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Start McDermott, Andy

McDermott, Andy



Andy McDermott hat sich seit erscheinen seines internationalen Bestsellers "The Hunt for Atlantis / Die Jagd nach Atlantis" zur fixen Größe im Genre des Abenteuer-Action-Thrillers neben Clive Cussler, James Rollins und Matthew Reilly entwickelt.

 

Seine Action-Abenteuer rund um das Paar Nina Wilde und Eddie Chase gehen mittlerweile bereits in die 9. Runde und bieten stets überaus rasanten Action-Thrill rund um eine Abenteuerstory vor exotischer Kullisse, dem Hintergrund einer verlorenen Legende oder eines bekannten Mythos, kombiniert mit einer Verschwörungsstory.

Für alle Liebhaber von "Indiana Jones", "James Bond" und "Die Hard" ein garantiertes Lesevergnügen.

Interview mit Andy McDermott:

 

 

Q: Andy, you have just had your first big bestseller with "The hunt for Atlantis", an extremely fast-paced, high-octane action-adventure introducing Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase in 2009 or 2008 and now you are already in the process of publishing your 6th book. Did it all go that fast for you yourself or was the process behind the curtains much longer than it appears for the readers?

I wrote The Hunt For Atlantis in early 2006, and it was bought by Headline at the end of that year - but it wasn't published (in hardback and trade paperback) until the end of 2007. I'm from a magazine publishing background, where you're never more than four weeks from a new issue hitting the shelves, so when I first moved into book publishing it seemed glacially slow. But what I've since found is that when things happen, they happen *fast*. My first contract was signed after just one afternoon of frenzied phone calls, made all the more nerve-racking because I'd agreed to feed a friend's cat while she was away, and forgot to take my phone with me... so when I got back home, I had several increasingly urgent messages waiting about the state of negotiations and a deadline to make a decision that was only ten minutes away! (I said "yes!", obviously...)

Q: Usually a writer does one book a year, you seem to be much more productive. How does that work and will you keep the pace?


Until now I've done two books a year, but I had an advantage to begin with because of the long lead time before The Hunt For Atlantis was published, during which I wrote The Tomb Of Hercules and started planning The Secret Of Excalibur. The longer I've gone on, the shorter the lead times have become. The Wilde/Chase books are big, complicated affairs to research, plan and write, so at the moment my publishers and I are looking for the best way to spread things out to give me a bit more breathing room. I'd like to keep doing two books a year, though.

Q: What got you into writing these kind of adventure novels? You have been working for movie and DVD magazines has your love for movies influenced you in any way to write novels?

I wrote The Hunt For Atlantis simply because I wanted to create "the ultimate adventure thriller" - I'd been disappointed by some novels (mentioning no names!) that promised tremendous excitement but failed to deliver, usually because they either became wrapped up in showing off the author's research rather than advancing the story, or because the action was too brief and too mundane. My idea of action is what you'd get from Steven Spielberg or James Cameron or a James Bond movie - huge, epic stuff! That was what I wanted to capture in the books, the kind of rush and roller coaster exhilaration you get from watching Bond or Indiana Jones or Jason Bourne on the big screen, or doing a DVD marathon of 24.
Q: What are your favourite movies or movie genres?
Action is obviously high on the list! If I put together a 'top ten movies' list, more than half of them would have at least one foot in the action genre. Aliens is my all-time favourite movie.

Q: What do you think brought the success of your "Hunt for Atlantis"? Was it the adventure and action or the "Atlantis"-topic drawing the attention of potential readers?

I honestly don't know; it's not as though it was the first Atlantis-themed adventure novel around! Atlantis is a legend that everybody has heard of and there is still a lot of interest in, of course, and I think that it being far more action-oriented than all the Dan Brown-style religious conspiracy books on the market also made a difference. My influences were unashamedly filmic; I wanted it to be a summer blockbuster movie in book form. The lead characters probably helped make it stand out, too - Nina and Eddie aren't the usual perfect, infallible superheroes found in these kind of stories. There's also a lot of humour. I wouldn't go so far to say that my stories are actually tongue-in-cheek, but I certainly try to get in as many laughs as I can. I think an adventure should be *fun*, not grim and dark and depressing, and readers seem to respond well to that feeling.

Q: "Atlantis" seems to be fascinating for centuries and still there is some adventure-thrillers covering Atlantis on the market. Clive Cussler has done on or David Gibbins. What got you hooked to Atlantis and what do you think is still so fascinanting about that topic?


I've had a casual interest in Atlantis, the legend, ever since I was a kid. When I was working as a journalist I had the opportunity to write a magazine article about all the different theories of its possible location, which meant doing quite a lot of research, and at the time I thought it would make a great background to an adventure story. So ten years later, when I decided that I wanted to write the ultimate adventure thriller, the hunt for Atlantis was the obvious subject!

Peoples' fascination with Atlantis I think comes from the appeal of the idea that we don't know everything, that there are still incredible treasures and lost wonders hiding in the world waiting to be discovered - and that we could be the ones who find them. Or if we can't ourselves, we can at least hitch a ride with those who can, people like Indiana Jones or Dirk Pitt... or Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase.

 

Q: All your books deal with great archeologic treasure-hunts and secret societies and conspiracies around these things. How do you come up with the ideas to new books covering these topics?
Good question, and I don't really have an answer! Sometimes the ideas are ones I've had bubbling away at the back of my mind for ages - like The Hunt For Atlantis or The Covenant Of Genesis - and I start at the end, so to speak: how do the heroes make this discovery, and what exciting things happen to them along the way? Other times, I start with literally nothing and just play with various possible legends, settings and action sequences until a story takes form. The biggest problem I've had as the series has gone on is that I've already used up some of the world's most famous ancient legends, like Atlantis or Excalibur. The low-hanging fruit has gone, so I have to work harder each time.

Q: What´s more fun for yourself. Writing the story and action or developing the idea and story and doing the research?

The planning stages are usually more enjoyable, because anything goes - I can come up with whatever crazy ideas I like, and gradually have to winnow them down into manageable plots. Research is also fun because it can give me ideas that I otherwise would never have thought of. The entire premise of my second book, The Tomb Of Hercules, came out of some background research for Atlantis, where I read somewhere that Hercules was unusual in Greek mythology in not having a tomb dedicated to him. One "What if...?" moment later, and I had my next story!

Because the books are so big, the actual process of writing can become a bit of a trudge at times. I plan out everything in quite a lot of detail beforehand, so I always know what's going to happen next, but working solidly seven days a week for seven weeks and still not being near the end, as has happened on more than one novel, can wear away at my enthusiasm a little. But things always look better after the first revision. Realising that I can replace entire chapters with one line of exposition, and then crossing out a dozen pages with a flourish of my red pen, is very theraputic.

Q: How difficult was it to get your first book sold and published?

Put it this way: The Hunt For Atlantis was the first novel of mine that was published, but the *ninth* novel I'd written! Apart from a couple of half-hearted attempts in the mid-Nineties, I started writing novels probably in 1998 or '99 - I know it took a year and a half to complete the first one, sometime in 2000. That was far too long, I decided (and in hindsight the book was terrible), so I came up with a much more organised way of working. When I came to write my second novel, it only took a *month* and a half - and it was a much better story. After that, since I knew I could write that quickly, I kept at it. By 2004, I was confident enough in my writing to take the very risky step of quitting my job to write full-time... or at least until I ran out of money!

So I kept writing more novels, in various different genres, and trying to arouse interest in them. Eventually (after sending out a *lot* of samples), an agent agreed to represent me based on an action-thriller I wrote. Even then, though, it still took a long time before I made a sale. The novel my agent liked didn't actually sell, in large part because a movie with a similar premise came out around the same time he was sending it to publishers - and was an enormous flop! That didn't help my story's chances. But because I'd kept on writing other novels in the meantime, he knew I was determined to succeed - and as soon as he read The Hunt For Atlantis, he told me, "This will sell." And he was right; Headline snapped it up within days of him putting it on the market.

Which was a great relief, as I was *very* close to running out of money and having to look for another job...

Q: Where did you have your first success was in in your UK-homemarket or the U.S.?

The UK was where I had my first success, with Australia and mainland Europe following soon after. It took another two years for The Hunt For Atlantis to be published in the US, although as they're releasing the books in pairs they're quickly catching up.

Q: Your books would make great action- and adventure movies. Ever been approached?

A number of producers have expressed interest, but so far nobody's stepped up and bought the movie rights to any of my books. I think it's possibly because they would be enormously expensive to film! But I live in hope.

Q: You are also "twittering". How important do you think are these online activities to market books nowadays?

Marketing in general has become a big deal for authors these days, because there are so many books being published every week that you need to make some noise in order to be noticed. I'm not a natural extrovert, so while I've done live interviews, I find them quite stressful because I'm constantly worried about saying something dumb, or worse still, not having anything to say at all! So online activities like Twitter or my own website have the advantage of being text-based, which as a writer is obviously the medium I'm most comfortable in. They may not be as high-profile as a media interview, but they're always there - you're not relying on people happening to catch the five minutes you were on air to get the message across.

Q: How involved are you in marketing your books? Is there a difference in international markets (you have been translated to 25+ languages)?

I try to make myself as available as possible for promotional activities (interviews, signings and so on), but in the UK at least Headline's marketing department does most of the work, and a great job they've done of it! With the international markets, I haven't been as involved - I went to Paris to promote the French edition, and have done phone interviews in the States, but sadly to date I haven't been asked to fly to any exotic locations to push the foreign editions...

Q: What can we await next from Andy McDermott? Will there be more Wilde/Chase - adventures or are you going to develop a new series next? What can you tell us about your next projects?

I'm contracted to write eight Wilde/Chase novels in all; at the time of writing I've just delivered #6, so there are two more still to come. After that, I don't know. I enjoy writing the stories about Nina and Eddie, but at the same time I have all kinds of ideas for other stories that don't involve them, so really it's up to my publishers. If they want more Wilde/Chase novels I'm very happy with that, but I wouldn't object to trying something new either.

Q: One of the main topics of my thriller-guids are spy-thrillers. Ever thought of writing something in that area (partly your books are touching it anyway...)?

I actually have some espionage-themed thrillers in the "unpublished novels" folder on my laptop! I wrote one called Snakehead, about deep-cover US agents in China going rogue and starting a campaign of sabotage on a massive scale, with other US agents trying to stop them before they trigger a war. Another was called Scorpion, about an NSA analyst who accidentally uncovers a conspiracy to overthrow a Middle Eastern government. Some story elements ended up being used in the Wilde/Chase series (I don't like to waste my research!), so I wouldn't be able to resurrect them without a lot of rewriting, but it's definitely a genre I enjoyed writing.

Q: What does Andy McDermott read himself (for fun not for reasearch)? Are there any writers that might have influenced you to write yourself?

The writers who've most influenced me and made me want to write for a living myself are Alistair MacLean, Isaac Asimov, William Gibson, Iain M Banks, Craig Thomas and Tom Clancy (his early books, at least, before they became all about him pushing his politics!). Ian Fleming is also on the list, though my stories are influenced far more by the Bond movies than the books...

Authors I've been reading recently are people like James Rollins, Matthew Reilly and Scott Mariani. In a way I'm checking out the "competition", but I also enjoy them!

 

Bibliographie:

 

2008/2009: Die Jagd nach Atlantis / The Hunt for Atlantis

2009/2011: Das Grab des Herkules / The Tomb of Herkules

2010: The Secret of Excalibur

2010: The Covenant of Genesis

2010: The Cult of Osiris

2011: The Sacred Vault

2011: Empire of Gold

2012: Return to Atlantis