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You still use a pseudonym, is that working?

Yes, I think so.  When we last met, I explained why I used a pen name: to keep a distance from those involved in my previous professional life; to hide my identity from past clients and colleagues, for confidential reasons; and anonymity allows me more freedom to cover controversial topics.  I may adopt other genres of writing, for example, I am thinking of diving into Historical Fiction, so I may use another different pen name.   We’ll see.

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You’ve been writing for nearly ten years now - has your methodology changed?

My books are plot driven, but the characters are the most important ingredients.  It all starts with a lot of thinking, on long walks, on journeys or during the night.  Then I do as much research as I can, to know everything there is to know about the times, the places, about details of my characters.  Then I fix the plot in its barest outline, in timeline order, clearly marked out, so that, at any moment, I know where everybody is supposed to be, how they relate to others, their ages and their back story. Then I work through, scene by scene, chapter by chapter, until the story is complete: very basic first draft.  Then second, third, fourth drafts follow, going over and over the manuscript, word for word, from start to finish.  This is where scenes may change or be moved around, refinements added, maybe plot changes if I think that will help.  Then I redraft and redraft.  Fair Game Foul Play took nine drafts, and then the editorial process at the publishers resulted in two further complete redrafts, with plot changes.  It is a painstaking process.  Sometimes I agonise for a whole day over one adverb change.

For deadline, I created a bunch of characters around my version of a real event, the police shooting in Earl’s Court.  I threw them together and left them alone to interact.  I watched from the side lines, pushed them around a bit, saw how the plot was developing and padded out the text.  That’s character-led fiction.

Deadline Book cover by Author Daniel Pascoe

Either way the fun is in the creation of the people and seeing how they react with each other. I can become quite attached to some of them, whether they are nice or not.  If they are disposed of, I find that quite emotional.  I have trouble letting some characters go.


So far six books, are they linked?

Not all six, no.  There are two military thrillers (Our Wilful Assassin and The London Sniper) that run together; two urban crime stories (deadline and lifeline) that run together; and two others, stand alones (Dead End and Fair Game Foul Play).  They are all contemporary, mostly set in London. 

They all portray ordinary folk, driven by events to do extraordinary things.  None of them fit neatly into a simple genre but are attempts to mix a literary approach with some fast-paced action - sort of literary-commercial hybrids.

It’s the characters that interest me most: when put to the test, how do they measure up, how do they perform, what are their reactions?









You self-publish now.  You must have learnt a lot about the publishing industry since you started.

Oh, yes.  I had a couple of small publishers at the beginning but found it hard to break into the traditional world, which I wanted to do for recognition, for help with my craft (after all, we all have things to learn).  You have to start by pitching your novel, its premise and plot, to an agent, who only picks two or three manuscripts out of several hundred or more each year.  They only want something that will sell, obviously. And they in turn have to pitch it to a publisher, who will be considering only half a dozen new books added to their list out of a thousand possibles each year.  They only want books that will make them money, and then they all take their cut before the author gets a sniff.  In other words, you need to understand your genre and know who you are writing for, so that your work can be pitched precisely at that defined audience.  Even then the odds are stacked against you.

Stack of books by Author Daniel Pascoe

So, I went self-publishing using Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).  That way you get to control the process yourself, the cover design, the marketing, the pricing, and you keep more of the royalties, but you have to learn all sorts of new techniques to really work the advantages of the internet: you need to understand Amazon’s algorithms.

Basically, you realise that writing the novel is only one part of the job.  The real hard work then begins with marketing and selling it, if you want to achieve reasonable sales – to make it all worthwhile.

You have created several strong characters in your books, and countless lesser people who make appearances.  Which ones do you like most?

I am fond of the women in my books: Sophie Patek (DEAD END) I liked, although her behaviour might be described as wayward and selfish - she came to appreciate what her father and family went through for her.

From the SNIPER, Jamila Deshpande (Leon’s daughter), although only appearing briefly, was a potential protagonist, a feisty girl who will grow up with purpose, intelligence and self-determination.  I think she could star in a fast-moving sexy political thriller that I have in mind.

Of course, Jarvis Collingwood was a major character of mine.  I admired him, his skills, his professionalism, his approach – even though he got a bit lost in the end.  I was deeply moved to lose him; it was an emotional closure. 

In deadline, I came to love Olivia Truelove: so cool, independent, resourceful and very attractive all at the same time, a winner.  So in lifeline it was a pleasure to follow her career and personal life, to see her growing and finding love too in someone else, the likeable Simon, a fellow traveller.

Characters in fiction are mostly an amalgamation of people the writer knows or has met; they rarely match exactly to a particular person.   As I said before, Matthew Crawford from DEAD END came close to being me.  Leon Deshpande (THE LONDON SNIPER) emerged from a brief meeting I had with a university lecturer from Manchester while on holiday in Mombasa, swimming on Nyali beach.

Dead End  Book cover by Author Daniel Pascoe
The London Sniper Book cover by Author Daniel Pascoe

So, what’s coming next?

I was thinking of several surprise final chapters, as a bonus when a reader completes one of the books (particularly The London Sniper, maybe Dead End and Lifeline).  I have my first foray into historical fiction in mind: the thinking and research phases are nearly over, in preparation for a first draft – this will be UPRISING, set in Budapest in 1956, the Soviets taking back control of the city with vicious and violent force.

I have several promotion plans in mind to get a wider readership and enlarge the membership of my Readers Club.

*thanks to newspaper literary editor, Sue MacIntosh,

for her updated extracts of this interview – once again, these were her questions.

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