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Interview with Tom Vater…..

the monsoon ghost image author

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

I have walked across the Himalayas, had the opportunity to dive with hundreds of sharks in the Philippines, and witnessed the Maha Kumbh Mela, the largest gathering of people in the world. I have travelled with sea gypsies and nomads, pilgrims, sex workers, serial killers, rebels and soldiers, politicians and secret agents, artists, pirates, hippies, gangsters, police men and prophets. Some of them have become close friends. Others have appeared in the articles and books I write.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

I’m a journalist, I’ve been based in Asia for twenty years. I am lucky I get to meet a lot of different people and experience wacky and sometimes distressing situations.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Yes, some of them are amalgams of people I have met. Other protagonists carry tiny character elements or behavioural patterns of people I have met. Others still are simply made up.

How do you pick your characters names?

Sometimes I steal them from people I know, often from literature. Detective Maier has a very ordinary German name. But his name is also an homage to Meyer, the sidekick of Travis McGee, the protagonist in John D MacDonald’s color-coded Florida novels. And Mikhail, Maier’s sidekick is named after the Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov who wrote the fantastic The Master and Margarita.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

My fiction writing is slug like. It takes me ages to come up with an idea I find interesting enough to be tempted to turn it into a novel. I’ve had four novels published over the last 18 years. A couple of earlier experiments are thankfully locked in a box somewhere. But when I get to it, I write quickly. 2000w per day and most of that is usable as I write a pretty detailed outline first. My novels are all written within a couple of months, obsessively. Then anything from six months to two years of intermittent editing.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Joseph Conrad, Peter Matthiessen, Raymond Chandler, Katherine Dunn, Graham Greene

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Lee Child. I’d ask him to ghost write my next book.

Were you a big reader as a child?

I was very lucky to have grown up in a house full of books. And I read a lot. Crime fiction, fantasy (John Christopher was a favourite), cheap horror and espionage pulp stories, some classics. I still reread bits of Treasure Island by Stevenson every now and then.

When did you start to write?

I started writing for a living when I was twenty-nine. Before that I played guitar in RocknRoll bands and recorded and documented indigenous music across Asia for the British Library’s International Music Collection. That took me to Kathmandu where I met a couple of cyclists who’d ridden there from Europe. They’d written some stories they wanted to sell to local newspapers and I helped them edit their work and went to The Rising Nepal, a local daily, with them. The editor bought the story so I asked him if he’d buy a story of mine about Nepali music. And he agreed. That got published as a double page spread. I published a few more stories in Nepal, then in India, and then got a job with Rough Guides in Thailand. At the same time I started writing my first novel, The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu, which is still in print in English and Spanish.

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I’d have the child eaten.

Is there a book you wish you had written?

I wish I could write something like The Quiet American by Graham Greene. In its own time and place of course.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

The Pass Is Just Ahead

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

I don’t drink coffee (though I love the smell), so I’d take Long John Silver to Tortuga in the Caribbean, get utterly debauched with him and then crew on a ship.

What are you working on right now?

Crime Wave Press (www.crimewavepress.com) have just published my third Detective Maier Mystery, The Monsoon Ghost Image, a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.

When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph.

As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.

Do you have a new release due?

I have a story published in an American anthology early next year. It’s called To Kill an Arab. I am working on a crime novella set in 1940s Cambodia with French journalist Laure Siegel, which is to be serialised in a French language magazine published in Germany.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

I don’t really notice it.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

www.tomvater.com

www.facebook.com/tomvater

Twitter: @tomvater

www.clippings.me/users/tomvater

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

Support local artists, writers, painters, sculptors, musicians and free spirits by buying their work. Thanks for asking me a bunch of interesting questions.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Tom 🙂

the monsoon ghost image cover

The Monsoon Ghost Image

Dirty Pictures, Secret Wars And Human Beasts – Detective Maier Is Back To Investigate The Politics Of Murder

The third Detective Maier mystery is a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.

When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph.

As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Monsoon-Ghost-Image-Detective-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07K325BSV

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Monsoon-Ghost-Image-Detective-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07K325BSV

Author Bio –

Tom Vater has published four crime novels and is the co-owner of Crime Wave Press, a Hong Kong based crime fiction imprint. He writes for many publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, CNN and The Nikkei Asian Review. He is a best-selling non-fiction writer and co-author of the highly acclaimed Sacred Skin (www.sacredskinthailand.com).

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/tomvater

https://www.facebook.com/tomvater

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-vater-ba052038/

https://www.clippings.me/users/tomvater

Check out the rest of the blog tour for reviews, and more, with these awesome book bloggers…..

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With thanks, as always, to Rachel

Happy reading 🙂

 

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