Click on the cover to see it on Amazon
TR: Good morning, Brad, and thanks for being here.
BF: Morning, Thomas. Thanks for having me.
TR: So, What was the inspiration for “Role of Dishonour”?
BF: There are really two answers to that Thomas—the long one and the short one. The long one is so complex and meandering I’m not sure I understand it myself. The short one isn’t really all that short.
“Role of Dishonour” is about the troubles in Ireland. More than that, it’s the story of an attempt by four men to end them once and for all. There are complications—well, there would have to be, wouldn’t there, or else it wouldn’t be a story? Like Ireland itself, there’s a share of violence and mayhem, tears and laughter, love and loss.
I was one of those who lived through the troubles. Some good friends of mine didn’t. I was lucky. As a journalist and broadcaster I reported the troubles first hand. I watched a succession of peace initiatives flounder as good men and women strove to find an amicable solution to the centuries-old problems of one of the most beautiful countries on earth.
As the years went by I got to thinking. The germ of an idea took root—an outlandish, improbable, off-the-wall solution no government, nor any right-thinking person could ever countenance. Too radical. Far too drastic. It nagged at the back of my mind and wouldn’t go away. Back then, as a journalist, I was able to talk to people in authority, in government and security circles and from both sides of the country’s sectarian divide. I asked many questions, and bounced ideas around. The research took far longer than the actual writing.
When the book was finished I knew it couldn’t be published. It was much too soon, the troubles were on-going, the time wasn’t right. I put the finished manuscript in a desk drawer and it stayed there for over fifteen years. It would most likely be there still if a number of friends hadn’t coaxed, cajoled and persuaded me to do something about it. As I say, this is only the short answer.
TR: At some point, I’d like to hear the long one. It sounds like a fascinating read. Where is “Role of Dishonour” available?
BF: I was extraordinarily lucky. One of my favourite places on the web is MasterKoda.com. It’s like your own favourite coffee house or club where anyone can drop in for a chat about books and publishing, reading and writing, or virtually any other subject under the sun. It’s full of friendly, helpful folk who are always willing to listen, offer advice and give anyone a helping hand.
One day I got chatting with Kim Mutch Emerson, founder of MK, and I chanced to mention my book. She expressed an encouraging interest, asked to see the manuscript and the rest, as they say, is history. A few short months later the book was launched simultaneously on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. If all goes well it’s likely to come out in paperback next spring.
TR: Very good…I wish you the best with that. Let me know, and I’ll be sure to publicize it for you. Is there a place or setting where you get your ideas?
BF: As stated earlier, the idea for Role of Dishonour developed over a long period and is not typical of my other material. My next book Deadline to Danger, to be released by Master Koda Select Publishing early next year, has its origins in my own newspaper background. It’s totally different and follows a young man making his way in the newspaper business.
My ideas come from all sorts of places, including some very unlikely ones. I suppose I get most of mine on long walks in the woods or round the lakes with Sparky, my Border Collie. As often as not I get an idea for a central character first, then set him or her in a situation or give them a problem to solve. My morning newspaper is generally a good source of ideas. There’s usually a couple of little stories that can be adapted into a scene in a book, if not an entire novel.
Master Koda recently published my short story Inky Black and the Case of the Missing Moggy. The second Inky tale will be released in a few weeks and more are in the pipeline.
I wanted my new detective hero to be different from anything else out there. Not as intellectually bright as Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot, nor as tough as the popular breed of American private eyes. He was to be an eccentric and a bit of a loner, a guy for whom no case is too big or too small. He’s individual all right—he loves old Hollywood gangster movies, does passable impersonations of the likes of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart and affects a battered fedora and a Dick Tracy-style trench coat.
TR: That alone makes me curious enough to check it out. If you had to choose the most important element in an author’s platform what would it be?
BF: The honest answer is it’s good to be a good story. In my view everything else is secondary. It also helps, of course, to have believable and sympathetic characters.
TR: Well said. And again, Brad, thanks so much for being here.
There you go, folks. A bit of behind-the-scenes info on what made “Role of Dishonour” come to life.
Tune in Tuesday, Nov. 6, when I interview Bob Atkinson, author of “The Last Sunset”. Be there!