Interview with Tony Nash

When did you first start writing?
Forty odd years ago I rather foolishly decided I would go for an external degree in Modern Languages, not realizing just what I was letting myself in for during the next five years. In those days there was no such thing as the Open University, or correspondence courses. The only aids I had were old exam papers and the reading lists. Not knowing any better I studied all the 250 books on the list. When I went to sit the exams I found that the internal students had been told which six books to study, and which pages! However, the study seemed to make my brainpower explode - I began to play the piano and write music, and I somehow made time to write three full-length novels during the five study years. I got a good degree, left the RAF and started teaching, and the writing continued. A couple of times a year I would write to a publisher, and even sent in sample chapters, without success, and the years went by with the manuscripts in the cupboards.
I then started writing television plays and tried to break into that world, but found, eventually, that it is almost a closed shop. I went back to books and tried sporadically to get published, but eventually gave up trying.
When ebooks came on the scene I was delighted, and began to write again. Ten of the books were written last year, and I'm now on the fourth for this year. I just hope readers will love them. I try to 'do a Graham Greene': he insisted that a good novel should include 'a little bit of love, a little bit of sex and a little bit of mystery'.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My home town is Norwich, in the United Kingdom county of Norfolk. There are many lovely counties in the UK, but I think my own takes some beating. Most of my thrillers are set here, with a local man as a central character - Detective Chief Inspector Tony Dyce.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've changed from thrillers with this one. Researching my family history I came across the story of one my ancestors, who, at the end of the 17th century, was left to pick up the pieces when his younger brother absconded with all the family funds and emigrated to America. With this as a starting point I let my imagination run riot and decided to write a high adventure fictional family saga, stretching from 1786 to the present day. 'A HANDFUL OF DUST' is the result, and the first sequel, 'A HANDFUL OF SALT' is also finished. Both books will be published on Smashwords this year.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
At last, with Smashwords help, I am able to place my work where the great army of readers can access it. I have never wanted to go in for vanity publishing, although, of course, some of the biggest names started that way. I am delighted that so many readers are enjoying my books.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
In a word: creation. To take my favored genre, thriller writing, it is so satisfying to find that a basic idea has developed into a cohesive whole, with involved plots,sub-plots and believable characters that did not exist when I sat down to begin writing..
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! I'd just love to have an army of fans who enjoyed my books and wanted more, more, more! Although there are thousands of authors in my position, hoping to be read, I know lightning can strike, (A radio shack I was once in was struck and damn near blown to pieces, so I know it can happen!). At least many new readers are downloading my books each month, which delights me. More fans - wonderful!
What are you working on next?
The fourth in the series of John Hunter crime thrillers - 'THE IAGO FACTOR'. He and Jane are just too good together, and someone is determined to tear them apart.
Who are your favorite authors?
Dick Francis is the author I would most like to emulate. His stories gallop along at the same speed as his horses, with just enough, but not too much description, which spoils so many good books. His plots are great. His are books I just cannot put down. Others I enjoy reading are Clive Cussler, Patricial Cornwell, Kathy Reichs and Mark Billingham, but I'll read anything going. One can even learn something from a badly-written book!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The thought of a new day. I try to get forty-eight hours' worth out of every twenty-four, and mostly manage to do so. I sleep like the proverbial log and wake refreshed and ready for the fray. Around three mornings a week it will be fly-fishing for trout, and most evenings I go deer stalking. In between, there's writing, gardening, fly tying, the keyboard, d-i-y and dozens of other things. If nothing else, there's the day to enjoy. I get up singing, go to bed singing, and sing all day long, driving my wife up the wall I guess, though she never complains (except when 'The Archers' is on!).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Fly fishing, deer stalking, tying flies, cooking exotic food, gardening, playing the keyboard, making things. I love creating things out of wood and still have all the machines I had when I was producing hand-made furniture. There's no sale for it now, with Ikea everyone's choice, but I still use the machines now and then when the mood strikes me. I would like to find time to make wooden figures, like a couple I have which were made by my sister-in-law's grandfather. Now and again, I go back to an earlier hobby - photography, and often stalk with a camera instead of a rifle. It is incredible what you see if you stand absolutely still for two hours in full camouflage. Animals will almost walk or play over your shoes. I just love being out with nature all around me - and its healthy too - and burns calories!.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was the black magic novel I'm just about to publish as an ebook, 'The Devil Deals Death'. I found the manuscript languishing in the garage recently, and read it. After so many years I'd forgotten the plot and the ending, and I enjoyed it, so thought, 'Why not?' It took me a few days to type up on the computer, and it's having a final check now.
What is your writing process?
When I have a basic idea for a plot I sit down and write, having only the vaguest of ideas what is going to happen at that point.
The plot and sub-plots just arrive naturally, and the characters come alive as I go along. It's a wonderful process. I did once write a complete plan for a novel, with the characters, plot, sub-plots and everything else written down in advance. When I'd finished the book I looked again at the layout and found hardly anything I'd planned was left. It taught me that I am not one of those writers!
How do you approach cover design?
I decide on a simple design which incorporates the basic theme of the book, without being too fussy, and then use Photoshop to produce it.
What do you read for pleasure?
Murder mysteries by anyone and adventure stories by people like Clive Cussler (it used to be Dennis Wheatley).
Describe your desk
A computer, a keyboard, a printer, and a mass of single sheets of paper on top of the printer with notes on things I've researched for the novel I'm currently writing.
Published 2014-04-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Blockbuster
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 56,080. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2015. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
The discovery of a 12-year old skeleton appears at first sight to be a case that John Hunter will file under the 'Open, unsolved' label and quietly forget about, but strangely it leads implacably to more deaths.The trail of tiny clues leads him to two high-flying Russian crooks,with a diabolical scheme to ruin the UK. Severely wounded, .only he stands any chance of preventing the final disaster.
A Handful of Courage
By
Price: Free! Words: 112,360. Language: English. Published: December 29, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » War & military
Frederick's happy, untroubled little world is thrown into turmoil when he is seduced by Imelda, and destroyed utterly by her murder of his baby son. Consumed with blind guilt he joins an army about to become enmeshed in the most horrendous war the world has ever known. His bad dream becomes a far worse reality as battle follows bloody battle, and yet, throughout it all, an unlikely love survives.
Hell and High Water
By
Price: Free! Words: 56,760. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2014. Category: Fiction » Inspirational
Death. Tom knows he is going somewhere; Jean just wants to go. Kylie is fearful. Each of these characters faces that final moment in a different way, some with belief and some without.
A Handful of Salt
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 79,460. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Sea adventures
Joshua Nash, son of Thomas, the protagonist in 'A Handful of Dust', by an aborigine woman, opts for a life at sea, knowing that if he stays on land he will always be a second class citizen. His ambition is to become a master mariner and Commodore of the Fleet. Enduring gales, mutiny, disasters, piracy, hunger and being set adrift in a tiny boat to die, he perseveres and at last achieves his goal.
A Handful of Dust
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 94,400. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2014. Category: Fiction » Historical » Australia & New Zealand
May 1786. Thomas Nash is looking forward to Michaelmas, when his family fortunes will be restored. On that day, which should have been the happiest of his life, he is arrested and charged with attempting to obtain pecuniary advantage. He is sentenced to fourteen years transportation. Horrors pile on horrors, with death appearing as a blessed relief, but he is a fighter and will not give up.
The Iago Factor
By
Series: John Hunter mysteries, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 62,170. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2014. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Traditional British
Faced with one of his 'Thursday' murders John Hunter is on to a hiding to nothing, but that one goes on the back burner while he investigates the murder of a senior police official, Commander Freddie Sloane, who headed up Vice. Someone out there is determined to destroy John, and as a first step his wife Jane is arrested for the murder. Her pistol fired the shots.
Single to Infinity
By
Series: John Hunter mysteries, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 66,210. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
DI John Hunter is not confronted every day with the corpse of a senior Government minister, nor that of an alien. Here he has two in one. What seems at first to be a 'nutcase' murder is anything but. With the investigation hampered by need-to-know, the personal intervention of the PM and interference by Special Branch it becomes one of John's most difficult cases, with the strangest outcome
The Most Unkindest Cut
By
Series: John Hunter mysteries, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 62,900. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
DI John Hunter likes a case with good scene of crime evidence and a clear motive. Here there is neither the one nor the other, and there are literally hundreds of suspects when nurses are murdered in a large hospital and their clitorises are surgically removed. Is it sexual, racial, vengeful, or none of those. By heading in the wrong direction he puts Jane in mortal danger.
Panic
By
Price: Free! Words: 102,510. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2014. Category: Fiction » Horror » Crime
It is midsummer, and with the worst heatwave ever to hit the City the Big Apple is overripe, with many destructive maggots eating away at its innards. All it needs now is Panic!
The Last Laugh
By
Price: Free! Words: 31,040. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2014. Category: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » European
Rabies is absent from the United Kingdom, but it is an ever-present danger. The police and Defra have complete plans for such an exigency, and here they have to employ them, when a small dog escapes from a German coaster and joins up with a small boy and the 'ghost' of the marshes. Disaster is only a bite away...
Unseemly Exposure
By
Series: Harry Page thrillers, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 49,060. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2014. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
A seventeen year old unsolved murder leads Harry Page and his wife Karen to the Island of Thassos, where he is knocked unconscious and she is abducted, with her life forfeit if he does not stop the investigation. With his life under close scrutiny his options are limited, but he is determined to see the affair through to the end.
The World's Worst Joke Book
By
Price: Free! Words: 6,290. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2014. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
If you'd been on the stage in 1939 with these jokes you would have been a smash hit. Health Warning: Do not try it today! You have been warned.
Murder on the Back Burner
By
Series: DCI Tony Dyce murder mysteries, Book 5. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 63,530. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2013. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Traditional British
This is the fifth novel in the murder mystery series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Tony Dyce and his forensic pathologist wife, Jane Keller. A talented, well-funded killer is targeting ex-Metropolitan police officers, using a series of bizarre methods to make the apparently pointless deaths look like accidents or suicides. The motive, Dyce finds, goes way back into the past.
Murder on the Chessboard
By
Series: DCI Tony Dyce murder mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 42,970. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » War & military
DCI Tony Dyce and his ex-SAS friends are out of their comfort zone and their lives precariously on the line when a gang of vicious criminals come after half of an antique Chinese chess set that was given to the men as a reward for rescuing a German minister's son. The full set gives the location of a cache of Nazi gold.
The Makepeace Manifesto
By
Price: Free! Words: 90,190. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
With the Cold War at its height and atomic annihilation the constant worry of the man in the street, senior government officials are aware of a much more insidious and possibly even more dangerous threat to global stability. John Hunter takes on the might of the Makepeace machine, and if he fails, the world will never be the same again.
Murder On Tiptoes
By
Series: DCI Tony Dyce murder mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 93,730. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2013. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Police Procedural
This is the first in the series of murder mysteries featuring Detective Chief Inspector Tony Dyce and forensic pathologist Jane Keller. Dyce is blissfully unaware that he is being set up as the fall-guy for the very series of prostitute murders he is investigating, by a diabolically clever psychopath who has already had two other officers imprisoned for a dozen murders he's committed..
The Devil Deals Death
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 69,900. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2013. Category: Fiction » Horror » Occult
His past was peaceful and secure, his hoped-for future the same. Fate has other ideas for Douglas Steele, who finds himself fighting not only for his mortal life but also for his very soul, after he kills a naked sixteen year old girl, fleeing from the horrors of Hell.
Carve Up
By
Series: John Hunter mysteries, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 102,310. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
John Hunter, veteran detective of Serious Crimes, is targeted by a panty-sniffing, head carving serial killer, who for thirteen years has been coldly planning a diabolical revenge. Hunter and his family and friends are subjected to the shocking attentions of the highly intelligent, cold-blooded pervert, who has the police force baffled and the last act planned out to the last terrifying detail.
Murder By Proxy
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Series: DCI Tony Dyce murder mysteries. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 63,740. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
A psychotic serial killer is unleashing indiscriminate death among the elderly, using a unique and diabolically dangerous device. Tony Dyce is fighting a losing battle against a powerful, informed enemy. Shockingly, he learns that the murderer is a disturbed figure from his own past. Electrifying action leads to a terrifying climax, where Dyce's own life hangs by a mere thread.
Murder on the High 'C'
By
Series: DCI Tony Dyce murder mysteries. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 57,740. Language: English. Published: July 20, 2013. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Traditional British
Motiveless musician murders, unknown pathogens and appalling outcome.
Tripled Exposure
By
Series: Harry Page thrillers, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,480. Language: English. Published: December 5, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
a fast-moving yarn, without unnecessary, boring padding. harry page, junior, the ejected black sheep of the family, and now a successful photographer, hears that his father has disappeared. harry suddenly finds himself head of the family firm - the very last thing on earth he wanted. murder, arson and skulduggery follow, with vicious antagonists and severe pain for the hero and his family