Never Stop Learning: A Conversation With Author Jason Pellegrini

Jason Pellegrini

Jason Pellegrini

By Daniel Ford

Author Jason Pellegrini got out attention in one of the more innovative ways that we’ve seen:

One of his readers even started a poll!

The Internet had spoken, so we agreed immediately!

Like any good author, Pellegrini had a good hook, but an even better follow through. His debut novel The Replacement is beloved by readers on Amazon and Goodreads, and he’s hard at work on his next book. He took the time to chat with me about his path to writing, his inspiration for The Replacement, and why writers can never stop learning.

Daniel Ford: Did you grow up knowing you wanted to be a storyteller or was it a passion that developed over time?

Jason Pellegrini: I would say it was always there, but it took some time to surface…

I didn’t know that I wanted to be a storyteller, but I’ve always been creative. I guess the desire to tell stories started to surface in 2003 when “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” ended. I didn’t think it got the ending it deserved, so I wrote an entire 22-episode season. It wasn’t anything impressive. Just episode highlights. But it was certainly a start. Then in college I took a creative writing course, and really enjoyed it. I wrote a short story about a modern day take on the Headless Horseman that really sticks out to this day. I think that was when I really noticed my ability to create. It was a few years after college that I decided I wanted to give writing a go.

DF: Who were some of your early influences in the crime genre, and which modern crime writers are you currently hooked on?

JP: If I’m being totally honest, I’m not the biggest reader of crime/mystery/thriller novels. I know that comes as a shock, given my first novel was a thriller. It was just the idea I had that I decided to go with.

As far as authors that I enjoy go, I’m a fan of Dennis Lehane. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read by him. I also just finished Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes trilogy, which I’ve had mixed emotions about.

DF: What’s your writing process like?

JP: It has certainly changed drastically from when I wrote The Replacement to writing this upcoming novel. I guess that part of evolving as a writer. The thing that has remained the same, though, and will likely always stay the same, is that I always sit down with a pretty strong idea of what it is I’m setting out to write in the chapter. I don’t think I could be one of those authors who sits down in front of their computer screen, and creates as they write. I think things tend to go off track that way. I like to have my guiding light.

I also don’t try to force it if it’s not there. I try to write a frequently as possible, but if I’m mentally burnt out, I’m not going to try and force myself to write. I’ll just end up writing garbage. When I do sit down to write, I aim for at least a thousand words a sitting. Usually I hit it. Sometimes I do less. Sometimes I do more. Sometimes I write one sentence in a half hour, absolutely loathe it, and then delete it. When the latter example occurs, I usually close my laptop after deleting that horrible sentence, and call it a night. I consider it living to fight another day.

DF: What inspired your novel The Replacement?

JP: Well, in 2007, two friends and I decided to try out writing screenplays. We thought we had what it took—we didn’t—and thought we had a golden idea—we definitely didn’t. That ended quickly, and the end result was something that I hope never get unearthed…ever.

However, during that time I came up with an idea for a movie about a rookie detective coming in to replace a retiring detective, and the two work a case together, chasing a sadistic serial killer. I also had an ending worked out, which I won’t mention here. When it came time to decide what I wanted to write my first novel about, that specific idea stuck out above the rest. I expanded on it, and eventually it became The Replacement.

DF: The crime genre has certain built-in tropes that can deter some writers from taking the plunge. How did you ensure that your tale was original?

JP: So I’m a firm believer that every story that can be told has already been told. You just have to find a way to make it your own. I forget who said that, but it’s true when you think about it. Look back at my last answer to the question of what inspired The Replacement. My original barebones idea sounds exactly like the movie, “Se7en.” I just took that basic idea, and made it my own. For starters, I added my own twist at the end. But the thing I think makes any story original is the characters. They are what breathe life into a story. If you have strong and original characters, you can tell any tale you want. Even if it’s been told in some form a thousand times before.

DF: How much of yourself—and the people you have daily interactions with—did you put into your main characters? How do you develop your characters in general?

JP: I’m a human being. I have experienced emotions all across the board. From happiness to anger to depression to hatred to love. All of it. You name it, I’ve felt it. So I’d say I pour a lot of myself into the characters. I’ve done good things in my life, and I’ve done some shitty things, too—yeah, I’ll admit it! I just take a specific attribute, and apply it to my character accordingly. If I need to, I’ll turn it up a bit, or even dial it down. Not every character is a reflection of myself or my beliefs, but the raw emotions, like love or hate, come from me.

As far as developing characters go, I try to figure out early on what defines a character, and what drives them to do whatever it is they do in the story. I view developing characters a lot like getting to know a person. When you meet them, you know only a few things about them. But as you spend time with them, you learn more about who they are. Even though I am creating these characters, I’ll sometimes find myself at a point in the story where my character has to do something that I never expected they’d ever do until I’ve reached that point. It’s a strange, yet very interesting, process.

DF: Do you have to work at avoiding clichés when depicting New York City and the surrounding area, or do you feel comfortable in your knowledge of it that you don’t really think about it?

JP: Well luckily most of my story takes place in suburban Long Island, and only select flashbacks are in the city. I never felt like I was writing clichés. I have been to Manhattan enough to feel comfortable with creating an accurate portrayal of it. Some of those things portrayed happen to be clichés, but sometimes that’s what a cliché in. An accurate portrayal of something.

DF: When you finished your first draft, did you know you had something good, or did you have to go through multiple rounds of edits to realize you had something you felt comfortable taking to readers?

JP: As far as the content of the story went, I felt like I had something I could present to the public. I like to believe I have a pretty good ability to mold and then present a story on paper. I know my strengths. I also know my weaknesses, or my insecurities.

As far as the writing was concerned…that is where I had the most issues. With The Replacement, there were parts I really liked, and thought were well written. There were also parts I hated, and felt embarrassed having written them. Even if they would never be seen by the public eye. I visited and revisited chapter to try and get them to what I felt was something that could be seen by the public, and even now, after the book’s publication, I’m sure I would cringe at certain parts if I was to read the book again. I feel the writing part of creating a story is something I will constantly be self-conscious, and always work to better myself at.

I am working closely with an editor for my upcoming book, so hopefully she can catch things that I missed the first time around, and help strengthen weak links throughout the story.

DF: As we’ve discovered, you have passionate readers who have given your novel high praise on both Amazon and Goodreads. What has that experience been like and what’s next for you?

JP: It’s something that cannot be described. I know that sounds bad coming from someone who calls themselves an author, but it is the truth. I knew I had something good that people could enjoy, but never did I expect people enjoying what I created at such a consistent level. To go on Goodreads and Amazon, and see so many four- or five-star reviews is amazing. People daydream about what it’s going to be like when their book is published or their album is released. We all like to think it’s going to be well received. For it to become a reality is just such an amazing feeling. These people are the reason I find the motivation to keep going.

What’s next is simple…I have a book coming out later this year. After that’s done, I’m going to get started on a new one! Just got to keep on keeping on!

DF: What’s your advice to aspiring authors?

JP: Read On Writing by Stephen King. It was the first piece of advice I ever received, and I’m glad I did. Two things he discusses that I want to mention here are 1) constantly read, and 2) don’t let the fear of what others might think affect the story you tell or the characters you create.

As far as advice form me…Never stop learning. Constantly evolve. Find the mistakes, even in your successes (because they’re there, trust me!). Just be aware of your weaknesses without letting them destroy your strengths.

DF: Can you please name one random fact about yourself?

JP: I was born on Halloween!

To learn more about Jason Pellegrini, like his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter @JPellegrini1983.

The Writer’s Bone Interviews Archive

A Conversation With Author Camille Noe Pagán

Camille Noe Pagán

Camille Noe Pagán

By Sean Tuohy

Few writers can be both funny and thought provoking, but best-selling author Camille Noe Pagán pulls it off with ease and charm. With a strong voice and characters that pop off the page, Pagan brings readers into a well-crafted world where anything can happen.

I was lucky enough to pick Pagan’s mind and find out about her writing process and how to found her own voice as a writer.

Sean Tuohy: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Camille Noe Pagán: As soon as I could hold a pen! I’ve always loved fiction, but for the longest time being a novelist seemed out of my reach. In fact, I remember attempting to write a book shortly after I graduated from college and quickly realizing I was completely in over my head. So, I put that dream aside, and didn’t really try to write a novel again until around the time I turned 30. That book was The Art of Forgetting, which Penguin published in 2011 and 2012. (I wrote several novels after Forgetting; Life and Other Near-Death Experiences is the fifth or sixth novel I wrote, but the second I published.)

ST: What authors did you worship growing up?

CNP: Definitely Judy Blume; I read everything she wrote. Ditto for C.S. Lewis. Back in the day, The Chronicles of Narnia were the closest thing we had to a Harry Potter series, and I read each book several times.

ST: What is your writing process like? Do you outline?

CNP: I don’t outline, but I do draft a couple-page synopsis (which reads almost like an extended query letter of sorts) around the time I begin a new novel. It’s a process that helps me understand where the book’s going—even if plot points change as I’m writing (as they inevitably do).

ST: Your second novel, Life and Other near Death Experiences, was recently released. Where did this story come from?

CNP: I was on a work trip in California and had taken a break to walk along the shore in Santa Monica. The storyline came to me at once, and I began writing as soon as I returned home.

I’m drawn to stories that explore how humans deal with the inevitable sadness and loss that comes with life. Personally, I deal with grief and pain with equal parts introspection and humor, and I think that’s what you’ll find in Life, and in all of my novels.

ST: Libby Miller is unwavering optimist and then life throws her a sucker punch. Did you have fun with her character? Can any of you be found in Libby?

CNP: I’m much more similar to Libby’s brother Paul, who’s a pessimist and prone to anxiety. But I love writing about protagonists who are distinctly different from myself—it makes for a more creative (and fun) writing process. Of course, there’s a little bit of me in every one of my characters. 

ST: What is next for Camille Pagán?

CNP: I try not to say too much about the books I’m writing because I never know if one will “work” until I’m done. But I am halfway through a new novel, and I’m really excited about it; I’m hoping it will be out at the end of 2016.

ST: What do you tell first-time writers?

CNP: Focus on your voice. It took me years to figure mine out—and more time, still, to resist the temptation to write like someone else. But in the end, that’s the only thing that sets your work apart.

ST: Can you tell us one random fact about yourself?

CNP: I’m pretty short—just over five feet tall. I once met a fellow writer (who was not particularly tall herself) at a conference and she looked at me and said, “Wow, your head looked so big in your photo that I thought you’d be taller.” (In response, I mumbled something into my drink and wandered away.) So there you have it, folks. Don’t be surprised if we meet and I only come up to your shoulder.

To learn more about Camille Noe Pagán, visit her official website or follow her on Twitter @cnoepagan


Free-Range Characters: 7 Questions With Author Justin Taylor

Justin Taylor

Justin Taylor

By Sean Tuohy

Justin Taylor’s short story collection Flings was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month in August 2014 and praised by the likes of The Daily Beast, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly.

Taylor talked to me recently about the authors he worshiped growing up, how he allows his characters to roam freely, and his short story collections. 

Sean Tuohy: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Justin Taylor: From when I was very young. I filled notebooks with stories almost as soon as I learned to write. Later, in early high school, I got into writing poetry, though they don’t really teach poetry in my high school so I didn’t have much to go by other than song lyrics, a vague notion of Beat ethos, and at least one volume of Jim Morrison’s verse. Oy. It really wasn’t until college that I discovered craft, line-editing, revision, etc. But putting aside questions of skill, the fundamental ass-in-chair-pen-in-hand urge was always there in me, as close to instinct as such a thing could possibly be.

ST: What authors did you worship growing up?

JT: Stephen King throughout most of adolescence, which I’ve discussed in some detail elsewhere. Some other genre stuff that came through him one way or the other; he recommended it somewhere, or it was next to him on the shelf. Since most YA writing is designed to encourage binge consumption, writers like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike—both of whom I actually came to after King, probably because my folks thought it was more age-appropriate for a 10-year-old—primed me for series in general, so I remember reading most of the Anne Rice vampire books, and many of Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series—though both of these gradually dissolved into weird housewife pornography.

Or maybe that was always what they were and it just took me a while to catch on. Where I grew up there wasn’t much “literary” reading going on, so it took me until about halfway through high school to start looking beyond the horror shelf at the bookstore, and then what I found—or didn’t find—was as close to pure chance as these things get. I read Darcey Steinke’s Jesus Saves, The Human Stain, and Our Gang by Philip Roth, a book called The Quartzsite Trip by a guy named William Hogan, which I actually found in the high school’s library, and mostly remember for its weird tone and an abortive sex scene. Those books, and a few others like them, must have been my introduction to the idea that a book didn’t need to live or die by its plot—though Darcey’s book at least had a kidnapping in it. I ended up studying with her when I went to grad school. I think I’ve read all her books. Other than that, there was typical druggie high school stuff: the Morrison, which I mentioned, and Robert Hunter’s collected lyrics, Box of Rain. Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, which I am 100 percent certain I read on account of Strauss’s tone poem’s having been repurposed by Stanley Kubrick for “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which itself I had only come around to because Phish used to cover it, though it turned out later that they were mostly riffing on the Deodato remix from “Being There.” A lot of Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey, William Burroughs. I could never deal with Kerouac—he just bored me—but I tried.

Of the books they made us read in school, I remember loving Frankenstein, and Tale of Two Cities. I remember reading and hating Their Eyes Were Watching God, a hatred I now understand as a product of ignorance and fear. All the awful cultural programming of snotty white kids, of middle-class “gifted” students… I complained about that book every minute that we spent on it—have many mortifying memories about mocking the way the characters spoke: black English, hayseed English, whatever sin we were so sure they had committed—but I have never, ever forgotten it. The moment we finished the unit, and I didn’t have anyone to perform my ignorance for anymore, I realized I had actually loved the novel, and more than that, was drawn to it, as one is drawn to a great and mysterious power whose purpose and depth one can sense but not comprehend. It planted itself like a tree in my mind, perhaps like Rilke’s “tall tree in the ear.”

ST: What type of writer are you: outline before you start or just write and see what happens?

JT: I don’t make outlines because I don’t care what happens. I’m interested in language, and in people—who they are and the choices they make, which necessarily at a certain point translates to “the things that they do.” But that’s the least compelling part of it for me. I am an anarchist in my heart, still and always. The characters should go forth and do whatever they want to do, or do nothing. Eventually the author is obliged to impose some kind of structure, even if it’s just a beginning and ending, but within the space of the story the characters are awarded as much freedom as I can possibly grant them. Or rather their freedom is assumed by me to be inherent, and paramount. I honor it as much as I am able given the limits imposed by the form that I am working in and the fact that they are not real.

ST: The characters in Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever pop off the page. How long do you develop a character before putting them on the page?

JT: Thank you. Characters develop by being allowed to roam freely. They do not gestate like babies, but rise like the sun. You hear a sentence or a phrase and wonder who is saying it. To find this out you let him talk some more. You imagine a scene, an event or a landscape, and wonder who is looking at it or standing in its foreground—and go from there. This is less mystical than I am making it sound now. It’s just about—as per my previous answer—being open to surprising yourself, and being willing to write a lot of scratch pages. That’s it.

ST: The paperback edition of “Flings” is coming out at the end of the month. What can readers expect in this new work?

JT: Well the hardback came out last year, so the short answer is a new cover, some nice quotes, and nothing else. Though as NBC used to say during reruns season, “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.” My hope is that this will be a second chance for me to connect with new readers, maybe court some folks who were on the fence about the hardcover, but will prove more temptable now that the price is down and the reviews are in.

ST: What does the future hold for Justin Taylor?

JT: Death and taxes? A couple bigger magazine pieces (nonfiction) over the course of the fall, and a new issue of The Agriculture Reader, the tiny arts magazine that I co-edit with my buddy, the poet Jeremy Schmall. Not sure what the release date is for it yet, but we’ve got all the material in and it’s going to be crazy-good—lots of work in translation, several short stories by debut authors, and a small book of haikus included as part of the issue.

ST: Can you tell us one random fact about yourself?

JT: I’m listening to Bob Mould’s "Beauty and Ruin" right now. The record store where he shot the video for “I Don’t Know You Anymore” is like twelve blocks from my apartment. My cat is stretched out on the dining room table, on top of my wife’s laptop. I thought she was asleep but I just looked up and she’s staring at me, kind of intently, which makes sense since it’s a little past her dinnertime, so.

To learn more about Justin Taylor, visit his official website or follow him on Twitter @my19thcentury.


Seeking Old School Thrills With Author Tom Claver's Debut Novel

Tom Claver (Photo courtesy of the author)

Tom Claver (Photo courtesy of the author)

By Daniel Ford

I'm fairly certain I would have enjoyed Tom Claver’s debut thriller Hider/Seeker even without the rabid endorsement of my jewelry biz buddy Peggy Jo Donahue.

His main character, Harry Bridger, makes a living helping people run from their enemies, however, his life becomes endangered after he arranges for Angela Linehan and her son to disappear abroad from her violent husband in London. Throw in a ticking clock, an ex-wife, and a Central American location and that’s a novel I’m going to finish in two nights (one with the right blend of coffee).

Also, first lines in a thriller tend to be even more important than in literary fiction and Claver lands a beauty: “Harry had sat in the restaurant for over an hour, bloating his empty stomach on grissini and cold Prosecco.” Yes, please. 

Claver recently answered some of my questions about how he first became interested in writing, his writing process, how the idea for Hider/Seeker originated, and how he went about getting his work published (He also earned Writer’s Bone favorite status by referring to me as a journalist).

DF: Did you grow up wanting to be a writer, or was it a desire that built up over time?

Tom Claver: I always wanted to make films since I was small. I used to like drawing comic strips, mainly about the U.S. Cavalry as I was mad about cowboy films, particularly those made by John Ford. But it was not until I was studying for an economics degree in London that I became interested in writing. I enrolled in a creative writing course set up by Dr. Rod Whitaker, a visiting U.S. professor from the Department of Radio, Television, and Film at the Austin School of Communications in Texas. His opening line in his first class caught our attention immediately. “Sorry, I’m late, but I’ve just been on the phone to Clint Eastwood.” Needless to say, I was all ears from that moment onward as he told us about a blockbuster thriller he’d written called “The Eiger Sanction.” Eastwood had just bought the rights and was going to make a film of the book. I think it was right there and then that I wanted to write a thriller as it was something I’d never contemplated before.

Whitaker was quite a character who wrote under the name of Trevanian, although he had several pseudonyms and wrote across different genres. He kept his identity a secret, but didn’t seem to mind sharing it with us in London. Despite achieving best-seller status he avoided interviews and publishers promotions that would reveal his true identity. Sometimes he would send imposters to represent him at interviews, just for fun. However, in 1979 he publicly revealed his true identity in an interview with The New York Times Book Review. He scotched a long-running rumour that Trevanian was actually the thriller writer Robert Ludlum. You can read more about him at my website.

After finishing my degree, my interest fell more in the direction of making films. One 30-minute film I scripted was distributed in British cinemas while another short I wrote and directed was sold to Central Television in the U.K. I started writing feature length scripts, one of which formed the basis of Hider/Seeker. It had another title and was genuinely in an awful state, but the BBC saw something and invited me to discuss it. Nothing happened. I then decided it was time to stop writing and raise a family.

But the desire to write a book never left me. The turning point came just over ten years ago when I decided to teach myself to write a thriller, more as an academic exercise. By reading books about writing and by sending my work for professional critique, I gradually improved. Two unpublished books later, I decided to take another look at the film script I’d sent to the BBC. I re-worked it into Hider/Seeker.

DF: Who were some of your early influences in the crime genre, and which modern crime writers are you currently hooked on?

TC: This is not an easy question to answer. I read thrillers as well as other books of fiction while I was growing up and I think subconsciously they determined the style of writing I have today. It was anything from Raymond Chandler to Philip Roth. I also liked John Updike a lot.

Ian Fleming was compulsory reading for young boys wanting a bit of titillation and action. I also enjoyed the adventures written by Alistair MacLean. But when I discovered Len Deighton, I think that brought it full circle. Deighton’s sardonic hero in the Ipcress File was a bit like Chandler’s Marlowe.

But it was much later in life that I started reading Dashiell Hammett who I then realised was the grandfather of these types of thrillers. The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man are effortless reads. Such perfect economical sentences. It’s something that American writers are good at in my opinion.

But I’m fundamentally a Hitchcock fan and when I saw “The 39 Steps” as a young boy, I thought it was the most exciting film I’d ever seen. It was only when I was on holiday in Scotland in later years that I read John Buchan’s book, which incidentally is a 100 years old this year. I admired the book tremendously because the set-up used by Buchan had such a contemporary feel, providing you could ignore the anachronistic characters he describes in Edwardian Britain. You can read more about Buchan’s impact on thriller writing in a blog I’ve written.

Buchan was the first modern thriller writer and Hitchcock’s rebooting of the story years later paved the way for the chase thriller. I’m a sucker of the man-on-the-run theme and in my debut thriller, Hider/Seeker, I have used it in an inverse way.

Among the contemporary writers, I like Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series. I’m also a fan of Olen Steinhauer and his creation of Milo Weaver. Similarly, I have a soft spot for Martin Cruz Smith’s Russian investigator Arkady Renko. If anyone ever thinks of remaking Gorky Park as a film, they might like to focus on the second half of the book, which was totally ignored in the original film.

DF: What is your writing process like? Do you listen to music? Outline?

TC: I work from one-line plots that I collect and file. When starting a new novel, I’ll try out a few of the plot lines to see how they feel. I might play around with the angles or setting, but once a story obviously has legs, I go for it. But I normally want to test out the early chapters and send them for critical appraisal along with a synopsis. I just want to see how the story is coming across to an outsider and whether they flag up something serious that I’ve not thought about. Once I’ve written the book, I don’t look at it for a minimum of six weeks, then read through it again. It then goes to another editor for critical appraisal. A long period, and I mean a long period, of re-editing the book follows until I’m ready to send it to an editor for editing.

You are the second American journalist to ask me if I listen to music while writing. The answer is no! I don’t like my thoughts being influenced by someone else’s mood or words. And it is also a big no to outlining. I prefer my characters to work out the story for me.

DF: Where did the idea for Hider/Seeker originate? 

TC: As I mentioned earlier, it started as a film script some 30 years ago. I vaguely remember watching a television documentary where a divorced father who had been denied access to his son by his ex-wife enters his son’s school unannounced and takes him away. It frightened me at the time, as the boy was clearly alarmed, and I thought it was definitely a scene I would like in my film. Then I worked out a story about why someone would need to take a boy out of school in that way. My aim was to have a story with a 1950s feel but in a contemporary setting. You’ve probably gathered I like older crime novels. However, I feel strongly that novels should be written in the present as this is our time to reflect what is going on around us.

DF: How much of yourself ended up in your main character Harry Bridger?

TC: I’m short and bald. Harry is tall with a mop of blond hair. Perhaps I share his North London wit.

DF: The crime genre has certain built-in tropes that can deter some writers from taking the plunge. How did you ensure that your tale was original? 

TC: Bertolt Brecht, an aficionado of the thriller genre, once said that the aesthetic quality of the detective novel is derived from the variation of its fixed elements. Yes, there is a formula to crime novels but the fun is using these same building bricks that have created this formula in a different way each time. The originality is what the writer does with the bricks that have been passed down to him or her by previous writers. To those of us who love this genre, we know that not all crime books are the same as some literary snobs enjoy pointing out.

The Coen brothers’ “The Big Lebowski” is a slobbish reincarnation of Marlowe. They not only rebuilt the character on a familiar likeable guy, but they also borrowed the premise of the story, i.e. one of mistaken identity, from Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps, which Hitchcock also reused in “North by Northwest.”

DF: When you finished your first draft, did you know you had something good, or did you have to go through multiple rounds of edits to realize you had something you felt comfortable taking to readers?

TC: I knew the story was good when it was in a film script form because the BBC invited me to discuss it. So I was pretty confident that people would like it. My main concern was the style of writing. You could present the same story different ways. In the end, I chose a simple linear story as that helped to speed up the action as there were no distractions of sub-plots. This made it feel like the story was being told in real-time. I would not have published Hider/Seeker if the editor said it was not of a publishable standard. I didn’t prompt him, he just came out with it in his final report.

DF: Now that you have your first novel under your belt, what’s next?

TC: Everyone is asking me this. Let’s just say it is set in a very cold place.

DF: What advice would you give aspiring authors?

TC: Don’t give up like I did. It’s a big regret of mine. But at the same time don’t starve or you’ll never write your first book.

DF: Can you please name one random fact about yourself?

TC: I’m a coffee addict. I have a fantastic Italian espresso machine that makes coffee that would wake up the dead. My favourite brand of coffee is Kimbo Espresso. I recall visiting Balzac’s house once while holidaying in France many years ago and being more fascinated by his coffee machine than his books on display. I know, I’m a complete philistine. Perhaps I am more like Harry Bridger than I thought.

To learn more about Tom Claver, visit his official website, like his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @Tom_Claver. Hider/Seeker is available on Amazon