Howdy my lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with author Khaled Talib

Khaled Talib is a former journalist with local and international exposure. His articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, and his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines.

His novel Smokescreen was listed “Thriller of the Month” on e-thriller.com’s September 2014 issue. Talib is also the author of The Little Book of Muses, a book of aphorisms for writers, and several flash fictions. The author’s new thriller, INCOGNITO, will be released next year by World Castle Publishing.

The author is a member of the UK Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers Association.

Book blurb: INCOGNITO. Thriller

Pope Gregoire XVII was last seen waving to the crowd at Saint Peter’s square from the famous Apostolic Palace window. Despite several layers of tight security, neither the Gendarmerie nor The Entity (the Vatican’s intelligence service) or the Swiss Guards claim to know anything about his sudden mysterious disappearance.

As the world mourns for the pope, aPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00068] frantic search begins in Italy and beyond its borders amid speculation that the Holy See may know more than they are telling.

Ayden Tanner, a former British SAS commando officer — who is officially dead — is dispatched with two other crew members to find the Supreme Pontiff by The League of Invisible Knights, a covert division of Anonymous that aims to bring about the triumph of good over evil.

A secret arrangement is made for Ayden to meet Rafael Rabolini, the Papacy’s press secretary, in Geneva, who might be able to tell him more. But trouble unexpectedly starts from the moment Ayden arrives in the city that winter day…

The story unfolds to reveal an insidious plot by Willem Van Der Haas, a ruthless Dutch senator who has aligned himself with a world power bent on its own global ambitions.

In a gasping chase that races from the snowy mountains of Switzerland to the secret passages under Saint Peter’s Basilica to the hilly terrains of Istanbul to the harsh desert air of Egypt, Ayden and his crew are forced to match wits with lethal assassins as they struggle on a desperate quest to prevent a terrifying tomorrow.

Why do you write?  You know, I honestly don’t know. I guess it’s the same thing with painters; why do they paint or why does someone want to be a nurse or a chef? Maybe it’s a calling. But I’ve always been interested in reading, not in the words itself, but delving into stories told by other authors.

When did you decide to become a writer?  Oh, a very long time ago. Once, I wrote a detective story in my school text book during my free time. A student who sat beside me in class was snooping through my things during recess. When I came back, he asked me in a mocking fashion what I had written. I grabbed the textbook and didn’t answer him. He didn’t understand, so I didn’t see the point trying to explain. That day I stopped writing, but that little voice inside me crept back years later. So I went into journalism, thinking the ugly duckling had found the pond of swans. I was wrong. Journalism can be exciting but it can also be a dull environment. I don’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing stories. There’s more depth, I feel, even if it’s fiction. More than thirty-five years later when my debut novel, Smokescreen, was published, that former classmate of mine tried to contact me. I ignored him. I didn’t want him to jinx my life.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  My first novel took nineteen years to get published. It was trial and error as I had no experience writing. I kept failing. Then I abandoned the project for years, practically gave up on it. But the little voice told me to go back to it. One day, I sat down and started rewriting. I took it seriously for two and a half years straight, completely focusing on it. I came so close, but I failed again. Rejections after rejections. So I worked on it again. And then it happened — I found a publisher.

My second novel took a year and four months to complete. In fact, it’s much longer than my first by six thousand words. It comes with experience, I guess.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  Imagination. There’s plenty of characters in my head. You can hear them shouting, “It’s too dark in here! Let us out!”

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?  I listen to music when I need inspiration, particularly when I need to beef up the action scenes. So it’s usually a fast beat. Or sometimes I would hum a tune as I write.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  My new character, Ayden Tanner, is a former British SAS commando. He works for a covert division of Anonymous called The League of Invisible Knights. He was born an Anglican, but he has since abandoned his faith. Then he gets an assignment to find the pope, who is Catholic.

Where do your ideas come from?  From everywhere, and at any time. It could be a chance meeting with someone or listening or overhearing a conversation. Let me give you an example: I was staying in akhaled-talib_author-photo small, old hotel in Geneva. One winter night, through the window of my room, I saw a tall woman in black standing under a street lamp outside the hotel. She was staring into the blankness. I left my room later to go downstairs. I took the stairs since my room was just a few steps down to the lobby. I saw the same woman at the empty foyer. There was no one else. She gave me a cold, hard stare. I ran back up and locked myself in the room. The thing is, you need a password to open the hotel’s door entrance. How did she get it? She reminded me of a character in a movie. I took the idea to weave into my latest novel. I even gave her a nickname.

What is the hardest thing about writing?  Time. The author’s No.1 enemy is time. You cannot afford to be interrupted when you’re at work. You’ve got to be vicious about your writing time. That means you have to prioritize what’s important. People don’t understand. They keep calling you and messaging or expect you to be present at some social gathering. I don’t have the luxury to join them when I am in the middle of a manuscript. It’s a solitary life. Some people call me a recluse, I prefer to call myself a cryptic individual. Like a cat.

There ya have it folks! Many thanks Khaled for stopping by! For more about Khaled and his work, follow the links below:

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