Guest Author Interview – Paul Anthony

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Title: White Eagle

Genre: Organized Crime/Espionage

Synopsis: A Cumbrian detective is working with the Special Crime Unit and elements of British Intelligence.

When a desperate young man is forced out of his home in the mountains, he claims ‘Qisas’ and sets out on a bitter journey of revenge. As he terrorizes a continent with his wicked plan, the evil megalomaniac becomes an iconic figure synonymous with fear and dread. In a fast-moving, white knuckle ride, the unknown assassin leaves police and intelligence services reeling from the sheer pressure of relentless attacks.

What is White Eagle? Is it the name of a bird of prey? Or is it a mysterious individual who has no name? There are those who think White Eagle is a newly formed terrorist group working for the highest bidder. Whichever, it’s a mystery no-one can solve. Mouretti, the man from NATO, takes up the case and is determined to claim all the glory.

The plot explodes when Boyd and his team from the Special Crime Unit become involved. All hell breaks out as three single-minded individuals, each propelled and fuelled by revenge, fight for victory.

Who will win and who is doomed to failure? In the chaos that surrounds the investigation, does anyone walk away unscathed?

Paul Anthony, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is Paul Anthony.  He is the UK Crime Writer. Welcome to my blog, Paul.

CH: We don’t know who or what is ‘White Eagle’? So, please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this novel.

PA: This is a book that informs, engages, engrosses, and entertains the reader.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this book?

PA: The story begins in the isolated Quandril Mountains of the Middle East. Here, the white eagle is prominent unlike the rest of the world where it is a comparative rarity in its purest form. The book traces the life of an innocent youngster, who befriends an eagle after a catastrophic attack on the remote village in which they both live. It is a life-changing episode that underpins and explains the protagonist’s motive of revenge. But the Quandril Mountains are also the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (a terrorist organization that is proscribed—prohibited, denounced and banned—in the UK and elsewhere), and our young man’s father is an integral part of the organization. Also known as the PKK, Kadedk, or Kongra Gele, the organization is a separatist movement that seeks an independent Kurdish state in southeast Turkey. This tale follows the flight of the eagle and its Muslim handler, as they embark on a mission of global revenge.

CH: What made you decide to write a book about organized crime/espionage?

PA: I don’t know anything about flower arranging, cookery or gardening so I learnt long ago not to write about things that I am not familiar with. As a detective, I was in command of a counter-terrorist unit and worked extensively throughout the UK, with various agencies, on counter-terrorism at the national and international level. It is an area I am acquainted with.

CH: ‘Qisas’ is the right of a murder victim’s nearest relative to take the life of the killer. Most people have never heard of ‘Qisas’. Did you have to do a lot of research to write this book?

PA: My main area of research revolved around the geography and environment of the Quandril Mountains and various travel routes that the main character might take in his escape. The term ‘Qisas’ may not be recognizable to some but it is an Islamic term meaning retaliation in kind, revenge, an eye for an eye, or retributive justice. It is a category of crimes in Islamic jurisprudence where Sharia Law allows equal retaliation as the punishment. It’s available—against the accused—to the victim or victim’s heirs, when a Muslim is murdered, suffers bodily injury, or suffers property damage. In the case of murder, Qisas means the right of a murder victim’s nearest relative or legal guardian to, if the Sharia court approves, take the life of the killer. Qisas is one of several forms of punishment in Islamic Penal Law. In the world of counter-terrorism—or counter extremism—it will always be necessary to acknowledge how others live their lives irrespective of what religion, faith, race colour or creed they belong to. Since Islam is the second biggest religion in the world with over one and a half billion followers, I would suggest to you that ‘Qisas’ is a well-known term in some quarters, since it is part of Sharia Law. That law is present, to varying extents, in the criminal justice system of many Muslim-majority countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Brunei, Qatar, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mauritania, and some parts of Indonesia. In many places in the United States of America and Canada, however, Sharia Law is banned in the legal system and explains why some people from the ‘west’ will not be aware of the term ‘Qisas.’ With this in mind, I suggest to you that the novel, White Eagle, informs and entertains the reader as the work unravels. It is fast-moving fiction based inside a model of fact.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

PA: My writing style has evolved over the years and has certainly improved since my first published work in 1996. It’s much crisper and innovative than those days. I enjoy writing and am always looking for ways to deliver a good-paced thriller that doesn’t confuse the reader.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

PA: At the end of the day, this book is like many others. Who wins? Who loses? Or is it a draw? It’s good versus bad with explanations as to why, offered along the way. The writing is certainly believable, but there is obviously a lot of imagination in use too. Some of the action sequences are quite unique, whilst also being extremely credible.

CH: Can readers tell where the truth ends and fiction begins or did you write transparently?

PA: The whole work is entirely fictitious, but the narrative often explains where the truth—or fact—lies in the story and why it is written in the manner it is.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

PA: Mouretti! Whilst the ‘baddie’ is a terrorist, Boyd and Mouretti are the good guys, trying to identify him and chase him down. Boyd is a Scotland Yard detective working out of a unit inside Counter Terrorist Command. Mouretti is a NATO investigator, who develops a ‘freelance’ interest in the inquiry when terrorism rips his life to pieces. Balancing and developing a ‘good guy’ and a ‘bad good guy,’ who have no relationship to each other is not as easy as it might seem. They have to work out, if they are looking for a terrorist, a terrorist organization, or a crime syndicate. And who is who? It’s not until the very end that all is revealed.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

PA: White Eagle is part of the Boyd detective series that I have written. It has proved extremely popular in the UK, where each of the books have reached bestseller status in the Kindle store. Boyd is a Cumbrian from the Lake District and he speaks his mind to the extent that he is often in trouble with his bosses. His team is formed from a mix of elite UK detectives and a selection of high-grade intelligence officers from MI5—the Security Service. His second in command, Anthea, is an intrepid member of the unit who does not suffer fools gladly. Intelligent and extremely competent, she is a crack shot. Alternatively, and of equal enjoyment, Antonia, of MI5, is a privileged daughter of parents who left her a financial legacy. She is of comfortable private means. In the City, in the country club, she has no enemies, save those who bitch at her pretentiousness. Antonia has connections in every corner of society that one might imagine: the good, the bad, and the ugly. As a senior Intelligence Officer, she is a leading member of the controversial team and she is falling in love with Phillip Nesbit, director general of the security service. So, my favourite characters are probably Boyd, Anthea and Antonia.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

PA: I’ve not actually found any of them difficult to develop as I have profiles of every character that I have written about.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

PA: The message ‘Why?’ is posed in the first chapter and runs through the story. The book will interest those who like a good mystery, a murder, a fast-paced thriller, a police procedural with a twist of espionage, and even a political thriller, because it has all of those elements thrown in. It shows the problems a police and intelligence service have in identifying a terrorist, what steps are used to try and catch someone, why terrorism occurs, and how terrorism could have been avoided in the historical context. In relation to Kurdistan, the work shows an understanding of how the making of war and defining a peace process are bizarrely related.

CH: Since this book is full of suspense, action and intrigue, do you prefer writing books with a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs?

PA: My thrillers always carry some twists and turns, whether they lie in the plot or in the evolution of the character in the story. One of the problems for investigators, in this story, is that there is early evidence that White Eagle is a terrorist group. But how to find the group and identify it is the crux of an intriguing investigation that is guaranteed to keep the reader engrossed.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this book?

PA: Very good. I’ve never chased or harried people for reviews because that’s not my way. But some of the reviews on Amazon are as follows:  …another brilliant story about William Boyd and his colleagues; …the author has really put together another great story and taken us to a different part of the world to get the excitement going in the book;  …Written with a great knowledge of the subject, this is well-paced, engaging and difficult to put down; …The characters are well thought out and believable and the story weaves effortlessly between locations. Great stuff; …Couldn’t put it down from start to finish. You will not be disappointed with it.

CH: What is your next writing project?

PA: This month (February 2018), I shall be publishing, Septimus, the story of a man from Cumbria, who gets embroiled in the Roman invasion of the Lake District and the subsequent invasion of Scotland. It’s loosely based on the life story of my great uncle, who was a scout for the US cavalry and one of the first recorded white men to journey into Indian country. It’s a departure from crime thrillers and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing it. The next Boyd thriller is fully plotted, and I shall start writing that one soon.

CH: How to Find Paul Anthony:

CH: Can you tell my audience where this book is sold?

PA: Amazon in Kindle and in print.

CH: Any closing remarks?

PA: Many thanks, Cheryl and best wishes from the UK.

CH: Thank you so much, Paul Anthony, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Paul Anthony and Cheryl Holloway.

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