Interview with Alex Shaw by Robert Raker

RR: Where did you come up with idea for the character of Aidan Snow?
AS: The character of Aidan Snow is in part based on me. We’ve been to many of the same palaces and seen many of the same things. The major difference is that I was not in the SAS. I wanted Snow to be a bit different from the usual SAS type action heroes, he comes from a relatively privileged background – his parents were diplomats, and he attended international schools as a kid. I’m awful with names and when I wrote the first draft of ‘Hetman’ I used my initials for his name until I eventually settled on Aidan Snow.

RR: You spent 12 years writing “Hetman.” How did you keep yourself motivated for that period of time?
AS: I was writing on and off. There was a period of about a year when I wrote nothing at all. But I had to finish ‘Hetman’ in order to write anything else. I think in this time I was trying to prove to myself that I could write and trying to figure out how to complete a novel. I got more motivated the more I wrote and towards the end I was writing for perhaps ten hours a day.

RR: Were there times where you felt like giving up completing “Hetman?”
AS: No but I walked away, I had a hiatus but I didn’t give up.

RR: Did you work on the follow up “Cold Black” at the same time?

AS: I had a gap of about half a year and then I wrote ‘Cold Black’ in eighteen months.
What is the most difficult part of writing for you? The easiest?
The most difficult part for me is ignoring the myriad of daily distractions, but once I do the words arrive. I also find it difficult to choose names for characters. I don’t know if there is ever an easiest part.

RR: From the characters you have created who is your favorite?

AS: Unsurprisingly like all my main characters but the one that I have the most fun writing is Dudka the grumpy old Ukrainian SBU (KGB) director. He gives me a chance to be sarcastic, witty and laconic in a way that readers have told me they really enjoy. I plan to write a full length Dudka novel but as a start I have given him a shorty story: Kyiv Rules

RR: What was it like working in business development in the former USSR, Africa and the Middle East?
AS: Travelling to countries that I would never choose to as a tourist was certainly interesting and working with clients from a vast array of cultures really opened up my eyes. A lot of my experience of the Middle East appears in ‘Cold Black’, but some bits I haven’t used yet such as being smuggled through a Hezbollah checkpoint in Lebanon and then being shown the place where Terry Waite was kidnapped.

RR: What is your favorite genre to read?
AS: Espionage and Action Thriller

RR: Who are some of your favorite authors?
AS: Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, Lee Child, Alex Berenson, Chris Ryan and Stephen Leather.

RR: What’s new for Alex Shaw?
AS: I’ve just signed a Publishing agreement with ‘Endeavour Press’. They will be commercially re-publishing ‘Cold Black’ at the end of July and then all being well the third Aidan Snow thriller in October. I’ve also just been accepted by the ITW (International Thriller Writers association) as an active member, Lee Child sent me a welcome letter!

RR: If I haven’t read your books what should I read first?
AS: I’d say start with ‘Hetman: Hard Kill’. It’s a prequel to ‘Hetman’ and is a short story showing Aidan Snow as a young SAS trooper and how he first met Paddy Fox. It’s only $1.30/£0.77 on Kindle.

‘Delta Force Vampire: Insurgency’ is the first in another series I have written and is a military horror (so a new departure for me).

You can follow Alex Shaw on twitter: @alexshawhetman, Visit him on Facebook and see his Amazon authors page here: