Today my Feature Friday introduces Derek Thompson author of the awesome Thomas Bladen series. First Derek talks about what he does when he isn’t writing. Then we have a snapshot of his books and his thoughts on Joffe Books. Enjoy….
Step away from the pen…
I’m sometimes asked what I do when I’m not writing, apart from thinking about writing! Whatever the weather, when the mood takes me, I like to get outdoors and walk the land. There’s always something new to see and discover – a bug, a flower, or an unexpected nettle sting. When I’m out and about in the wilds of Cornwall, often as not, I’ll visit one of the many ancient sites in this part of the world.
I’ve heard the places referred to as ancient temples, astronomical alignments, faery stones even. Frankly, I don’t think anyone really knows the truth about these amazing remnants of a megalithic culture and that’s part of the appeal. To me, the stones represent a silent link to some forgotten and now mythic past. They have a place and a presence that’s hard to define with words, so we have to fall back on other senses and our imagination.
There are stone circles and lone stones all over the UK and Ireland, and in other parts of the world too.
In this case, unfortunately, my pictures do not paint a thousand words but they’ll hopefully give you a sense of the uniqueness of each stone. It first started for me in the 1980s when I visited Stonehenge, Avebury Stone Circle, and Wayland’s Smithy. Often, these ancient monuments are written into local folklore, which I know is straying perilously closely to writing again, but hear me out.
Those myths and tales, sometimes reshaped and reinterpreted by successive generations, are trying to tell us something. It’s that sense of mystery, of having to disengage the logical brain and enter into another way of thinking, that I find so appealing. Maybe that’s what our ancestors intended all along!
Books by Derek Thompson
Thomas Bladen works for the UK’s Surveillance Support Unit, assisting other government departments, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He has an eye for the details other people miss and a talent for finding trouble – a combination that was never going to give him an easy life, professionally or personally.
Each adventure combines an SSU assignment, Thomas’s turbulent relationship with Miranda, his sideline in solving other people’s problems, and the struggle against the Shadow State.
ASSIGNMENT: HM CUSTOMS
After Thomas spots an unidentified observer at a routine operation, he uncovers a web of deceit that brings a killer out of hiding. Betrayed, conspired against, and forced to trust a stranger, it’s time to come out fighting.
LINE OF SIGHT
ASSIGNMENT: THE BRITISH ARMY
When Thomas and Karl investigate the death of Amy Johanson at an army test facility they’re pitted against big business and political expediency. A favour from a local crime lord, Jack Langton, draws Thomas deeper into the murky world of counter-intelligence.
CAUSE & EFFECT
ASSIGNMENT: BENEFITS INVESTIGATION TEAM
Two unconnected events – an attack on a child and a pact with an assassin – put Thomas and Karl’s private lives under the spotlight. Jack Langton may be in prison but he’s still pulling the strings and everyone is dancing.
ASSIGNMENT: THE METROPOLITAN POLICE
When Thomas is blackmailed into helping expose a defector, it’s a race against time to expose the real enemy and neutralise them. This time his actions have dark consequences for ‘innocent’ bystanders.
After a London terror attack the SSU comes under MI5’s control and two senior SSU figures disappear. Could there be a mole on the team? The reappearance of old adversaries forces Thomas into uneasy alliances and hard choices.
Spy Chaser is a collection of the first three Thomas Bladen novels: Standpoint, Line of Sight, and Cause & Effect.
What Derek thinks about his Publisher: Joffe Books
I contracted with Joffe Books three years ago and I consider myself four-leaf-clover fortunate. I’d tried self-publishing (the world’s densest magical fantasy) and had two short ebooks signed to a non-defunct US indie. When I pitched to Joffe Books I had one completed spy thriller, most of a sequel, and big plans for a series. Jasper asked the right questions, identified potential challenges – which all proved to be bang on the money – and took a chance on an emerging author.
Seeing my novels available as downloads and in paperback is brilliant, as is receiving quarterly royalties. But as every author knows, there’s much more to it. Writing, rewriting, participating in promotional activity, sales, reviews, planning for the next book, and regular angst sessions – it’s like a mind gym, a marathon and an emotional rollercoaster all rolled into one!
I haven’t met Jasper in person and we’ve never even spoken – he rang once while I was out! – but were it not for his encouragement I doubt I’d have had the confidence and tenacity to write five novels in a series and to take myself seriously as a novelist. He understands the writing process firsthand, edits hard (rightly so) and partners with authors to do everything in his power to make their books commercially successful. Although I’ve written in many forms and for many years, I am still on a steep learning curve and feel proud to be part of the Joffe Books family. The inspiration and support from my fellow authors is an unscripted bonus and I look forward to continuing my journey with them.
Quite simply, Jasper’s investment in me and my writing ambitions is the luckiest break this writer has ever had. And now I’d better get writing!
Derek Thompson – Author Bio
Derek Thompson grew up in London and started writing fiction in his teens. After spending a year in the US, he returned to London and subsequently moved to the West Country.
He wrote a commissioned piece for The Guardian in 2008 and entered the world of freelance writing in 2009. His short fiction has featured in both British and American anthologies, and can be found online. He has also written comedy material for live performance and radio.
His love of film noir and thrillers began with The Big Sleep, and has never left him. Much of his fiction involves death, loss or secrets. As the saying goes: write about what you know.
He writes about Thomas Bladen and his role in the Surveillance Support Unit.