Interview with thriller author James Quinn

I’m wrapping up this week
with author James Quinn and a
conversation about his espionage/spy thriller novel, A Game for Assassins.
James Quinn spent 15 years
in the secret world of covert operations, undercover investigations and
international security before turning his hand to writing.

He is trained in hand-to-hand combat and in the use of a variety of weaponry
including small edged weapons. He is also a crack pistol shot for CQB (Close
Quarter Battle) and many of his experiences he has incorporated into his works
of fiction.

He lives in the United Kingdom and travels extensively around the globe

Welcome, James. Please tell us about your current
The sequel to A Game for Assassins, Sentinel Five is
due to be released later this summer. It follows “Gorilla” Grant as he is sent
East to Asia on a bloody and brutal revenge operation.
What inspired you to write this book?
AGFA and its characters
have always been in the back of my mind, especially Gorilla Grant. He is the
very polar opposite of a James Bond. He is a working class spy instead of the
posh boy type espionage agent. I wanted to go back to the golden age of
espionage, the Cold War of the 1960’s, when gadgets and email and electronics
where not even on the radar of most intelligence operations. It was old school
Excerpt from A
Game for Assassins
short scene from the new spy thriller – A
Game For Assassins
– that introduces the anti-hero/spy Jack “Gorilla”
snorted. “Fuck you. Torture me all you want. You think this is the first time
I’ve been tied to a chair and tortured.”
not,” said Gorilla. “But this isn’t the first time I’ve tied someone to a chair
and interrogated them either, so on that score we are equal.” He was thinking
of his time spent with the forger in Belgium. But the one thing that Gorilla
was positive of was that, unlike the forger, this killer would not be walking
away safely and with a suitcase full of cash.
his role as faux KGB interrogator Gorilla had decided to use that oldest and
most dangerous of tactics first; honesty. Honesty to the subject, honesty about
his potential fate, honesty leaves the subject with no place to hide and no
manoeuvring room. It spells it out for him in stark detail. You are here. I am
here. These are the facts.
won’t tell you a thing you Russian pig,” said Gioradze, as the anger started to
rise in him.
frowned. “Oh, I believe that you
believe that. But there is one thing that I can tell you from experience and
that is everyone talks, everyone has a breaking point. You just have to find
the correct leverage. For some its pain, some people can’t handle pain. However,
in your case I think that you are such a tough man that you could withstand it,
of that I have no doubt.”
Georgian was breathing heavily now, gulping in a huge lungful of air, mentally
bracing himself for what was about to come.
people fear the danger that their loved ones might be targeted, but again not
applicable in your case,” Gorilla continued.
snorted with derision as if the thought of using another human being as
leverage over him would have succeeded.
knelt down so they were face to face. “What I think is that in your case it’s
simple. It’s Biology. It’s your own body. You are wounded, tired, under stress,
so you’re already weak, maybe even compliant, although you would never admit
that. No, the one thing that is going to let you down here is your own body.”
looked down at his mangled legs. For the first time the stunning realisation
that he was in pain, in a foreign country, isolated and about to be
interrogated by a Russian operative, hit him.
you really don’t remember me?” asked Gorilla, looking the man in the eye.
shook his head violently. “I fucking told you – No!”
brought his face closer so that they almost touched, nose to nose, and then
whispered through gritted teeth. “Well, I’m the “hitter” from Marseilles. I’m
back to haunt you, and you don’t look pleased to see me at all you miserable
What exciting story are you working on next?
Well, Sentinel Five is finished! Phew…so the next phase will be getting
all the production values into place, something that Miika and the team at
Creativia excel at. After that, and a small break, book 3 in the Gorilla Grant
action series will be next. This is, on a personal level, the book that I am
looking forward to the most. The story is already there in my head, just need
to dig it out, plus we have some fantastic characters for book 3, larger than
life in many ways.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hahaha!! I still don’t! People
ask me all the time “What’s it like to be a writer?” To be frank, I get
embarrassed about it all, like it’s not real. I mean to me I’m just a security
consultant that happens to write stories. But if I was pushed I would have to
say that it was when I got my first reviews for AGFA from people on the other
side of the world. It just blew my mind. Plus, when I got my first royalty
payment. I mean, that always helps…
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day
like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
I write when I have to….it
tends to come in machine gun bursts. Ideas float into my head about where the
story is heading and I have intense periods of writing. Then….nothing for a
while and then the process is repeated.
When I am not writing I
work as a security consultant where I get to do some of the things that happen
in my books. Personally I prefer writing about them than actually physically
doing them sometimes. Much safer.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I love the research phase
of planning a book, trying to get all the details correct. Plus because of my
job and the world I work in, I get to plan out and practice some of the action
and fight scenes to see how they would play out. It is both fun and helps with
the in your face descriptive writing for the book details.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh easy…a writer. Sounds
clichéd. But it’s true. I’m working hard at making that happen.
Anything additional you want to share with the
Just that I hope that they
enjoy A Game for Assassins and Sentinel Five and that they take Jack
“Gorilla” Grant to their hearts (even with his silenced S&W ’39 and
cut-throat razor). For me that is the biggest reward as a writer. Thank you. James

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