Danny Kemp, a British author of thriller, romance and historical fiction
The next book is called Mitzy Collins, a different kind of story. He would hope to have completed telling Mitzy’s story by the end of this year.
«The Desolate Garden is a wonderful read. I’m looking forward to more from the author, Daniel Kemp. He takes the reader into his world. I can smell the cigars and whiskey as I read. A book worth reading, more than once. » CB
«A consummate professional, a man for all seasons…» Charles Tijou
«Danny Kemp has many stories to share with us and he knows how to do it! He’s a brilliant writer…» Penny Brojacquie
«Danny’s stories are easy reading, entertaining and witty. » Annemie Riemarker
«Danny’s stories are very entertaining. He shares his life stories in a natural and candid manner that makes the reader feel as if he is right there, witnessing the event.» Zelda Martin
By: Alberto Berenguer Twitter: @tukoberenguer
In addition to writer, you have been London Taxi driver and ex London police officer. How did you fall in love with writing?
Literarily by accident. I was at work one sunny November day in 2006, minding my own business stopped at a red traffic light, when a van smashed into me. I was taken to Hospital and kept in for while, but it was not physical injuries that I suffered from; it was mental.
I had lost all confidence in myself, let alone those around me. The experts said that I had post traumatic stress disorder, which I thought only the military or emergency personnel suffered from. On good days, I attempted to go to work, sometimes I even made it through Blackwell Tunnel only to hear, or see, something that made me jump out of my skin, and the anxiety attacks would start.
I told my wife that I was okay and going regularly to work but I wasn’t. I could not cope with life and thought about ending it all.
On of the most relevant questions that was asked of me, at the time, was this; ‘if your car was scratched, would you throw it away?’ I, of course, answered ‘no,’ to which that particular psychologist said, ‘that car is you. You have been scratched, that’s all, nothing that can’t be mended.’ Somehow or other with the help from my dear wife, and the professionals that I saw in droves, I managed to survive and ever so slowly rebuilt my self-esteem.
It was during those dark depressive days, when there was nothing else to do, that I began to write.
My very first story, Look Both Ways, Then Look Behind, found a literary agent but not a publisher. He told me that I had a talent, raw, but nevertheless it was there. After telling me to write another story, he said that there were two choices open to me: One, wait for a traditional deal. At the age of sixty-two, with no literary profile or experience; little hope. Two, self-publish through New Generation Publishing. This, I’m delighted to say, I did.
The success of my story, The Desolate Garden, is down to my sheer hard work, luck in meeting a film producer and the uncompromising stance taken by Daniel Cooke my publisher, who never ‘massages my inflated ego,’ as he so often puts it.
How would you define your narrative style?
I love dialogue above all else. As a writer you paint a broad outline with description, motivation, and the history of the tale, but the story comes alive through the characters. It’s through their speech that the reader, or I as the writer, gets to know them, becoming one with them. I see humour in all things, and I hope this is reflected by my words. It can be satirical and sarcastic but always must be there.
I try, as the story unfolds, to build the relationship between the two central protagonists, both sexually and intellectually, so as to ricochet back and forth like a train driven by a teenager, stuck in first gear. Lord Harry Paterson knowing more than he is willing to reveal, and Judith Meadows knowing more about his family, than Lord Harry does. I have been told that I was successful.
The Desolate Garden is a thriller, a romance and historical fiction. Is it difficult to all wrap up in one package?
I think that was the most enjoyable part with the three genres coinciding and running together. The historical background came from my youth, both growing-up in London and my time in the Police, with the suspense and intrigue being built around, and from, my two central protagonists. I have always been fascinated by women and the word love, it means so many things to each of us. In real life it is a complicated issue leading to happiness; but also despair. I lived in my characters, Lord Harry and Judith Meadows, and wrote how I felt they would interact, with the dialogue between them being the complete essence of the story. There is a romantic connection between the two, but I cannot divulge too much, other than to say that the novel is suitable for all ages, having no graphic sex in the script. I hope I achieved what I set out to do without the need of that.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Not long, it flowed so easily. I guess, some six months, but I wasn’t writing full time then perhaps one day I maybe able to.
The history of the 20th century is at the heart of the book and ranges from the Russian Revolution to The Suez Crisis. How was the documentation process?
A great deal of research had to go into the book. Not only does it refer to the above, but it goes deep into the 1960’s, here in the UK, with all the Philby scandal of those days. It has mentions of the Spanish Civil War. That is important to the overall story. It is in Spain that the main part of the story is born. By reading it you would understand my meaning there. The War in Ireland is also in the book, as a background to a main character.
What are your reasons for creating the story in this age?
It is set in modern time, but with its roots in bygone days. Those days to me were more attractive with manners and politeness being the norm, unlike today.
Our follower and writer @andygarmont asks: why did you include a period of time so extensive?
This is difficult to answer without giving too much away. It had to be so in order to position ‘Paulo,’ the main ‘reason’ of the intrigue, in such an influential place. Also it was done to explain how the motivation behind the story came about. This is an espionage tale, so I just cannot reveal everything in an interview.
Your book is a crack-a-long story full of espionage and intrigue that will keep you enthralled to the end. Do you think that characters help to build up the complex and tangled web of espionage?
Absolutely I do. Details or facts are never enough. I don’t write stories that start at Point A, and then finish at Point Z. Mine go everywhere in between and then more. I love to throw the reader all over the place, going backwards and forwards into contemporary times then returning to the past, all the time building on the mystery and making the imagination work.
Harry, Lord Elliot Paterson’s eldest son, and an attractive girl from the Home Office called Judith Meadows are the main characters of The Desolate Garden. While creating the characters, were you inspired by anyone or something along those lines?
I was laughing as I read your question. I’m a man that has lived a full life, and grateful to have known many attractive women. Judith is most certainly based firmly on one. I could be carried away here and admit that Harry is based on me; I hope no-one thinks that’s being bigheaded if I do. I never had his background or education, but there are many similarities between he and I. That is something I have never owned up to before. I’m still smiling.
Do you think that the rubber band relationship between Harry and Judith is paramount to the tale?
It is essential, not only to the story but to my future. It was this relationship, told by the dialogue between the two, that attracted the Film Producer.
The novel was awarded a prize for its “Quality of work” from the publisher New Generation Publishing. Have you been important this prize for you?
Not really, when the film gets an Oscar or I win the Booker prize then I’ll shout about it. I have a sense of humour you see.
Also, do you think that an important factor in your success lies in the interaction that you set up with your readers through social networks?
I would like to think that is so. I’m a very sociable person and I love people, difficult not to as I have been around so many all my life.
Writers usually your time take up in the promotion. However, you show books by other writers through social networks, why?
Everyone who tries deserves a chance in life. If I can help others to achieve their ambitions then why not? The world has room for all of us.
I have a saying by which I have always lived my life; it goes like this… ‘To try is a worthy thing, To wait, a worthless thing. Those that try stand to fall, while those that wait gain nothing at all.’
Will your book be filmed?
Yes, it will. A set has been built in the United Arab Emirates and locational work will be done in London later this year.
Readers can find The Desolate Garden in various formats: Kindle Edition, Hardcover or Paperback. What format is functioning better?
Overall I have to say that the Kindle is doing best, but physical books through Waterstones, the UK’s biggest chain of book shops, are not far behind.
Your book is available in some bookshop in the UK, but have you done any presentations of The Desolate Garden? What are the opinions of your readers on your book?
I did a sixteen, consecutive week, signing event with Waterstones ending in October last year and met with encouraging comments from all that attended and bought my novel.
Would you recommend The Desolate Garden to everyone beneath 18 years?
Yes I would, although perhaps the tension felt in the sixties through to the 1980’s is no longer with us. Hopefully, the treat of blowing ourselves up, in a Nuclear War has receded now.
Are you writing a new novel now or is all your time taken up by promotion of The Desolate Garden?
I stopped writing on publication of The Desolate Garden, concentrating all my energy in marketing and promoting that. The next book is called Mitzy Collins, a different kind of story and I’m about a third through having completed 56,000 words. When time allows I go back in there rereading and embellishing the script. I hurt to write again. When the Filming starts I get paid, and then is when I will be able to begin again.
I would hope to have completed telling Mitzy’s story by the end of this year. Then she will have a voice, and people will hear her.
Will you self-publish your new novel or will look for a traditional publishing?
I get on well with my Publisher and have now a ‘traditional’ agreement with him, whereby I have an editor, book agent and some marketing input. I have told him, that no matter what happens regarding bigger Publishing Houses, I will stay where I am. This I mean to do.