Matt Malcolm is a devil-may-care marketing manager who inadvertently discovers an ancient seed that has the ability to extend the normal human lifespan by more than nine hundred years, disease free. Representing a huge pharmaceutical company, he blackmails their competitors who pay up to maintain the status quo. Six months on, however, he loses his job and finds his lover murdered. With the only test crop of The Seed destroyed, a trail of destruction is left over Eastern Europe and North Africa as the rival companies and a religious sect called the Seraphim embroil him in the search for the true source of the wonder drug, known as The Eden Seed.
How did you get started writing
My background is a science degree, touring with rock bands and working in wildlife reserves. It is also, as those who read the book may guess, steeped in the pharmaceutical industry. I only started writing when my son took ill with asthma.
He was in hospital and I began telling him stories. I continued this every night for 5 months and ended up with the first book in the Denthan series. He was ten and he bullied me into it.
What drew you to write a mystery/thriller novel
Having written a few children’s / YA books, I decided that I would like to write something
that I’d pick off a shelf myself.
Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing
Tolkien, Tom Sharpe, Ian Rankin, Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Graham Hancock, Sven Hassel, Robert E Howard and Spielberg.
What was the inspiration behind the storyline of the Eden Seed
Foreign trips in the pharma industry, flawed heroes, the mysteries of religion and antiquity, the self deluded male, and all the great adventure movies that peppered my childhood. Specifically, the notion that greed and violence will most probably come into play if the prospect of immortality is ever lain out on the table. I wanted to take the reader on an adventure where the protagonist is exposed by the other characters, in more ways than one.
I wanted a ‘Money-penny’ type character that gets into the action and is more than just a prop
When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest
Of course. Lots of rejection letters, unopened manuscripts and soul searching. I finally got a break from an eBook company, Stardust, who gave me an editor and helped fine tune my skills. I got a ‘massive’ $25 advance and watched my title soar up the charts until said company folded. This did, however, get me ‘noticed’ and I subsequently got a deal with a Scottish publisher. I currently have 2 publishers and more manuscripts than I can find homes for
In Eden Seed the we follow the storyline around the Globe, Do you have a favourite place or country that you touch on in the novel
I guess that Switzerland would be the one most familiar to me. I love the food and the climate there. I love the scenery and mix of people. They are very trusting.
If you personally could stumble on a cure for any known disease, what would you like to cure
I suppose I would say cancer. I’ve lost so many relatives and friends to that particular scourge. I also have a soft spot for Asthma UK, whom I support wherever possible.
You also write teen fiction under the name Sam Wilding, Do you find it difficult to find time to do this
I have to say that much of my time is taken up with school visits, which I love, so it would be the other way round. It’s getting time to write adventure thrillers that’s the problem. I tend to have three or four books on the go at once, dipping in and out from as the mood takes me until the publisher cracks the whip. At that point, I get the head down and work tirelessly… until it’s finished.
What kind of research did you have to undertake for your book
Much of the pharma stuff came from many years on the road. I was lucky. The companies I worked for had great people in there and, from my perspective, great ethics. I could see, however, what might happen if that were not so. I did some travelling for the book, mainly in Zurich and Cairo, but the rest was internet research. I also have some friends in the military.
Are the characters in your books based on any real life
Yes and no. That’s all I’m going to say on that one.
Since you have started writing have any well known authors given you any advice
Ian Rankin told me to never watch a TV or film version of your stuff. I reckon he was afraid that it would taint his characters going forward.
Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa
There is always a bit of yourself in there. There is also, however, a bit more of the person you would never dare to be.
What do you see for the future of Matt Malcolm in your books
I’d like Matt to find himself at some stage, although he may not like what he sees. I see a long stream of books where I get to: reveal more of Matt’s personality, visit different parts of the world, delve into the mysteries of antiquity and explore the extremes of human personality. Book two is well under way.
In reviews of Eden Seed it has been compared to the Da Vinci Code, How do you feel about that
I think Dan Brown is great. What a machine. I admire his popularity and can only doff my cap in his general direction. However… I think Eden Seed is more of a homage to Bond, Indiana Jones and the ‘big kid’ in all of us. I wanted a cinematic feel and a main character that was pretty unaware of how he actually behaved. I wanted him to be thrown well out of his comfort zone.
As a blossoming writer do you have words of advice you can share
Write every day. Push on relentlessly until your story is finished. Spew it out and then get a bucket and mop at the end. Listen to feedback and then adapt and rewrite. Don’t be too precious. If you get to a point where you cant stop writing, the chances are that your reader will not want to stop reading.
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