Today I have the privilege of interviewing Clive Eaton. Clive is from the UK and is a thriller writer. He is the author of the novel “The Pyramid Legacy.” He is also an avid blogger where he provides Marketing Tips for Authors. I hope you enjoy getting to know Clive a little better.
Clive thanks for taking sometime to chat with us today. Why don’t you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself…?
Before becoming an author, I initially trained as an aircraft engineer in the Royal Air Force, and maintained Vulcan bombers for a number of years. That led to a few years working in the automotive retail sector. I know, not a natural career progression.
Currently I work as a freelance international trainer, in the area of business improvement, and my work, over the last 17 years, has taken me to over 30 countries around the globe. I’ve started to share some of this experience within my blog – “Marketing Tips for Authors” (http://www.cliveeaton.com/blog.html ).
I live with my wife in a very beautiful and rural location in Norfolk, UK, and when not writing enjoy walking, reading, F1, and indulging in my other passion . . . photography. (You’ll notice every photo of me on the Internet is the same one. I hate having my photo taken, being far more comfortable being the other side of the camera. The one photo I now use was taken by my daughter, Lucy, when I was unaware that she had grabbed my camera and was pointing it at me.)
What’s your idea of a relaxing day..?
Getting up on a blue skied Sunday morning, taking the twenty minute drive to my nearest stretch of coast and grabbing some fresh air as my wife and I enjoy a brisk walk along the beach. After that, returning home hungry to a brunch of bacon, eggs, toast, baked beans and a large mug of tea. After brunch there is nothing better than tuning in to watch a live F1 race – with Jenson Button winning it. Following the race I like to dip into a book, before finally enjoying some great home cooking, utilising some of the fresh vegetables and fruit from our garden. (Apple and blackberry crumble being a real favourite)
What was your families’ reaction when you told them you wanted to be a writer…? Were they supportive or did they think you were crazy…?
At first a little surprised, but after that 100% support. My wife promised she would be totally honest with me (that’s what comes of being married to a consultant psychologist) and if it was suitable for the rubbish bin would say so. As it’s now available as an e-book and paperback I’m guessing she likes it.
Tell us about your favorites:
Who is your favorite author…? Michael Cordy – I’ve read all his books, and not one has disappointed.
What about the movies, any particular film…? To choose just one is hard, so I guess ‘A few good men’- I particularly enjoyed the court scene with Jack Nicholson.
How about a TV Show…? ‘Top Gear’ – Fast cars, blokey banter, caravans getting blown to smithereens – comedy at its best. NOT a programme to be taken seriously.
Have you ever read a book, then later saw the film, and thought “Oh man, they screwed it all up…?”
Indeed yes – Tom Hanks should never have been used in film versions of the Dan Brown books. He just isn’t Robert Langdon. I’ve nothing against Tom Hanks (he was fine in Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump etc) but he was so wrongly cast in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.
Why don’t you tell us a little about your book The Pyramid Legacy…?
“The Pyramid Legacy” starts with the discovery of an image which has been hidden deep within the bowels of the Great Pyramid for over 4,000 years. It’s an image which portrays something that cannot be found on Earth, or seen in space (even with the most powerful land-based telescopes) and places a huge question mark over who the architects were of this magnificent structure. As the story develops many, seemingly, disparate puzzles/clues come to light which propel the key characters onto an unprecedented journey. The book is primarily a thriller, but I’ve also woven a story of love a deceit into the main plot.
Tell us a bit about the main Character Ben Anderson… Is he based off of any one in particular…? What inspired you to create him…?
The key character is Ben Anderson, a robotics engineer. (For a bit of fun I’ve had him interviewed on a ‘live’ radio show on my website – http://www.cliveeaton.com/drbenanderson.html ) He is a VERY reluctant hero in the book. He hates heights and basically steers clear as much as possible of adrenaline fuelled activities. I was keen to avoid the ready-made ex-special services, muscle bound heroes that adorn so many books. I wanted my main character to be someone who has to force himself continually outside his comfort zone.
Where did you did you get the idea for your book…? What inspired you or caused you to say “Ah ha…”
There genuinely is a secret chamber within the Great Pyramid of Giza, protected by not just one, but TWO doors. The first was breached a few years ago, but since then the Egyptian authorities have not allowed any further exploration. So no one knows what lies behind the second door . . . and so a story developed in my head. Having personally been inside the Great Pyramid, I’m far from convinced it was completed in just 20 years with craftsmen using just copper tools, and stones for hammers. To dress 2.6 million enormous stones with the level of accuracy which has been achieved, particularly considering how the internal stones mate up, with such rudimentary tools, just doesn’t stack up for me.
What was the most difficult part about writing this book…?
Dialogue! Time and again I had to go through the dialogue to make sure it sounded like people were actually in conversation with one another. I found visualizing the scenes in my head and where each person was standing, their body language etc. helped the process.
Let’s chat for a minute about your writing process… Do you outline, or are you one of that that just sits and starts writing by the seat of your pants…?
I initially wrote a 10 page outline with a start, middle and end. I can’t write without knowing how the story unfolds. Sure, loads of stuff get added as the story develops, but the main plot never changes.
Do you write in the morning, evening, or are you a graveyard writer…?
It’s more about availability of time, rather than being rigid to a particular time of day. Having said all that, I do seem to get a drop in energy late afternoon, so I’m not at my most creative then.
When you write, what are the biggest challenges you encounter…?
It’s not so much a challenge, but something very time consuming, and that is research. “The Pyramid Legacy” took a phenomenal amount of research, and I was conscience of having read other books where authors clearly hadn’t put in the leg work. I once read a book which featured a scene around a very famous location in Peru; somewhere I had previously visited. The author’s description of the local topography was completely inaccurate. At that moment the book lost all credibility, even though it was just a novel. His artistic license needed revoking.
Do you know much about your characters when you start, or do you get to know them as you go along…?
I start by giving each character about five or six key characteristics, and build on those. For example one character in ‘The Pyramid Legacy’ has ADHD and a personality disorder (undiagnosed). The latter trait really came to prominence towards the end of the book, and the ADHD certainly didn’t help the character at that point.
If you could write in a genre different than the one you are writing in now, what would it be and why…?
Apart from watching ‘Top Gear’ on TV, my other favourite programmes, more often than not, are police dramas. There is a highly watchable series titled ‘Good Cop’ on the BBC at the moment. So crime/mysteries would be my second choice of genre.
What novel would you recommend that everybody read…?
As mentioned earlier, my favourite author is Michael Cordy. He doesn’t write books as a series, but takes an interesting, and often thought provoking subject, and develops the story around that. His most recent book – “The Colour of Death” – is based around a person with synesthesia.
Who stands out as being your favorite writer…?
Michael Cordy, for reasons already discussed, but there are a number of authors whose books I tend to buy the minute they are published, such as Raymond Khoury and Sam Bourne, for example.
If you had the chance to sit down and talk to any writer dead or alive for one hour who would that be and why…?
Albert Einstein – the opportunity to tap into such an incredible mind for 60 minutes would be an amazing experience.
What can we expect next from you…?
I’m currently in the process of writing the sequel to ‘The Pyramid Legacy’, which will be titled ‘Operation Stonehenge’. During the research for ‘The Pyramid Legacy’ I came across several links between the two structures. I don’t want to write a text book about it, but boy, those links have provided me a great opportunity to tell the story, encased within a thriller. Also, my wife and I are currently chewing over ideas for a third and fourth book, which we may write together, bringing in her expertise as a consultant psychologist.
Where can fans find you at…?
Twitter – @CliveEaton
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/CliveEatonAuthor
Website and Blog – http://www.cliveeaton.com
Contact – via website – http://www.cliveeaton.com/contact.html
Amazon US – http://amzn.to/MI7nEd
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/MYiZaS
iTunes for Apple – http://bit.ly/PCfX6p