Many thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for arranging the following interview with Tony Bassett…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Thank you for showing interest in my book. I worked as a journalist on local and national newspapers until I started writing novels four years ago. The crime novel Smile Of The Stowaway – the book featuring in my blog tour – is the first book I’ve had published. It concerns a couple, Bob and Anne, who live in Kent. They befriend a stowaway found hiding beneath their motorhome and find him a job. Then he is accused of murdering a work colleague in a cottage in a remote hamlet. Anne works tirelessly to find the real killer and clear their friend’s name.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I got the idea for writing Smile Of The Stowaway while working as a freelance journalist for the national press in September 2014. I reported on a couple from Derbyshire who hired a motorhome in Ashford, Kent. When they arrived back, a man stepped out from beneath the vehicle. In this real life incident, the man (from Eritrea in Africa) was handed to the police. But I wondered what would have happened if they had harboured him instead. As I have always been interested in writing crime fiction, I devised a murder and the idea took off from there.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
My characters are not intentionally based on anyone I know. However, I have met a lot of people as a journalist and, inevitably, facets of some of their personalities must have had an effect on my writing.
How do you pick your characters names?
I use various ways to invent names. There is information on certain websites regarding surnames that relate to particular counties or regions of Britain. Many of the names in Smile Of The Stowaway are names that often crop up in Kent – such as Rigden, Couchman and Packham. There are several Romanian names in the novel which I found out about online. I try as far as possible to have a fair cross-section of the kind of names that would be found in a community.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Each of the five novels I have written has taken me between three and four months to write from start to finish. I begin by thinking of a situation and how the novel will commence. Then I plan the first three or four chapters and start writing and researching. As I proceed, thoughts emerge as to how the storyline will develop and how the book might end. After a few chapters, I create a file of notes and research details which gets larger and larger as the weeks progress. I never make detailed chapter plans more than three or four chapters ahead.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, John Buchan, Val McDermid, (whom I used to work with on the Sunday People), Peter James and Ian Rankin.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’d love to talk to Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie, but sadly of course they are no longer with us. I’d like to ask them to what extent their writing was influenced by literary agents, publishers, fans and the public generally. Or whether they wrote exactly what they wanted to write without regard to market forces or the whims of others.
Were you a big reader as a child?
I don’t think I was an exceptionally avid reader as a child. I read a fair amount.
When did you start to write?
I became interested in writing at the age of nine when I suddenly found I was getting top marks for my essays for the first time. Within months I was editing a school magazine.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I have read many books that have left me disappointed at the end, but because their endings weren’t memorable I have quickly forgotten them and moved on. I tend to read crime novels by reputable authors and I wouldn’t have the temerity to suggest a way of revising any of their endings!
Is there a book you wish you had written?
There’s no book I wish I had written. But it would be terrific to enjoy the same sort of success that authors like John Buchan (The Thirty-Nine Steps) or Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) have experienced.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
I’m not sure I’ve achieved enough yet! I might possibly call it All My Born Days, if the title has not been used already!
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I’d like to take Sherlock Holmes to Starbucks in Baker Street. He’d never believe the prices! He’d probably say: ‘Two Pounds sixty pence for a Cappuccino?’ Then he’d glance at the other prices and say something like: ‘Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.’
What are you working on right now?
I have just finished the first draft of the follow-up book to Smile Of The Stowaway. I’ve got several ideas for a title but haven’t settled on one yet. It is a spy thriller involving the same couple who appear in the first book, Bob and Anne Shaw.
Do you have a new release due?
Not at the moment.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Have a few beers with my partner, Lin.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
The best way for readers to reach me is via my website (www.tonybassett.com) or via the Smile Of The Stowaway page on Facebook.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I’m hoping to hold a competition for book lovers during my blog tour, offering free
copies of Smile Of The Stowaway as prizes.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Tony 🙂
Smile Of The Stowaway
A married couple, a stranger from far away and a murder that rocks their lives. Desperate to reach England, a bedraggled immigrant clings precariously beneath a couple’s motor home as they cross the Channel. Once holidaymakers Bob and Anne overcome their shock at his discovery and their initial reservations, they welcome the friendly stranger into their home in defiance of the law. But their trust is stretched to the limit when the police accuse the smiling twenty-three-year-old of a gruesome murder. Could this man from six thousand miles away be guilty? Or is the real killer still out there? Former national newspaper journalist Tony Bassett tells how Anne turns detective, battling against a mountain of circumstantial evidence and police bungling to discover the truth. This gripping first novel concerning a death in a remote Kentish country cottage is packed with mystery, suspense and occasional touches of humour.
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Smile-Stowaway-Tony-Bassett/dp/1911546457
US – https://www.amazon.com/Smile-Stowaway-Tony-Bassett/dp/1911546457
Author Bio –
Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years. He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren. He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.
Social Media Links –
Tony’s author website
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happy reading 🙂