Q & A

Why did you write your first book?

Since I was a child, I wanted to write books. I started my first book at the age of 10, but gave it up after the first chapter. I discovered that it was very hard work to write a book, and needless to say, the project never got finished.

Since my high school years I have enjoyed a thriller that would keep me awake at night. I have read, or attempted to read, hundreds of thrillers since then and I have found less than ten percent of these books to be real “page-turners”. Many of them were so boring that I stopped reading them after the first few pages, and I have always felt that I could do better than most of those.

Feeling the uncontrollable urge to write, I tried to write again during my last year of school, and got to just over 100 pages before further studies and work started to eat up most of my time. Later in my life, I got the idea for a new book and started to work in my spare time, but I also discovered that I had to learn a lot more about the craft of writing. I furthermore realized that if I could have a piece of software to help me organize plot and aid in character development, it would benefit my writing efforts.

So, being a software developer, I wrote the software. Then I bit the bullet and actually finished the novel.

Where did you get the idea for your first thriller novel?

Around 1992, I read an article about nuclear material shipments to Japan from Europe, going past the west coast of South Africa. This brought up the question: what if someone hijacks this ship and steals the consignment of nuclear material? Who would do such a thing and what would they use the nuclear material for?

The second idea came from a non-fiction book about nuclear weapons developed in South Africa during the apartheid era and referred to weapons that may have been developed, but not have been declared to the world. The question came to me: what if these weapons of mass destruction have actually been developed? Could someone get access to them and use them for some sinister reason? This created the spark that provided me with the inspiration for my novel.

It took plenty more research before I could actually flesh out the novel, though.