Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born in Singapore and I've authored three novels in the thriller genre.
As a former magazine journalist, I spent several years working in Egypt, which explains why my there is a scene in my debut novel, Smokescreen, that begins in Cairo.
I've also written a collection of quotes and sayings to inspire writers called The Little Book of Muses.
This interest in writing began when I was in primary school. Unfortunately, the talent was never cultivated as I spent plenty of time trying to recover from the wounds inflicted by my teachers because I was weak in math. Sad to say, my education was somewhat third world culture, but by reading on my own, I opened my mind to a bigger world.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
It's called Gun Kiss. I went jogging one morning and by the end of the day, I had cramps in my legs. I couldn't sleep that night, even after rubbing ointment. So I watched an old movie on TV, which had a particular blonde actress, who inspired me to write the novel. So, who says TV is bad for you? I had a blast writing the novel, and I'm planning a sequel.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don't really have any unusual habits and I write as and when I feel like it. But chocolate helps. It gives me the necessary energy, especially when handling action scenes.
Occasionally I listen to music while constructing a scene or I might just hum a tune. No Vodoo rituals, if that's what you mean.
The one thing I hate is noise or interruptions, especially when the doorbell rings. You've probably seemed movies where the author gets riled when he receives an announced guest. I dislike losing my train of thought, but if it's any consolation I've never lost my temper due to interruptions. I'm pretty patient that way. you have to be if you're writing. That explains why many writers check into hotels or sign up for some far-flung retreat because it's difficult to concentrate when you have interferences. Ever tried to adjust the antenna of a radio while trying to listen to a nice song with lots of static? There you go.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Oh, so many. Even classics have influenced my modern thrillers one way or another. The theme, the way the atmosphere is described or simply an attitude – everything plays a part.
Just to name a few, I've been influenced by Oscar Wilde, which explains why many reviewers and readers noted that my novels are descriptive. Readers have also compared my work to Robert Ludlum, Barry Eisler, and Clive Cussler. My novel Incognito, which is a Vatican thriller, is greatly influenced by Dan Brown and Ian Fleming with a dash of Mary Shelley in terms of being "dreary."
What are you working on now?
I've just finished a manuscript set in South Australia, which is called Spiral. I've been to the State many times as I used to manage the public relations account of its tourism office, so I know the place well. I even know what time the penguins come out at night on Kangaroo Island. It's a novel primarily set in a vineyard, a murder-mystery that evolves into a thriller.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I use social media differently without standardizing or uniformizing what I want to promote. I don't use any hands-free program, so I'm there with you. I prefer it that way to give it the human touch.
For example, if you visit my Instagram account you'll find lots of pictures of places around the world from mountainscapes to cafes to Art deco buildings.
On Pinterest, I have subdivided boards into various categories, which include book reviews, interviews, and blog links.
I have two Facebook accounts, one for social while the other promotes my Author image. The last few years with Facebook were difficult times because they made so many policy changes it affected my posts as not everyone could see them. Now, I am getting a steady flow of viewers again on my business page, but modifications to my personal Facebook page has prevented many people from seeing things that I post. But it's okay. If people notice I've appeared, and if they miss me, they can click on my page as I'm still there.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Be patient and don't give up. The best advice comes from editors, you can ignore everyone else otherwise you'll go crazy listening to so many opinions and hecklers.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Read more books.
What are you reading now?
The Bone Shroud by USA Today bestselling author, Jean Rabe. It's hard to put down.
What’s next for you as a writer?
So many ideas coming in like missiles that I feel restless. I need to slow down and decide what should come first. I am constantly inspired by this and that I wish I was the Bionic Man able to produce a 300-page manuscript in sixty minutes.
What is your favorite book of all time?
That's like asking what's my favorite chocolate brand. It's difficult to answer. I love all the books. Every writer leaves an impression on me. I learn so much from reading one book after another. You know, it's like that movie, The Highlander, where every time the Immortal swordsman chops off the head of his enemy, he absorbs their power – you are imbued with knowledge.