Friday 13 October 2017

Q&A with Andrew Harris, author of A Litany of Good Intentions

Published by Faithful Hound on October 12, 2017

Can you tell us one thing we would be surprised to learn about you?

I failed English Literature at school as books sadly weren’t part of my childhood. I grew up in a family where literature was less important than football. As a late-developer, I have made up for lost time and now books are a fundamental part of my life.

What inspired you to write the Human Spirit Trilogy?

I wanted to celebrate the Human Spirit and what makes us special as a species. In particular, to highlight our scientific successes whilst commenting on what I believe has gone wrong in recent years and is now threatening our very existence. Crime fiction is the perfect genre to get the messages across.

A Litany of Good Intentions was published on October 12. Can you tell us a bit about it?

It is the second crime fiction novel in a trilogy with the same lead characters. It addresses some of the very real issues around poverty, human trafficking and slavery. How can we live in a world where 2.6 billion people have no access to something as basic as running water, a toilet or even electricity?

What did you find the most challenging about the process of writing A Litany of Good Intentions?

Trying to keep the pace and simplicity of a thriller storyline whilst weaving in the complexity of historical themes, extensive research and various sub-plots. Putting words in the mouth of Albert Einstein was an interesting challenge.

How meticulously did you (or didn’t you) plot it out?

Very meticulous. I prepared a 14 page synopsis of the story and detailed background notes on each of the main characters. I had the final scenes in place before writing the first chapter. The whole book was underpinned by personal research and a growing reference library.

Being the second in the trilogy, did the process of writing A Litany of Good Intentions differ from the process of writing book one?

Not in writing style which follows a similar format. The challenge was to introduce the main protagonists again without boring the people who already knew them from the first book. Also, as it is a sequel, to tell this story which takes place one year later, without giving too much away about what happened in the first novel.

What does your typical writing day look like?

It starts with a long walk accompanied by my Plot Development Director, who happens to be a Golden Retriever – the real life Trigger. I know in outline what needs to be achieved that day before I start. The creative bit is finding the right words to tell the story. Sometimes it flows, sometimes it is seriously hard work. I aim for 2000 – 3000 words per day. I always take a break after completion for another walk before a critical review.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Outdoor living and regular exercise such as golf or fly fishing I find really stimulates new ideas for storylines and characters. Spending time with my wife and family is always a pleasure. Also I find music is a great source of inspiration and relaxation. I subscribe to the view that minds are like parachutes – they work best when they are open.

If you could choose one book published during the past year that you would recommend we read, what book would that be?

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee. Clever, complex plotting, Agatha Christie goes to 1920’s India. I loved the pace, spirituality and deductive reasoning of this refreshingly different detective novel. Mukherjee’s second book has established his name within the crime fiction genre.

Is there a book you wish you’d written? If so, which one, and why?

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo. For me this was the pinnacle of his Harry Hole series. I love the way Nesbo takes us into the mind of his detective hero who is so infuriatingly flawed that you want to shake him out of his alcoholic stupor and get on with solving the mystery. The crime scenes were beautifully crafted: the suspense was palpable. This was crime fiction writing at its very best.

Finally, can you tell us anything about what you’re working on next?

The third book in the trilogy is called More. The same lead protagonists this time will be facing the challenge of how we will feed 9 billion people without destroying our precious planet. It will address the important issues surrounding genetically modified foods, addictive thinking and behavioural types, the rise in obesity and spread of diabetes. It is intended for publication Christmas 2018.

Thank you, Andrew!

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