Alex Shaw is a member of the International Thriller Writers organisation, the Crime Writers Association and the author of the Aidan Snow SAS thrillers. Alex, his wife and their two sons divide their time between homes in Kyiv, Ukraine and Worthing, England.
1. How did you get started writing?
I was living in Kyiv and as I didn’t have a television I’d started reading a lot, thrillers generally. It struck me that no one was writing about Ukraine; they kept using Moscow as a location. I suddenly thought to myself, ‘these authors are experts on the spies and the SAS, but I’m an expert on Ukraine.’ So I decided I’d write about spies and the SAS in Ukraine. And Aidan Snow was created.
2. What drew you to write thrillers?
Simple answer, you write what you like to read and I like to read thrillers.
3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?
My main writing influences, for varying reasons, are August Strindberg, Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Lee Child and Stephen Leather.
4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?
Yes. I spent a year trying to get a traditional deal and had some good feedback before I discovered self-publishing. Five years later, after self-publishing several more books, getting good sales and in essence learning how to write I tried again. I approached five publishers and two made me offers. My Aidan Snow novels are now published by Endeavour Press and Amazon Publishing has contracted me to write a novella for Kindle Worlds.
5. There are many interesting characters in your novels; do you have a particular favourite one?
I have a soft spot for Director Dudka the cantankerous old SBU (Ukrainian intelligence agency) officer. I’ve given him his own novella but I’d love to write a stand-alone Dudka novel.
6. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your novels?
Apart from the usual internet research I speak to ‘friends’ in Ukraine and try to visit the locations I write about. On many occasions I actually write on location.
7. Are the characters in your books based on any real lifepeople?
One of my reoccurring characters is based on someone I know, and of course I do reference real world politicians (although I don’t use their actual names).
8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other thrillers out there?
Locations and characters. No one in my genre is writing in depth about the country I love – Ukraine, and the people I’ve met there.
9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?
Aidan Snow is me if I’d been in the SAS, which is why we share the same initials.
10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned.
I’ve got a thriller and a crime novel planned for this year. Both will be different from my previous novels. The hero of the thriller is a Russian ‘sleeper agent’ and the hero of the crime novel is…you’ll have to wait and see!
I’m also going to write the second and third ‘Jack Tate’ novellas for Amazon’s ‘Kindle Worlds’ and the second Delta Force Vampire novel. A fourth Aidan Snow thriller is planned for 2016.
11.What was your favourite scene to write in your latest novel COLD EAST and why?
I don’t have one favourite scene but I do like those which have Dudka in them. What he says always surprises me and I plan to feature him more in my next Aidan Snow thriller.
12. Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
I’ve actually got two new releases, a novella for Kindle Worlds called BLACKLINE and the third Aidan Snow thriller – COLD EAST.
Blackline is set in Camden, Maine US and follows an ex-SAS guy who, whilst on holiday, becomes involved in a terrorist attack. This book is part of Steve Konkoly’s ‘Perseid Collapse Kindle World’ http://amzn.com/B00VGIGDEW
Cold East follows Aidan Snow as he races to stop a terrorist cell from detonating a suitcase nuke. But being an Aidan Snow thrillers things are not as simple as they seem. http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00W87QTG2
13. Do you have any words of advice you can share for new or would be authors?
The biggest issue facing any would be writer is not ‘writer’s block’, its ‘writer’s procrastination’. The only way you are going to write a book is if you actually start to write it. Read the genre you are writing in, read all the hints and tips for writers you can but then write your book. Writing used to be a very lonely process but now with vibrant writing communities on Facebook and twitter this is a thing of the past, but again don’t become a victim of ‘writer’s procrastination’ by living on social media.
Aidan Snow short stories:
HETMAN: HARD KILL
HETMAN: DONETSK CALLING
KYIV RULES – A Director Dudka short story
DEATH TOLL 2: HARD TARGETS
ACTION: PULSE POUNDING VOLUME 2
BLOOD BATH ( short story written for Stephen Leather)
THE ADVENTURES OF A TEENAGE TIME TRAVELLER
BLACKLINE – A Kindle Worlds Novella (US only)
Amazon Author Page