Interview with Alex Shaw

The Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds Interview Series

International man of mystery, ex-pat, author and father: Alex Shaw

Alex ShawThe Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview series is back, and there’s no better author to mark its return than Alex Shaw. A U.K. native and international business consultant, Alex is uniquely suited to writing the world-spanning thrillers offered in his Aidan Snow novels—he’s either resided in or extensively visited most of the locations detailed in books. I can neither confirm nor deny whether he’s been to Maine, the setting for Black Line, his Kindle Worlds novella, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that his travels have brought him to the Maine coast. Without further delay, let’s have a chat with Sir Alex Shaw. I couldn’t resist that.

91hSmTvBwBL._SL1500_How did you link Black Line to The Perseid Collapse Kindle World? Is there any crossover or meetings between your characters and any of the original characters?

I linked my story by having it happen at the same time as the Perseid Collapse, but futher up the coast in Camden. None of the original characters appear in the first novella for the simple reason that I wanted to have as much freedom as possible with the story and characters.

And I presume you’ll deny colluding with Murray McDonald (another infamous denizen of the U.K.) to single handedly destroy another American city? I’m noticing a trend with the U.K. authors. 😉

I think you’ve capitalized on a unique feature of The Perseid Collapse Kindle World, by keeping the original characters out of your story. Stories can center on the collapse, and not my characters or specific events. This has the added benefit of widening the scope of writers that will feel comfortable writing in the world. The Perseid Collapse World isn’t reserved for post-apocalyptic writers.

That’s what attracted me to the concept. My story is very much a thriller, as this is what I generally write, and am most comfortable with.

As you know, I have a special place in my heart for covert operations thrillers—another reason I was “thrilled” to hear you were interested in writing for the world.

What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works?

The themes of Russian aggression and terrorism are present in my novels, which are partly set in Ukraine (Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East). These two themes are also present in Black Line, however the terrorism now emanates from China.

I heard a rumor that the Russians might be involved Black Line too. Sorry, small spoiler.

Let’s talk about your main character for a minute. I think readers will like Jack Tate. What can you tell us about him?

Jack Tate is a former member of the Special Air Service (SAS), who has been seconded to a new unit within the British Intelligence Service (SIS). He has been posted to the US, and is on vacation before starting his new role. I think readers will like Tate, as he sees the US from a foreigner’s point of view, and is not as jaded by any political, class or racial views. He is almost like one of King Arthur’s nights in his quest to protect the innocent, but he doesn’t ride a horse.

Are you saying Americans have strong views on politics? I’m not sure where you got that idea? 😉 Tate is a fantastic character. I particularly appreciate his no nonsense approach and response to American customs and procedures. It’s a fascinating view through a unique set of eyes.

I couldn’t help notice that you like to write about SAS operatives—a trend that extends through your other novels. I’m sure readers that enjoy Black Line will want to know about your core series.

81UJKCNbSiL._SL1500_ 81r00-i5SbL._SL1500_ 81pxJGZ0e3L._SL1500_I wrote a series of thrillers with an ex-SAS character Aidan Snow: Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East. These deal more with Islamic terror and Russian aggression in Europe and the Middle East. In Black Line, Jack Tate is a way for me to explore what would happen if a character with the same training as Aidan Snow found himself in the US during a catastrophic, EMP induced collapse. Despite the similarity in character backgrounds, Tate is significantly different than Aidan Snow.

I also wrote the first, in what will be a series, of Military vampire books: Delta Force Vampire: Insurgency

Now I’m very intrigued. Maine has hosted its share of vampires in fiction. Most notably Stephen King’s novel, Salem’s Lot. This may sound crazy, but I think you could have brought your special operations vampires to Maine, and felt right at home. It would have been a Perseid Collapse first…not that I’m pressuring you. 😉

Speaking of pressure as a writer, most authors contributing to the The Perseid Collapse Kindle World reported that they nearly doubled their normal writing output. Did you experience something similar?

I found Black Line faster to write than my novels, as the pace was faster and the story required less research. Jack Tate is a tourist, and like me, he is seeing things for the first time.

Let’s shift to your background. Would you share some of your story about becoming a writer?

When I had the idea to start writing I was living in Ukraine and reading a lot of SAS thriller genre books, what these showed me was that although the authors, many former SAS members, knew their military and operational stuff, they did not know much about some of the locations they were using. One book mentioned Ukraine, briefly. As no one else was writing about Ukraine (the largest European country) I decided that I would. 

It took me 12 years to finish my first novel, I was writing on and off, and sometimes the off lasted a year at a time. I, like all aspiring writers, didn’t know if I could write so wanted to prove to myself that I could. I then took a year trying to get an agent or publisher and failed, before discovering CreateSpace and later KDP. When Kindle launched in the UK I suddenly started to sell quite a few copies. It wasn’t until five years later that, after having written two more books and some novellas, that I decided to approach publishers again. I approached five and got two offers. I now have a contract with Endeavour Press to publish my first three novels. 

That’s a fantastic success story. The world of writing and publishing has certainly changed, and you appear to embody the best of those changes. Do you have a background related to your writing? Interests?

I lived in Ukraine, and still visit when I can (my wife’s side of the family are in Kyiv), which is why I write about the place and the life of ex-pats, as I used to be one. I travelled extensively with my work in the past, so I generally try to write about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met. This is most noticeable in my second novel, Cold Black, when I write about Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Moscow and Kyiv. I wasn’t in the military or the Secret Intelligence Service, but have friends who have been in both, who are a great help to me. I’m interested in world affairs, which probably is apparent in my writing…and I tend to attempt to be funny.

I’d say your attempts at humor hit the mark. Conversing back and forth with you is always a pleasure.

This may seem like a silly question to you, but your answer will be informative for American readers. Are you a prepper or homesteader? How did you become interested in post-apocalyptic fiction?

We don’t tend to have preppers or homesteaders in the UK, but I do have a few spare tins in the cupboard. When I was kid I was fascinated by a fact I heard (it may have been nonsense) that in Sweden all new houses had to be built with nuclear fall-out shelters underneath. My Nan had an old WW2 underground shelter in her back garden which had been filled in and I used to daydream about what it would be like to use it. I suppose the Walking Dead really rekindled my interest in post-apocalyptic fiction but what also annoyed me (and made me want to write for the Perseid Collapse Kindle World) was that they only showed a very small part of the picture in the US. I wanted to know what happened in the UK, or in the Caribbean or on a military submarine base or in the Artic. Could, would and did it also happen there?

I think the Cold War and the nuclear threat stoked the post-apocalyptic fires around the world…not to mention The Walking Dead. Would it be fair to say that you still see nuclear weapons as the most likely threat today?

At the moment I think the biggest threat to world stability is the possibility of an idiot detonating a nuclear weapon. Be it the Islamic State, Putin or the fat baby in charge of North Korea.

The skinny, underfed Generals surrounding Kim Jong Un wouldn’t agree with you. In their eyes, he’s svelte!

What are you working on next, aside from a vampire installment to The Perseid Collapse Series World?

My third Aidan Snow novel, COLD EAST, was published a few weeks ago. It follows the storyline of a missing suitcase nuke that has been found by al-Qaeda. But being a thriller, it’s not that simple. The question quickly becomes: who really has the nuke and what is the target?

Ah, the good ole’ days of twists and turns. I wrote more of those than I care to admit in the Black Flagged books.

Beyond my latest release, I have three works in progress, which will hopefully appear later in the year. One is my second military vampire novel, the second is a crime novel and the third is an offshoot of the Aidan Snow books.

Sounds like you’ll be busier than ever this year, which is a good feeling!

Check out Alex Shaw’s website at http://www.alexwshaw.com, where you can find news and links to all of his works.

Of course, don’t forget to check out Black Line, Alex’s novella for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World.

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