Today, on my blog, I have the pleasure of chatting with Derek Thompson. Derek is the author of the brilliant Thomas Bladen spy series but I know he has a lot more strings to his bow so lets see what we can find out about this great author:
Hello Derek, thank you for joining me today. I had the pleasure of meeting you via my work with Joffe Books when Flashpoint was released. I know this is Book 5 in the Thomas Bladen series and I am working my way through the series as time allows. For readers who haven’t read any of these can you tell us a little about Thomas and your thoughts when you began writing this series?
I’d describe Thomas Bladen as the opposite of James Bond – no fancy gadgets and no fast car (although he does sometimes borrow Miranda’s Mini Cooper!). He’s from a working class background and his Dad was a miner in Yorkshire, where Thomas grew up. Family isn’t his strongpoint, unless it’s Miranda’s family – she was a runaway from London and he moved down south with her and stayed. He works for the UK’s Surveillance Support Unit at “the arse-end of British Intelligence”, to quote his oppo, Karl McNeill. What Thomas lacks in sophistication he makes up for in integrity, resourcefulness and a sense of justice – an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances.
I started the first book expecting to write a detective novel – I’m a big fan of Raymond Chandler’s plotting, characterisation and dialogue. Thomas had other ideas and I quickly realised I was writing about a low-budget spy who gets more than he bargained for when he starts his own investigation after a work incident. As the series has progressed the main characters (and some of the secondary ones) have taken on lives of their own, which makes for some interesting interactions. Thomas’s off-the-books work with Karl, as well as his sideline in solving other people’s problems has enabled me to explore the human side of surveillance, secrets and subterfuge.
Each book can be read as a standalone novel but I recommend starting with Standpoint as it lets the reader see how the relationships that drive the major plot lines across the series developed.
What is the future of this series as you see it? Do you think Thomas has mileage left in him?
Yes, I’d like to think there are more Thomas Bladen stories to tell. I have the beginnings of Book 6, which takes place within weeks of the closing events of Flashpoint, and a clear idea about the major plotlines, when I have the time and space to bring it all together. Like many serial novelists, I’d love to see the characters on-screen. I think television would be the best medium and I have approached a couple of TV producers but so far it’s been the proverbial ‘I’ll get back to you’! I have a much-loved set of Raymond Chandler audio books that accompany me on long journeys and I wonder whether the Spy Chaser series might work as audio books. That’s one for the publisher to consider!
So, Thomas Bladen is the series I know and love but please tell us about your other books and your future plans for your writing career?
Right now, I’m working on a crime novel for Joffe Books with new characters and a different setting. It’s about a London copper who has been exiled to the countryside and investigates a body found in a field. I plan to finish it by the summer and I hope there’s an opportunity to develop the main characters further.
In tandem with writing the new book I’ve been circulating a completed standalone novel, a transatlantic dark comedy set in the 1980s. My pitch is: High Fidelity meets Tell Me on a Sunday, with a soundtrack by Madonna. It’s about a twenty-something who heads off to the US in search of a new life and gets more than he bargained for. I did a lot of research for it when I was younger, although I didn’t know it at the time. I’d like to think that book would make a good film.
I have two more book projects on the back burner. One, superhero club, is a children’s book about bullying, friendship and self-acceptance. It was originally published by US based Musa Publishing, but they folded so I self-published it as an ebook. I want to edit it (it’s written in Mid-Atlantic English), get a new cover designed, and then publish it in ebook and paperback. I am also putting together an anthology of short stories called Into the Void, a mixture of previously published and new tales.
If people would like to read your other work, are all your books available on Amazon?
Pretty much. I think there’s a PDF of comedy sketch scripts that’s out of circulation, but other than that everything is available via my Author Central page:
I always wonder how authors fit writing into their lives, especially when they have other jobs and commitments. Tell us about your day. Do you have a set time for writing? Do you have more than one book on the go at a time or do you prefer to focus on one book?
It can be tricky! Like many people who work in the Creative Industries, I like to keep several irons in the fire because income from any one source can be unpredictable. I write novels, I’m a freelance writer, I work part-time with a project team that supports the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young people, and I do a little comedy writing. No two weeks are the same, but I do fantasise about clearing the decks for a month to concentrate solely on my novel-in-progress.
Thank you for your time is there anything else about Derek the person that you think your readers would be interested in knowing?
It’s all in the books!
Thank you for your time today, Derek. If you would like to connect with Derek the links and contact details are below:
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SpyChaser1/
Great to chat with you, Jill.
Thank you for your time Derek