Interview with David Cooper

Published 2014-07-10.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Infernal Coalition, a legal/political suspense, is all about standing up against very obvious wrongdoing, rather than simply shrugging it off and letting the perpetrators get away with it. Alex Harris, the solicitor, could have just let it go when the attempt to defraud his firm failed. His law professor wife Susie could have decided to draw a line under it and move on, to coin a phrase, when her short lived Parliamentary ambitions were thwarted by the political class closing ranks and brushing some very questionable conduct under the carpet. Little did they know how soon everything would begin to converge...
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The e-publishing boom and the emergence of the Kindle suddenly brought it home that publication of a novel was no longer at the mercy of the traditional cliff climbing route involving agents, editors and bookshops. Many years earlier, demotivation had set in when I was around half way through what eventually became my debut novel, legal thriller Hatred Ridicule & Contempt, and I shelved it. Thanks to e-publishing, the opportunity to cut out the middlemen and still be sure of publication was an overwhelming incentive to dust it off and finish it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Apart from adding to my technical skills base on the logistical side of publishing - notably the "nuclear method" to cure hidden flaws in what seemed to be a faultless typescript - the best lesson has been to avoid granting anyone exclusivity.
What is your writing process?
Devise an outline for the entire plot on a timeline basis, tying in actual historical dates and events. Make notes of all the ideas that come into my mind for the fine detail. Only when the plot looks sensible and feasible, and when there are enough ideas to carry it all through, start writing but make sure to keep an open mind for new plot twists, characters, and so on at every stage.

That was how Infernal Coalition came together. I had a complete typescript in six weeks after the first words went down, but spent three months refining it before publication.

As far as Hatred Ridicule & Contempt was concerned, the process was more like: -

Work out most of a plot and turn a blind eye to the anomalies. Write half of it and try to banish the lingering thoughts that the whole process is futile. Abandon the unfinished typescript for over ten years. Regain inspiration when the e-publishing boom strikes a blow for independent authors against the traditional model of having an agent try to persuade disinterested mainstream publishers to take a chance on someone unknown and untested. Put in a considerable amount of work to devise a credible and interesting plot for the entire book, then write the rest of it and revisit the original material for a reappraisal with the benefit of ten years' accumulated wisdom. Job done.
How do you approach cover design?
I discovered Book Cover Café online, liked what I read about them and what they could offer. The fact that they were based in Australia was a trivial detail as the whole process could be carried out by email. Their attention to detail and willingness to provide prompt support after the main job is complete deserves high praise. They will certainly win any further business of mine.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle. My iPad is a close second.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
My own blog at and the occasional indirect opportunities this gives for mutual support by hosting other authors' interviews. Twitter is also very useful. I'd also mention the scope that Goodreads and First Chapters both offer too.
When did you first start writing?
In school and student days - that was when I first discovered satire, via a local Private Eye tribute, and song parodies. My first workplace then provided endless scope for humorous writing, often parodies of pompous management memos (e.g. "Not The Business Plan"). I never quite expected it to inspire my debut novel Hatred Ridicule and Contempt too, but...
What do you read for pleasure?
Fiction: suspense/mystery/thriller novels, not surprisingly. Non-fiction: chess, travel and politics.
Who are your favorite authors?
Robert Goddard is my all time favourite - his suspense mysteries involve ever more twisted plots and are almost always guaranteed to keep his readers guessing right to the end. John Grisham will naturally merit a mention too, some works such as The Firm and The Runaway Jury far more worthy reads than others. Tom Clancy - the pure Jack Ryan era works rather than the collaborations. Michael Crichton, notably State of Fear and Airframe. And Glenn Cooper (no relation!) for the Will Piper stories.
What are you working on next?
I am gathering ideas for another pure legal suspense/thriller, involving an acrimonious conflict between "headhunters" - recruitment consultants serving the UK legal profession - which ends up at trial. One of the candidates caught in the crossfire is going to be facing a far reaching moral dilemma...
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Possibly the sense of having created something out of thin air, whether it takes the form of a novel at one end of the spectrum or a parody song at the other end? I'd add to that the thought of "overcoming the obstacle" - imagine reading something and thinking to yourself "I could do better than that" or "I'm inspired - I have a great idea" and then finding that the will to put it into practice is defeated on 99 occasions out of 100 by lack of time, inertia, fear, or something similar. Those are the obstacles to overcome. Very much easier said than done - and that explains the joy in having done so.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

Hatred Ridicule & Contempt
Series: Alex Harris, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 116,220. Language: English. Published: July 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Courtroom, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Legal
Called upon to defend an acrimonious libel action on behalf of an important newspaper client, newly appointed law firm partner Alex Harris never once expected to find his efforts impeded by wanton disregard for ethics and blatant self interest that crossed all boundaries. Not only on the part of his opponents, but also those he should have been able to trust implicitly and without question…
Infernal Coalition
Series: Alex Harris, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 82,080. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Political
Law firm partner Alex Harris finds himself on the receiving end of an elaborate scam from a once trusted client. Meanwhile his wife Susie’s political ambitions are treacherously derailed by a once welcoming party machine. Each of them strikes back, never expecting the shocking outcome as their mutual struggles against their opponents become ever more entwined. A legal/political suspense.