Charlie Flowers is as much an enigma as his creation Riz Sabir. His author page on Amazon.com tells very little about the creator of the series of books that bring more firepower to print than destroyed Dresden during WWII. Sabir along with his ever faithful girl gang, The Black Eye Girls, led by his significant other, the tough as nails Holly (Bang-Bang) Kirpachi slice up, shoot up, and blow up anything that stinks of terrorism. A secret group buried deep inside British intelligence/defense they break rules with impunity and show no mercy when confronted with evil doers. As for Charlie, his page states “Charlie Flowers was born in Eastern Europe sometime in the late Sixties and arrived with his family in Britain in 1975. After training as a journalist in London he had a varied career as reporter, roadie, truck driver and record label boss. In the late Nineties he formed two cult bands, and is currently an adviser on terrorism and extremism to certain departments and think tanks. Charlie Flowers is published by Endeavour Press, and is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association and International Thriller Writers Inc.”
Having the opportunity to ask Charlie a few questions left me virtually speechless. I pondered getting down to the nitty-gritty and asking about this “advisor on terrorism” gig. I confess I chickened out. Maybe some things are best left unspoken. Instead I asked the following questions and delicately veered far from confidential queries into his secret life.
“Hi Charlie and welcome. So, what’s the title of your latest book? And what inspired you to write it?”
“The title of my latest book is “Murder Most Rural”. Two things (inspired him to write the book)- one, the difference between people from the north and south of the county I live in, and two, my friend’s reaction to a tractor coming round the corner of a street in my village. She found it hilarious. She’s from the same county as me.”
Feeling a little braver I stumbled over the next question.
“Do you identify with any of your characters and in what way?
“I identify with Riz, the main character, as he’s a rude boy with a chequered past and a smart mouth!”
Hmm, a little hint there about his checkered past. Dare I pursue this line of questioning? No. I’ll be good (and safe).
“Would you like to share a little about your next project?”
“Sure. Next up is “The Siege”, which is a novel set during the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege in London.”
“Have you been inspired by any other writers?”
“Yes- Stephen King, Andy McNab, Tom Cain, Len Deighton, Ralph Peters.”
Interesting selection of writers. I wondered which one wrote his favorite book. Would it be King? Maybe Cain?
“What is your favorite book and why?”
Whoa. I didn’t see that coming. He never said why but I figured it was pretty obvious so I didn’t pursue that.
“What makes a good book?”
“Connections. Small dabs of dopamine hits, like chocolate. The desire to know more.”
“What is the last book you read and why did you choose to read it?”
“The Andromeda Strain. I saw a free copy on a bookshelf so I got stuck in. It’s really good.”
“What is your process for writing? Do you dedicate a certain amount of hours daily? Do you go from beginning to end or just write in a non-linear fashion?”
“I write in a non-linear fashion, and I’m working on about five books at one time. I dedicate an hour or two a day.”
That sort of surprised me. I had him figured for a very structured writer, as in militaristic. Dead wrong.
“Do you have any special steps or superstitions you follow when writing?”
“God yes. There’s loads of pacing and OCD displacement activity before I start writing. Cleaning, arranging pencils…”
Ah ha! The writing may be non-linear but the setting is organized. Like a good soldier he gets his materials in order. Whew. Not entirely dead wrong.
“What is the most difficult part in writing a book?”
“The wall you hit two-thirds of the way through, and the proofreading and editing.”
“If you could describe your writing style in one sentence what would you say?”
“Semi-surreal gonzo K-Mart realism.”
I opted not to ask for clarification. I figured it wasn’t in my purview.
“When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?”
That’s it. That’s what he said.
“Do you read your reviews and how do they affect you?” I thought I was fairly brave to ask this question since it could conceivably bring up unpleasant memories.
“I do, and I do act on constructive criticism.”
I did not ask what actions he performed. But he sounded pretty mellow so I think he took constructive criticism well and put it to good use.
“If you could make one of your books into a movie, which one would you choose and who would portray the main characters?”
“We actually are making the first book in the Riz series, “Hard Kill”, into a movie, and the main characters are portrayed by Zulfikar Ali Malik and Anu Patel.”
This conjured up images of explosions and more explosions. Any film based on a Riz Sabir story would be action packed, crazy, amusing, deadly, and loud.
“If you could choose any person living or dead to read and review one of your books who would you choose, which book would you choose, and why?”
“I’d choose Andy McNab to review my first novel, purely because he is my competition!”
Well at least he doesn’t blow up his competition. That’s a positive
In Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 the characters memorize books to “save” them when all books are being burned. They are known as Book People. If you were a book which one would you be and why?
“Red Army by Ralph Peters. I re-read it every year.”
So how does an interview with the writer of books that virtually explode on the bookshelf finish an interview?
“Thank you for interviewing me, I appreciate it!”
No, Charlie Flowers, I appreciate it. It’s not often I get to interview one of my favorite writers and survive the experience. (I wonder what he does as an advisor on terrorism and extremism. Maybe I’ll find out someday. But if I do I can promise, I’m not talking!
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1FhQtq9
Riz Sabir Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rizwan.sabir.58?fref=ts
Charlie Flowers: https://www.facebook.com/lutherblissett2000?pnref=lhc
Kill Order Review: https://elizabethnnewton.com/2015/04/27/kill-order-by-charlie-flowers/
Danger Close Review: https://elizabethnnewton.com/2015/03/15/danger-close-by-charlie-flowers/
Hard Kill Review: https://elizabethnnewton.com/2015/03/03/hard-kill-a-riz-sabir-thriller-by-charlie-flowers/