in the background.
– Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
A bowl of porridge to get me started and lots of coffee to keep me going. And I have a bar of Green and Black’s milk chocolate hidden at the back of the larder in case of emergencies.
– What is your favourite book?
I think Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. It got me back into reading again at the end of the 1990s.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I’ve never written the same genre twice! Although my books are generally classified as psychological fiction, the first was a coming-of-age story, the second a political thriller and the third a crime thriller. With my next book, I’m planning to do a Ken Follett and make my next book a historical fiction epic, set in 12th Century Kent. I’ve just started the research and planning and it looks like it will be a formidable challenge. But exciting as well!
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Yes, a lot. Bobbie is a composite of three strong women I’ve met at different stages of my life, Duncan is a slightly idealised version of me, and Michael is a bit like Al Pacino in the Godfather.
-What is the story behind your trilogy?
They’re all psychological thrillers, but in three sub-genres. Love’s Long Road is a coming-of age -story set in the 1970s about a young woman who leads a reckless double life; Silent Money is a crime novel also set in the 70s and is about an assistant bank manager who becomes a ruthless crime lord; A Friend in Deed is a political thriller set a few years in the future where an over-the-hill journalist discovers that the Russians are controlling the new populist political party that governs Britain.
What makes the books unique is that each story is told from the point of view of a different one of the three main continuing characters in the three books. They’re all stand-alone stories, but for instance with Love’s Long Road and Silent Money, the same scenes and even the same dialogue is in both books, but they have a completely different meaning when seen from the point of view of the different characters.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Not everywhere, but I have one in the bedside cabinet in case I think of something before I fall asleep. I once thought of the most amazing twist as a resolution to a plotting problem and fell asleep happy and content that I’d solved something that had been bugging me for days. In the morning I’d completely forgotten what the idea was. It drove me nuts, Still to this day, I’ve no idea what I came up with.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I don’t get magical realism and I don’t have the concentration or patience to understand highbrow or experimental literary fiction. I don’t think reading should be hard work.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book, who would it be with?
My writing friend Elena. I think it would be a lot of fun!
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
Nepal. I spent five months trekking there in 2012 and it is a beautiful country and ripe as the setting for a good thriller.
Thank you, GD Harper and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
I was placed third in the 2015 Lightship Prize for first-time authors, won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition.
In 2017, I was one of twelve authors selected for Authors in the Spotlight at the Bloody Scotland book festival in Stirling, showcasing who they considered to be the best emerging talent in crime fiction, and was the only self-published author to be chosen. I have spoken at numerous other book events, including Blackwells’ Writers at the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; a stand-alone slot at the Byres Road Book Festival in Glasgow, and the Aye Write! Book Festival, also in Glasgow.
I worked in Russia and Ukraine for ten years, which gave me the ideas for the plot and setting that I used in A Friend in Deed.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/harper_author