An interview with UK Author Charles R Stubbs

Set against the backdrop of North Wales in the UK, Web of Deceit is the story of a young man named George Travis who lived a simple life in the mountainous region. Now his life has been flipped upside down as he works to not only evade the police but also out maneuver both the media and a man he believed was a friend…

This story is truly powerful. Set in the year 1999: A time when cell phone and internet technology were simply infants, this story shows the early stages of what life would be like in an instant news world… With propaganda, distorted facts, and smear tactics; it is the story of one man fighting back…

I fell in love with Travis immediately. A man that keeps to himself, taking long walks, birdwatching, he is the most unlikely hero. The author has done an amazing job of proving we can all be larger than life…

Charles R Stubbs is someone I put up on my shelf with James Rollins, Jeremy Robinson, and Dan Brown. His prose and dialogue were tight, and his characters were strongly developed. I can’t wait to read more!!!

Like so many other authors I had the opportunity to meet Charles through Twitter and Facebook. He lives in the UK and Web of Deceit is his first novel. This past week Charles took time out of his schedule to answer a few questions for me… I hope you enjoy… 

1)      First, start off by telling us a little bit about yourself…?

I’ve earned my living by writing for more than 10 years. Previously I worked in the telecommunications industry, where I performed many roles ranging from software programmer through to senior executive. Since 2001 I’ve developed sales and marketing literature for major organizations – some of them household names – enabling them to improve their business performance.  Web of Deceit is my first novel.

 

2)      You have written a great thriller set in Wales, especially in a mountainous region. For me this is the first time I can remember reading a book set in Wales…What made you choose this location instead of someplace like London…?

For many years, while our children were growing up, my wife and I owned a chalet at a holiday site near Caernarfon in North Wales. I would spend many hours walking in the mountains of the Snowdonia National Park, sometimes retracing routes I had first climbed during a cycling holiday way back in 1972. The scenery inspires me. Many of the feelings about North Wales attributed to Travis, the main character in Web of Deceit, are my own.

 

3)      Your main character George Travis, has a significant hobby: Birdwatching… I thought you did an outstanding job of describing the habits of birdwatchers and the passion they have for it… It played a huge part in the book. What made you choose to go with the idea of having your main character a birdwatcher…?

I started watching birds when I was 13 years old, then ‘rediscovered’ birdwatching in the year 2000. When I visited the bird reserves at Holyhead, Conwy and Point of Ayr, and other birdwatching sites in North Wales, the plot for the novel began to form in my mind. Birdwatching can take you to some fairly isolated places at unusual times of the day. In Web of Deceit this fact is exploited, both by Travis’s tormentor and by Travis in turn.

 

4)      You set your novel during in 1999, which is a time when the technological age is on the brink of explosion… Smart phones had yet to become available to the public in the mass way they are now… Reading it brought back some great memories of me learning to use the internet and email in college… What made you want to focus on this time period in our history…?

 

I guess my background in telecommunications has made me interested in the ways that new technology changes how ordinary people manage their lives. A crucial part of the plot of Web of Deceit focuses on how characters use emerging technology to gain information, communicate with each other and influence events. Quite often the plot works only because the internet and cellular phone technology were new in 1999 in the UK, and by no means available everywhere. Further, in the novel the possibilities and implications of the technology are not appreciated equally by all the characters, which gives some an advantage.

 

5)      One thing I want to ask is you deal with this theme of the media somewhat twisting the facts… We see it every day how much power the media has over people… With this being an election year in the US we are currently seeing it two fold here… Why do you think we, as a society are so quick to accept what the media gives us as simply nothing but truth…? Why do we not tend to explore the facts more for ourselves…?

I believe it is a combination of factors, but in a short answer I would pick out the amount of data that is out there and the speed at which it is being processed. The human brain does not have the capacity to absorb, analyze, test the veracity of and think through the implications of the data that is available, and in the timescale in which we are all now expected to form an opinion. This leads to two main reactions: the first is to leave all the ‘thinking’ to other people (usually those who present the data through the media channels that we feel most comfortable with); the second (and possibly more dangerous) is to cherry pick the data – in other words, only absorb the information that conforms to our own views. Every four years in the US, as you have noted, we see these two instinctive reactions played out in full. Occasionally you can find someone with the time, capability and motivation to explore the facts, marshal the evidence and present an unbiased analysis. But nowadays these people tend to get drowned out in the clamor from others who feel that they are ‘in the right’. At the end of the day, it is far easier to adopt a strong position, surround yourself with other like-minded people and ignore any evidence that might challenge your world view. It is a tribal instinct.

 

6)      One question I love to ask other writers is who some of their favorite authors are… Do you have any particular favorite you love to read over and over…?

 

John Grisham. I’ve read nearly all his books.

 

7)      Can you tell us what other books you may have in the works…?

I want to write at least two sequels to Web of Deceit. The first will be set in or around 2004, and the third in the series in 2008. I want to explore how the characters cope with the increasing sophistication of technology, with Travis, in particular, using it to stay one step ahead of his adversaries. I shall also retain the birdwatching theme throughout.

You can follow Charles:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/charlesrstubbs

http://webofdeceit.org/

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