Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An Interview with Brendan le Grange

An Interview 

with Brendan le Grange

Where are you from?

I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and lived there until I’d finished my first degree; thereafter I spent eight years working in Johannesburg, two in Copenhagen, and now four in Hong Kong (with two weeks a month in Manila these days).

What inspired you to write your first book?

I’d started doing some writing on the side for work – training articles on credit risk strategy – but soon figured that if I was going to spend time and effort writing, it would be a lot more fun for that writing to be fiction. Initially that though took the form of general procrastination, with lots of reading about how to write but very little writing, but eventually I took the plunge.
From that point I knew I wanted to start with something plot-driven, something fast-paced, but it was two small pieces of architecture that started to give the picture shape: a smudged carving of three dragons walking into a church in Tallinn and a stained-glass window showing a vanquished dragon in a church in Dotlingen, Germany.
Both were such small but charismatic pieces that I knew they’d make great clue markers. With them in, I needed a link and for that the Hanseatic League was perfect. So I borrowed from their history, added some spice, and started to write…

Do you write full-time or part-time? How do you balance your writing life with your family/work life?
Very much part time. The bulk of my words are put down on my iPad while on the ferry I take to and from work, or in more normal environments when work has me stationed away from home. But of course, with a full time job and a toddler at home, it’s always difficult to balance demands.

How did you come up with the title?

The book is simply called Drachen, which in turn is the name of the ship whose wreck kick-starts the adventure. In that way it was an obvious choice, though in other ways it wasn’t, since the wreck is only ever in the background and I was worried it would cause some confusion.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Ha, no, not at all, I’ve unfortunately never found any ancient treasure though perhaps that’s because I have also never been in any high-speed car chases or suspended shoot-outs!

That said, my good guys are all named and shaped after real friends of mine. The bad guys on the other hand are entirely fictional; in the end I never had the heart to turn a friend into a psychopath!

What book are you reading now?

I’ve been reading only my Twitter followers this year, and have discovered a few real Indie gems that way; and in far more genres than I would normally read.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Yeah, there are a lot of indie authors doing a really great job: I can certainly recommend Daniel Pollock, Peter Morin, Fiona Quinn, Harlan Wolff, Joel Hames, and Melanie Ansley, but my ‘to be read’ list is long and I have no doubt there are a few more winners in there!

What are your current projects?

I’m writing the follow-up to Drachen: I don’t want to give away too much, but it set in Hong Kong and picks up on one of the open storylines from the first book, though perhaps not the one most people would assume.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I don’t know. It is easy to make the book different, and tempting to react to any neutral review, but while there are obviously weaknesses in Drachen many of those either differences in taste or limited by my talent!

Who designed the covers?

Si Maclennan, a South African graphic designer. We took inspiration from movie posters, focusing on some of the more iconic action scenes in the book and framing them against the backdrop of the sailing ship – a link back to a traditional cover norms for the genre.

What do you think about e-publishing versus technical publishing?

E-publishing is a great opportunity for all authors, although I fear that at times that ease can tempt us into releasing a book too early – certainly in my case I am always having to fight my urge to release, making sure I get enough detailed line editing and proof reading.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to forty countries and live in three, so I’m always open to ideas… If we put away practical concerns, somewhere with a soft beach and a coral reef would be great!

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I’m not really a super hero sort of guy, but I tell you what, if I could spell and punctuate more accurately it would make writing much easier J  

Brendan le Grange was born and educated in South Africa, though he now lives between Manila and Hong Kong with his beautiful wife and daughter.

As a business consultant, he has travelled to forty countries and lived in three. And it is reading binges to break up these transits - with the likes of Clive Cussler and Jack du Brul - that inspired the writer to emerge, bringing to life the cities, characters, and history he encountered.

Le Grange's debut action thriller, Drachen, is a wild chase through North Europe along the Baltic coast. Based on a reimagined history of the medieval Hanseatic League, a young marine archaeologist discovers evidence of a treasure so valuable, it will test every allegiance.
I’m on Twitter @brendanleg and #DrachenThriller
Drachen is on Amazon.com at http://amzn.com/B0133U3HGC and .co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0133U3HGC 

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