Friday, March 7, 2008

Lightning Days by Colin Harvey

Okay -- its time to tell us about that hunky hero in your book.

What's his name? Why did you pick that name?
His name is Josh Cassidy. I wanted an absolutely ordinary name, for an absolutely ordinary, unmemorable person. And if he heard you refer to him as hunky, he would be leaving by the nearest fire exit before you had finished reading this page….

Give us a brief description of how he looks.
About six feet tall, he’s actually very well-muscled but wears slightly oversized clothing to hide his physique. He’s blonde, slightly thin-lipped, and absolutely nondescript.

Is there anything unusual about his appearance?
He’s notable only for a slightly over-sized nose that’s been broken. Otherwise if you saw him in a crowd, you’d never notice him. That’s the way he likes it…
Who does he love? Why?
No one: He split up with the fiery Caitlin just before the novel started because he interrupted a holiday to return to work. She didn’t realize that the phone call came from the (British) Prime Minister’s Personal Secretary. One doesn’t turn down a summons from the PM – but he couldn’t tell her it was the PM.

Does this person love him?
Yes, but it’s irrelevant – at least until the end of the book, and if I told you any more it would be a spoiler, so I can’t. J

Tell us about his family. Are they important to him?
He has no family; mother was a junkie (she never knew who his father was – it could have been any one of several young men) who by some miracle managed to stay clean most of the time that she was carrying him. He lived with a succession of foster-parents until his teens. The one person who he came to care for as a mother died just as he was about to go to University.

Where is he from?
He was born in a squat in North London . Mother died from an overdose soon after giving him up for adoption.

Does his hometown affect his behavior, thoughts and attitude?
Probably. He’s deeply, deeply cynical, yet serves his country. When I read Stella Rimington’s autobiography (she’s the former head of the British secret service) I read how she considered people who believed in their country to be the ideal employee. Yet it seems to me that working for MI5 must inevitably embitter one, because of what one sees, and what one has to do in the name of patriotism.

What does he want out of life?
That’s a good question, and it’s something he wouldn’t tell me. He’s joked a few times ‘to survive long enough to collect a pension.’ I think he was joking, but I’m not sure.

What's his biggest secret?
I can only talk generally because to tell more would be to give spoilers, but to be honest, Cassidy’s biggest problem is Cassidy. He’s got so used to disbelieving everything and everyone that he doesn’t even believe in himself any more, and it almost derails him at one point.

How would he describe you?
Probably as someone who chatters a little too freely, and should keep his nose out of what doesn’t concern him.

Is there anything else about your hero that we need to know? Feel free to share.
He’s very intelligent, and his worst weakness is that at times he’s probably more of a thinker than a doer, and has seen too much for a man in his late-thirties. He served in the last days of the Northern Ireland conflict with the IRA and in various other operations, most of which are governed by the Official Secrets Act. He realizes that in order not to have a breakdown -as many in his profession do through living a false life- he needs a confidante to keep his sanity. But he always seems to pick someone who won’t be around too long, and won’t be talking too much beyond the immediate future. He is a very dangerous man to know…

What is the link to buy your book?
As well as the link above, you can get an electronic version at fictionwise:
It was wonderful to meet him. Thank you for bringing him to meet us. By the way, do you have a picture of him that you'd like to share?
Don’t be silly! Cassidy is very adept at sliding out of the scene when it comes to photos being taken…

Novels from Swimming Kangaroo Books:
Lightning Days -- SF, Finalist for the USA Book News Awards
The Silk Palace -- "compelling" Library Journal
"Intrigues, betrayals, murders, love affairs, transformations, and
revelations," Bruce Boston, author of The Guardener's Tale

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