13 September 2011

Interview with Stephen Ayers, author of The Taba Convention

Stephen Ayers
Stephen Ayers is the author of The Taba Convention, which is a fast paced thriller set in the Middle East.  I recently reviewed it giving it 4 stars and I thoroughly recommend it.  Stephen has taken some time out from his writing and busy hotel management career to participate in an interview with My Four Bucks.

Early on in the novel, the main character Jordan Kline listens to the music of Enigma.  I love Enigma, so I have to ask, do you listen to Enigma when you're writing?  
Do you have a favourite Album?
I love the music of Enigma, and listened to it for hours when we lived in Eilat. I love the album MCMXC A.D., amazingly soothing.  By the way, did you know that the wife of the founder of Enigma is a great singer called Sandra?  She also had a few hits way back.  However, when I write I just like to write surrounded by the sounds of everyday life, the street sounds.  When I write I am fortunate in that I am ‘transported’ to the place that I am writing about, so I travel the world on a free ticket while sitting at my desk!

Being in the hotel business yourself, how much of yourself do you draw on when writing the character of Jordan Kline?
Actually quite a lot.  The daily business of running a hotel is described in the book, and taken in large part from my experiences as a general manager.  The anecdotes, including ‘The Eiffel Tower’ story are true and happened in the hotels I managed.  I find that hotel life is fascinating and I wanted to create a ‘different’ kind of hero and convey his new, interesting life in contrast to his violent past.  I wanted to ‘paint’ a passive ‘hotelier’ Jordan opposite the ‘violent’ Jordan reluctantly drawn back into the world he wants so desperately to leave behind. 

How often do you review your work?
When I write I write.  I do not go back and check anything until I am through with the session.  I do not want to interrupt the flow of my thoughts while writing.  However, once I am done I will go over and over the draft text.  I review all of what I have written after each writing session.  I then review the whole book perhaps ten times before manuscript submission for editing, and then again after that a good few times.

Do you believe a peace agreement in the Middle East - like the Taba Convention - is possible?
I have always believed that a peace agreement is possible.  However, it must take into account the acute security interests of Israel.  Look at what is happening in the Arab world these days.  Israel does not want the occupied territories, but the borders must be defensible.  Look what happened after they gave back Gaza.  As one clever politician put it, “If the Arabs put down their arms there will be peace, if Israel puts down its arms there may be no Israel.”

Are you worried about any backlash from political or religious groups in regard to the content of The Taba Convention?  
Not at all. It is purely fiction. I wrote Taba to be purely a thrill action read. I do not think that there is any content that is abusive to any degree at all. It is not a book that is making any political statements.  If readers of Taba are entertained for a few hours, and it takes them away from the stress of daily life for a short while, I will have done my job.

What will Jordan Kline get up to next?
Wow! The next Jordan Kline in the series is The Righteous Within.  It is the story of a Nazi plot, hatched by German Generals long in their grave that threatens to bring annihilation to Israel at the beginning of this century.  The deadly plan was hatched towards the end of The Second World War, when Berlin burned and the Thousand Year Reich was crumbling with the approaching defeat. The plot even frightened me!

I wrote the series so that my readers can follow Jordan as he lives his life. By that I mean that in Taba he lives with Irit his girlfriend, in The Righteous Within he is married to her, and in The Kharta Conspiracy I introduce their young daughter Noah. I think that the ‘progression’ of their lives adds a different angle and lots of interest for those that will read all three, while they are also of course ‘stand alone’ novels too. Irit is very much involved in all three novels.

What are you reading at the moment?
I am reading A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer.  He is a master storyteller, his books amazing, the read keeps you spellbound.  The book is a modern ‘remake’ of The Count of Monte Cristo………I strongly urge everyone to read it! 

Thanks so much for your time Stephen, it's been a pleasure having you on My Four Bucks!

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