For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please
Hello there, thanks for having me on! My name is James Silvester, and I’m a former Mod/Blues show host turned author. My first two books, ‘Escape to Perdition’ in 2015 and 2017’s follow up, ‘The Prague Ultimatum’ were Cold War style thrillers set in present day Europe. My new offering is called ‘Blood, White and Blue’. Alas I still have a day job and I’m a bit of a shameless geek. I also play harmonica spectacularly badly.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Ooh, a few places to be honest. A lot of the inspiration for my books stems from the love I have for Prague, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, their people and histories. I trained in political history and I’ve always been fascinated by the machinations of political players of the past (and frustrated by those of the present). Combined with that is a love of Cold War style thrillers like the early Bonds and the Karla Trilogy, and I try to write that type of story within modern day settings.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Absolutely, but that would be telling 😉.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
I’ve no hard and fast rule for it. I always remember being at school and being made to write an essay about what the name ‘Lockwood’ in Wuthering Heights revealed about his character, and while I’m not exactly in that league I sometimes try and name characters in a similar manner. More often though I borrow the names of actors I enjoy or borrow them from friends. The protagonist in my first book is named directly after a friend of mine, whose name just seemed to ‘fit’.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Quite piecemeal to be honest. I never write beginning to end; I usually find myself writing specific conversations or plot points all over the place, then going back and tidying them all up and linking them together. Finding the time is difficult too with having a young family and a day job, I quite often don’t start writing until after 9:30pm and grabbing hours here and there when I can.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Hard to narrow down, but for a combination of intelligence and sheer readability, I’d say Bernard Cornwell, John le Carre, Franz Kafka, Douglas Adams and Agatha Christie.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
None of the above! I’d quite like to meet Ian Fleming and take him to see the next Bond film. I’d love to know his thoughts on whether he even recognised the character his books spawned and whether he was pleased or dismayed at how cinema had adapted his creation. I think he died shortly before ‘Goldfinger’ was released in 1964, which was the first ‘formulaic’ Bond movie, so he missed the Bondmania of the sixties. It would be interesting to know which actor he thought best captured the character he wrote.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes, I’ve always enjoyed reading. I started off with Enid Blyton I think. As I started growing up I loved Conan-Doyle and Douglas Adams.
When did you start to write?
I think seriously around 2013. I remember starting my first book, Escape to Perdition, in anger after a bad day at work around that time. Before that I’d penned bits and bobs but was quite undisciplined with it.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
This isn’t going to sound terribly profound, but the ending of JAWS has always bugged me a little. I don’t like the way the shark just turned over and died at the last minute, I always wanted something a little more climactic.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
If I could have written any one book, it would be 1984.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Apologies for the Inconvenience.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I’ll be good and not choose Doctor Who… Maybe Abraham Van Helsing from Dracula, we could go for a night time stroll in Highgate Cemetery.
What are you working on right now?
Well, I’m busy trying to spread the word and market ‘Blood, White and Blue’, and I’m also writing its follow up, ‘Sealed with a Death’ which is planned for a July ’19 release. I’m pretty much always either writing or plugging!
Tell us about your last release?
My last book was ‘The Prague Ultimatum’ released in 2017. It was the second in my Prague Thrillers mini series and was set in a Post Brexit Europe, beset by an emboldened extreme Right and the threat of terrorism. Captain Lincoln Stone is a career soldier dragged into the seedy world of espionage with colleagues he isn’t sure he can trust.
Do you have a new release due?
I do indeed 😊. ‘Blood, White and Blue’ is the first in a new series of thrillers featuring Lucie Musilova, a half British, half Czech spy. When an infamous defector from the sixties re-surfaces and threatens to bring down the government, Lucie finds herself pressganged into the service of a country that hates her.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
That depends how many pennies are in the bank! So far there’s been a bottle of champagne and a sneaky McDonalds. This year we’re hoping to have a lunch party on or around the official publication day so that should be great.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
That if you read my books I’ll be your best friend?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!
No problem, thanks very much for having me!