Born in Scotland, Douglas was brought up in England and became a London based international lawyer, later living in Las Vegas. In tandem, he developed a successful career as an internationally read author of mystery thrillers and non-fiction with a chart-topper and a W H Smith Paperback of the Week to his credit.
He is now writing a series of international mystery thrillers based on Det. Insp. Todd “Ratso” Holtom, a London detective. Ratso also featured in a short story contributed to Capital Crimes, an anthology, which became a number one bestseller.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Although I always wanted to pursue a professional career, I also hoped to become a novelist. I had a great English teacher at school. His brother was the legendary Geoffrey Household (Rogue Male) to whom I was introduced at an impressionable age. I then met prolific thriller-writer Hammond Innis who gave an inspiring talk when I was in the 6th Form. This encouraged me to join the crew at the University Newspaper where I wrote both fiction and non-fiction. However, it was a few years later after qualifying as a solicitor that I started a full-length book over the Christmas holiday period nearly forty years ago.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Scotland but brought up in Folkestone, Kent. Although some of the many places I have lived have influenced content in my writing, somehow Kent has barely featured. Sorry Kent! In contrast, Dorset, Somerset, Newcastle, Las Vegas and London have played much more than walk-on parts.
Is your material autobiographical?
That was said after I wrote my Alistair Duncan trilogy in the 1980s – based on a Bristol solicitor – but he had a far more exciting lifestyle than I ever did. Since then, nobody has ever seriously suggested that my leading characters are autobiographical and I am not aware of it. That said, sometimes, my characters’ foibles are close to home.
What are you working on now?
I am advancing on three fronts. I am developing the plot for the third thriller involving Det. Insp. Todd “Ratso” Holtom. In tandem, I am planning the arrival of Deadline Vegas. I wrote Late Bet over ten years ago and a movie company then wanted me to change the storyline to underpin their movie vision. This I did with the intent to re-release my book to match the screenplay. However, the movie deal fell apart! Late Bet, reincarnated as Deadline Vegas will appear in the next few months when I hope to interest another company in the movie rights based on the much changed storyline. Finally my “Ratso” series has attracted a TV production team with an impressive pedigree and so I am assisting them with that project. Perhaps this time, something written by me will hit the screen!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was successfully published by mainstream publishers for many years but as the ability of publishers to market the books effectively (budgetary constraints) deteriorated, I signed a deal with publishers who talked a great game just before I met a bunch of self-published authors who had sold millions between them and who had generated both higher profiles and a bigger return for their hours of toil and flair.
Following disillusionment with my big-talking publisher, opting to join the route enjoyed by my friends was an easy decision.
What does your writing process look like?
I am never short of ideas and so firstly I try to select the best one. I then have a broad outline both in mind and on paper but would not expect slavishly to follow it. I do however, always know my ending. The route from A to Z I find to be easier by knowing what Z stands for but the zig-zag in the middle can change for many reasons, often when characters create minds of their own.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love sport and travel. I have been involved with the cricketing world for so long that writing DEAD FIX, just released about the scourge of match-fixing, was an easy theme to write about. All sports interest me – coupled with a love for travel. I have visited, lived in or worked in over seventy countries but there are still plenty more ahead!
Who are your favourite authors?
I was especially influenced by Gerald Seymour’s early books and also by Frederick Forsyth’s Day of the Jackal. Forsyth has a great eye for interesting details – for example describing the office and desk of the Russian President. Reviewers have often mentioned that my writing transports them to the locations, consistent with my aim to ensure that place, especially interesting international locations, are key characters in my work. Currently, I enjoy reading Lee Child, Peter James and John Grisham but I am always devouring non-fiction works, especially about the USA and UK.