Author Spotlight – Paul Rice
Recently I read “Dangerous Games” by Paul Rice, part of the Jake Collins series. Normally I steer clear of spy novels, but because Paul lives in Spain… I wanted to read the book in order to feature him on this website. Paul has kindly taken some time to chat with us, and we hope you enjoy getting to know him… as I have.
I first stumbled across the book when it was on a special offer at Amazon. However, it is worth every cent of its standard price.
Dangerous Games seemed to me to be almost a cross between The “Bourne” series, and James Bond – lots of action, danger, thrills and spills. It’s pretty graphic, and I really enjoyed that – I pictured everything pretty well as I read. Jake Collins (JC) the main character, was a likeable fella. Unassuming, straightforward, and gutsy whilst also being very believeable. I loved Jake, and definitely want to read more about his exploits.
If I had to complain about anything in the book, it would be the final chapter. I really felt that it was superfluous, and written to keep the womenfolk happy. Paul could have cut that and the book would still be a great read. But it didn’t ruin what I felt was a gripping storyline.
Whilst reading the book, I could imagine it being made into a film – it has all the ingredients that we see in many action films today. I also really liked that I didn’t automatically guess who the big bad boss was – unusual for me… so I liked that.
Anyway – enough about my tastes… enjoy the interview.
1. How did you come up with Jake Collins, the main character in your books?
From my imagination, but also based upon people I know, some past and some in the present. I know a lot of guys like Jake, they’re out there in a world that most wouldn’t know existed. Strangely enough – in my other books, the Hunters trilogy, the lead man – Ken Robinson – is also akin to Jake, so there is a common thread there. They are the men I know the most about, and so I write the most about them…
2. Where does his name come from?
I simply made it up, I needed something that rolled off the tongue and could be turned into a nickname – most ex-forces guys have nicknames – and ‘JC’ seemed to fit the picture of Jake in my mind.
3. How much of him is based on you? Or someone you know? Be honest now…
There is a lot of me in Jake, and it’s his eyes I look through when I get into the JC writing ‘zone’. (Maybe he sees through mine, who knows?) But, I do see him, and I do hear what he thinks. He’s a very dry man, is Jake, very self-effacing and eternally seeking a way out of the ‘machine’, which is how he refers to his line of work. As I’ve mentioned – I know a lot of people like Jake. They’re gritty, old, tough, and very cynical about life and the world in general. Their life experiences have made them this way. Too many bad things have passed before their eyes, too many bad places have left their stamp in these men’s passports, and on their minds. It changes a man, makes one almost immune to reality, almost cold-hearted in appearance, and anything but that in reality. They hide these emotions, for if not they would be of no use in their industry. I use my own experiences to make sure that the action scenes in a Jake Collins book are as realistically written as possible. Some readers don’t like that type of reality and have said it’s too violent, but that is the way I write. Car’s don’t explode when the are hit by a pistol round, and people don’t fly off their feet when they are hit by a bullet. However, when blood is spilled it’s never very pretty. Violence isn’t pretty, period, but I don’t believe in hiding it either. What Jake sees, the reader sees. Leastways, that’s what I hope I achieve…
4. What can we look forward to with Jake? Do you have more adventures planned for him?
Nothing at present, but I’m toying with maybe doing some early JC adventures, before we met him during ‘Tears in Tripoli’ and ‘Dangerous Games’, when he was younger, and crazier – that would be fun, because I know that he would have been crazy! Maybe I won’t find it within me to write another JC tale – let’s see!
5. When your books gets spotted by Hollywood… which director would you like to take control and why?
Spielberg, Hanks, Guy Richie, Clint Eastwood – someone who gets the whole idea and won’t try and dumb things down or pretty Jake and his stories up.
6. What actor would you like to play him?
Perhaps…Jason Streatham or maybe Bruce Willis, because he’s older – like JC. Someone who comes across as tough as old boots, but who is smart as well.
7. How did you get into writing? And what, or who, motivated you?
I’ve always toyed with writing and I have written several things along the way, but never dedicated myself to the art – and it is that, an art, very much so. I became serious in 2007 whilst working in Afghanistan. Boredom drove me to it, and that in turn opened up the whole can of worms. I say ‘worms’ because the story-telling wasn’t an issue, but learning how to write in a half-decent manner, was. I made many mistakes along the way, and I still do, but I’m more at ease with that sort of thing now.
I love thinking about a story, and how I would tell it. My main issue with any story is getting it right, making it believable – I don’t like reading stories, or seeing films, that make me think: ‘What? No way would that have happened!’ But it does happen in books and films, and happen a lot. For me the tale must be believable, the hero must escape, but only just, and the storyline must be believable. I hope I achieve that.
Mind you, having said all of that, I spent five years in writing my sci-fi, thriller trilogy ‘Hunters’ and I really enjoyed the ride. You see, because it was mildly sci-fi I could make things happen, and in any way I wanted them to. I just needed to imagine it. That book, all 720 pages of it, was my apprenticeship into the art of writing, and it was a journey that I’ll never forget. One of the best things I’ve ever done, and also the hardest.
8. How disciplined are you to put aside proper time for writing? Do other aspects of your life allow you to do that?
Very badly disciplined at the moment, due to some other more pressing issues that are in my life, but if I am writing then I’m quite obsessive about it – to a degree. It’s funny, because in contradiction to that, I also like to take a break from the keypad, even when I’m right in the midst of a tale I will just walk away. But, in my mind I am still writing, still twisting the tale, still scouring it for mistakes, whilst in reality I’m doing other things. Then, when I eventually sit down again, the words just fly out of me. I wrote Dangerous Games in five weeks, but not in one go. I stopped for six months after having written only three chapters in two weeks. Then, after the break, it was ‘Boom!’ and there it was, done and dusted in three weeks.
9. You live in Spain (hence being featured on this website)… tell us about the area in which you live
I live in Mojacar, down on the playa at the far end, or ‘south beach’ as it has become know. We moved here for a break from a wet and rainy UK, and because I was away working all the time I liked the idea of my wife waiting for me to come home, whilst being somewhere rather nice and sunny herself. In summer – July and August – the playa is busy, but we like it and the noise levels at night are not any sort of a problem down where we are. Plus, there are so many bars and restaurants within walking distance that we can go out for a beer or a nice meal any time we feel like it. Almeria is a lovely place, and is so laid back that you can’t help but join in!
10. What authors inspire you? And what author/s are your guilty pleasure?
Stephen King, Stephen King, and…
11. What was the first book you remember reading?
Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ series, and Arthur Ransome’s ‘Swallows and Amazons’. They are amazing books.
12. What was the first book you bought with your own money?
Robert Ruark’s ‘Something of Value’. I was fourteen and read it on the plane as we travelled between Rhodesia and UK. Until then we had been avid users of the library. I was brought up on books and the weekly trip into the library to get new reading material was a highlight of my childhood.
13. What was the last book you read?
Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is the last one I can remember reading – I’ve read it about five times, or more, and what an epic tale it is! I have read plenty of others since then, but can’t remember them or who wrote them, which I hope will never happen to one of my books! These days I seem to spend more time writing than reading, and if I’m not writing then I’m thinking about writing. To be honest, I do most of my reading on then internet. There are endless articles, Blogs and short-stories etc out there that I never feel the need to crack open a new book. Sadly, most of my reading is based on writing, and how to write, and how to promote one’s work etc. Boring, but essential if one is trying to establish oneself as an author.
14. If you had to describe yourself as a character from a TV show… who would you choose, and why?
‘An Idiot Abroad’ If for no other reason than I’m probably the most underwhelmed man in the universe. Unless it comes to motorcycle racing, and then I’m generally in awe.
15. What are your plans and dreams for the future?
To keep fighting, not only to try and make a living, but also in the hope that maybe, just maybe, one day someone will say: ‘We’re liking this tale, would you care for a film deal?’ Then I could write, and write full time, knowing that I’m earning enough to pay the bills whilst doing something I love, which is all anyone could ever want. Yeah, that would be cool – ice-cool.
Thanks for the opportunity to give this interview. I really enjoyed myself!
by Elle Draper
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Gandy-Draper. Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, their three bouncing dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.