SPOTLIGHT ON DAN CANWELL
I would like you to meet Dan Canwell a talented new author who gives us a glimpse of his life and a exclusive sneak preview of his upcoming book - *CCCP*.
Born in Portsmouth in Hampshire in the 1960’s Dan Canwell has long had an interest in 20th Century history.
With a great deal of research and fiction interwoven with historical accuracy, ‘CCCP’ is a debut novel that seeks to explain the creation and fall of the largest land empire the earth has ever known.
At various times I have been a lawyer, estate agent, waiter, hotel receptionist, egg seller and more. None of which has any relevance to the fiction I have created. I currently live and work in the north east of England surrounded by friends and just grateful that the sun comes up each morning.
It sounds cold to say that it is a fictional account of the fall of the Soviet Union but in essence that is what it is but it is a modern thriller involving the KGB, the CIA, Faberge jewellery, an awful lot of history and some very intense characters. It will make you think of history differently !
Spotlight interview questions
What is your all-time favourite book and why?
My all time favourite book is The Silver Sword by Ian Serrallier, and the ‘why’ is very simple – it was the book that made me want to read. I had read books before but this brought characters to life, so that they were not fantasy but seemed real and three dimensional. The book is also set in an historical maelstrom that has fascinated me ever since. When older and no wiser, with children of my own I read it to them and was enthralled to see that they were just as captivated as I had been all those years before. Although the time period may be fading from living memory, the story of hope against adversity is one that is enduring and can be relevant to people of all ages.
Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book's characters could relate to and why?
People who have read the book have compared it to both Tom Clancy and Dan Brown. I hasten to add that they have said the plot is like a Dan Brown novel with political intrigue and depth, but they have not said the writing matches his……..which is a compliment [I think.] I have to say that I was aiming for a ground somewhere around there although something closer to Ludlum would have been more the target. But I’ll take Clancy and be grateful and stunned with that comparison.
What was it that inspired you to write CCCP?
I had been writing for years and frankly it was mostly rubbish with a few nuggets of creativity. The problem was that I listened to the advice to write what you know about and what I knew was the law. The curse was that I knew too much and so what I wrote became turgid and dull – fine for an anorak but torture for a reader. Over coffee one day with a friend, Lisa Sinfield, I suggested that we write a book together and we quickly mapped out a plot that seemed quite fun. I then added a bit and my ego took over, so I nicked the project with her permission, and set out to research and write the book. Lisa has approved the end result which is pleasing to me. She has some brilliant ideas of her own and hopefully will one day commit them to paper.
What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
I am greatly inspired and amused by friends who seem to think that I can do this writing thing. As for the rest of it, I love the historical research and the lateral thinking that goes into creating the plots – of taking documented facts and making them fit my warped and mildly polluted concept of how the world operates. In my world nothing is ever quite what it appears to be. I can while away hours just ensuring that I have the right type of engine in an aircraft that might only be in the book for a couple of lines, but to me it is important to have the respect for the reader to get the facts like that right. Oh heck, I’m a real geek aren’t I ?
Describe your typical writing day or week.
As I work full time, and it is a job that places a lot of calls on my time, I don’t have a typical writing week. I grab whatever time I can and do what is available – it might be a re-write if I have no internet for research, it might be just jotting in a notebook if I have no laptop, or it might be a full on session lasting hours where I sit in my armchair and create death destruction and mayhem, all in the name of entertainment of course.
Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you're writing?
I am fuelled by toast and tea when writing. Especially the toast. Usually white bread with butter and if I am being really indulgent, marmalade. The tea must be scalding hot, almost orange in strength and needs two sugars just to counteract the tannic acid. And then more toast with a side order of toast and a dessert of toast. Please. I do like toast.
Can you tell us when you think your book will be available and in what format?
CCCP is a labour of love, but more important than that, it is also the learning project where I am making the mistakes that I hope not to repeat in the future. For that reason all I can say is that I am aiming to get it published in 2013 and it will be available in paperback and as an ebook – I am yet to decide on which platform[s]
Can you give us your favourite quote from of your book and explain it?
Oh that’s a difficult one………………but let’s try this bit [it is slightly edited so as not to spoil the plot]
‘You can’t! The yacht is mine!’ Friis was half crying half pleading for his boat which struck Tchort as rather bizarre given the circumstances.
‘As you choose Friis, it is immaterial to me. Give me the box.’ Tchort slid a round into the barrel of the handgun.
‘You’ve got orders not to shoot me!’
‘I might forget. Last chance Friis. Give me the box’ said Tchort calmly. Friis scrabbled around on the bunk and threw a gold box at Tchort who caught it without breaking eye contact with his opponent. Tchort slipped it into his pocket.
‘Now the other one, let’s not take a risk that we meet again before we have to huh?’ Friis sat dumb and mute, almost paralysed. ‘The box. Now Friis’ commanded Tchort.
‘It’s ……………it’s in the locker behind you.’ Friis pointed to a locker in the space behind Tchort’s head formed by the deck head. Delicately the Russian took a step back and looked towards the locker which was when Friis sprang forward and was felled by one punch to the face delivered with an almost casual violence by Tchort who had never for one moment let his guard drop. Friis slipped and fell into the cocktail of blood and vomit looking up into the disdainful expression on Tchort’s face. Calmly the Russian reached into the locker and to his surprise his hand closed on the second gold box which after a quick examination he also put in his pocket.
‘Thank you Friis’ said Tchort. ‘As I said, I have orders not to shoot you.’ He unscrewed the silencer from the gun and fired into the cabin floor three times. The bullets shattered the deck and went through the bottom of the boat, the glass fibre hull easily penetrated. Water began to gurgle and flood into the hull and the rocking motion of the boat on the waves diminished as the Pernilla sat ever lower in the water.
‘Goodbye Friis’ said Tchort ‘please remember that I did not shoot you but if there is a hell then I hope you rot in it’ and he turned and made his way up the steep ladder to the cockpit, locking the cabin hatch behind him. Friis had not moved but now began to scream and shout as Tchort untied the tender and calmly stepped into the smaller boat, started the motor and set course back towards the marina at Norsminde. Within ten minutes the yacht had sunk leaving only small whirlpools on the surface which like Friis’s life gradually faded away to nothing.
Social media at https://www.facebook.com/dan.canwell.writer
Website at http://www.dancanwell.com