Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Interview with Stephen Leather author of New York Night!

Author Interview

What inspired you to write the Jack Nightingale series?
 I always loved the Black Magic books of Dennis Wheatley when I was a kid and I’m a huge fan of the Constantine character in the Hellblazer comics (graphic novels as they prefer to be called these days). And I just love supernatural films, especially haunted houses and things that go bump in the night. With the Nightingale series I wanted to explore the supernatural world but with a hero who is very much grounded in reality. The first three books – Nightfall, Midnight and Nightmare – really explain his backstory, how he became the man he is. The next two – Nightshade and Lastnight – explain why he had to leave the UK and the subsequent books will be set mainly in the United States, hence San Francisco Night and New York Night.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write about?
 I love writing present-day thrillers that feel as if they have been ripped from that day’s newspaper headlines. I have lots of contacts in the police, the army and the intelligence services and I love using the information they give me in my stories. Often I hear of things long before they reach the papers. In my book Soft Target I wrote about four Islamic suicide bombers going down the Tube system in London. Several months later it actually happened – it wasn’t that I was psychic, it was the people I was speaking to told me it was the thing they feared happening most.

How did you come up with the title?
 As Jack Nightingale is the hero, I decided it would be neat to have the word ‘Night’ in all the titles, though after Nightfall, Midnight, Nightmare, Nightshade and Lastnight I have to confess I was running out of options. I don’t think Nightdress was going to cut it as a title!  The rest of the titles will be the name of a city, plus Night. So I have already published San Francisco Night and New York Night, and later this year I hope to publish Miami Night.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
 The knee-jerk answer is that my books are to entertain and that I’m not trying to teach my readers anything, I just want to tell them a good story. But on reflection I do think most writers want their readers to put down a book having at least learned something. With my Spider Shepherd thrillers I do try to point out the way the world is changing, how it is becoming a more uncertain and dangerous place and how the authorities are trying to deal with that. With the Jack Nightingale books that mission to explain is less pronounced and really I am trying to tell a good story, though there is of course an underlying moral that good always triumphs over evil. The problem with that moral, of course, is that it isn’t true – evil often wins, which is sad.

What does your family think of your writing?
 I think they just regard it as my job, actually!  I gave my 17-year-old daughter a copy of New York Night two weeks ago and said she might enjoy it and it’s still on the coffee table, unopened. 

Which writers inspire you?
 These days I’m inspired by the self-published writers who have built their success without the input of agents and publishers, writers like Joe Konrath, Tim Stevens, Nick Spalding and Conrad Jones. I’m very unimpressed by writers like James Patterson who turn their name into a brand and get other writers to write their books, and I’m even less impressed with those writers who continue to produce books after they die. It seems to me that a writer’s career should end with their death, but the likes of Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn obviously don’t agree. I doubt I’ll be producing books from beyond the grave, but we’ll see.

 What are you working on at the minute?
 I’m writing the 13th Dan “Spider” Shepherd novel for Hodder and Stoughton. It’s called Dark Forces and is about an Islamic State sniper who is sent to London to carry out a terrorist atrocity. It’s hard work (40,000 words done with 80,000 still to go) but I’m enjoying it.  Once that’s done I’ll be writing a stand-alone novel about an arson investigator and then I’ll start Miami Night.

 What’s is your latest book about?  
The latest book I’ve self-published is New York Night, where teenagers are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line.
Hodder and Stoughton are publishing my thriller First Response on February 25, though I will be self-publishing it in the United States. In First Response, London is under siege. Nine men in suicide vests primed to explode hold hostages in nine different locations around the city, and are ready to die for their cause. Their mission: to force the government to release jihadist prisoners from Belmarsh Prison. Their deadline: 6 p.m. Today. But the bombers are cleanskins, terrorists with no obvious link to any group, and who do not appear on any anti-terror watch list. What has brought them together on this one day to act in this way? Mo Kamran is the Superintendent in charge of the Special Crime and Operations branch of the Met. As the disaster unfolds and the SAS, armed police, and other emergency services rush to the scenes, he is tasked with preventing the biggest terrorist outrage the capital has ever known. But nothing is what it seems. And only Kamran has the big picture. Will anyone believe him?

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters from your book?

Hmmm.  For Jack Nightingale I think I’d go for a younger Clive Owen. Nightingale is mid-thirties in the book and the wonderful Mr Owen is a tad older. As we speak, James Bond director Martin Campbell (Goldeneye and Casino Royale) is filming my book The Chinaman. Jackie Chan is playing the title role and Pierce Brosnan is the IRA guy he’s up against. Brilliant casting, I think!

New York Night (The 7th Jack Nightingale Novel)

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Teenagers are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line.

Jack Nightingale appears in the full-length novels Nightfall, Midnight, Nightmare, Nightshade, Lastnight and San Francisco Night. He also appears in several short stories including Blood Bath, Cursed, Still Bleeding, I Know Who Did It, Tracks and My Name Is Lydia.


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