Author Ted Denton writes political, crime and action thriller books. Tight Lies is the first in a series featuring the Tom Hunter character. The second book, Hostile Takeover, is to be published in 2020.
Author Ted Denton was offered a bursary at an early age to serve as a commissioned officer within the British armed forces. Fascinated with both geo-political relations and bipartisan negotiation, Ted has engaged with international governments, political faculties and Non-Governmental-Organisations (NGOs).
Ted has forged an exciting career through his founding of a private international consultancy. He undertakes extensive global travel and exploration. Ted is passionate about writing, boxing and adventuring.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
When and where do you prefer to write?
‘I don’t follow a set pattern in terms of time and place for writing. I take the opportunity when it arises or when the mood strikes. Often on trains, aeroplanes, in foreign hotel rooms or in bars as much as anywhere else. I don’t need long to get started from where I left off and then I’m in a world of my own. Once I was writing in a bar in Denver, Colorado over a beer and a brawl kicked off all around me. Fists were flying, glasses and chairs were being hurled about and I just carried on. There wasn’t a call for me to get involved and I was engrossed with pouring out the words so I hardly noticed what was going down! The bar staff couldn’t quite believe it, but I’ve seen a lot worse.’
Do you have a certain ritual?
‘Writing for me is a burning passion. It’s about freedom. In so many forms of life you are encouraged to colour within the lines, stick to the conventions laid out by social norms that are inherited from people living in a world that has less and less bearing on our own. Creative writing smashes that apart. You start with a blank page and it can take you anywhere you want. I prefer to let the writing take me where it wants to go. I don’t restrict myself. This means that I write when the mood strikes me. It’s fairly undisciplined in that respect because my requirements to travel and engage in complex situations don’t allow for much structured time at a desk, but it’s more exciting that way. Somehow, I always manage to hit the agreed deadlines.
So, in terms of ritual I’m not particularly restrained or ‘O.C.D’ about things. However, because I end up writing in bars a fair bit I started to downing a shot of bourbon when I finished a chapter. I stuck with that, although obviously I have to plan my writing to ensure I’m not on the train or finishing off a chapter first thing in the morning!’
Is there a drink or any particular food that keeps you company while you write?
‘Obviously, I mentioned the bourbon shot! That keeps things interesting. Other than that, I drink a lot of coffee usually. When I’m writing I’m typically in a free-flow kind of state and pouring out the words fairly intensely. The coffee usually remains cold and undrunk besides me.
I prefer to write without food as I find it a distraction. I’m a passionate cook and a hearty eater, but I prefer to feast. The rest of the time I like to cruise along hungry. It keeps me sharp and I like the challenge of not being governed by meal times and needing to eat.’
What is your favourite book?
‘I’m a rapacious reader of boxing literature. Particularly historically based fact or fiction writing on the great vintage fights and fighters of by-gone eras. I own some incredible first editions and books that are over a hundred years old on the subject. I enjoy reading about the lifestyle and scene at that time. The characters and the shady deals. My favourite book is probably The Professional by W.C Heinz. It’s not an exciting book but something about its measured prose and depiction of the time and subject matter calms my soul. I would recommend The Killings of Stanley Ketchel, On Boxing by Joyce Carol Oates, The Harder They Fall, The Sweet Science.’
Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
‘I have a constant stream of ideas and concepts for books I would like to write. I intend to write a thriller centred around boxing for sure, but I’m also fascinated by organised crime which takes a pivotal place in the Tom Hunter books. In ‘Tight Lies’ Hunter battles against the Russian mafia – the Vory. In his next book ‘Hostile Takeover’ Hunter takes on the fiercesome Chinese Triad gangs.
Blending all that together and writing about an era I’m passionate about the glamorous 1950s-1960s American mobster period of mafia fight fixing, corruption and nightclub highlife would be a blast. I’ve already sketched out a killer plot-line so watch this space!’
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
‘The scenes and characters in the books do carry certain aspects from real life experiences. Not a single depiction though – often a blend of detail. I’ve been lucky to live an interesting life. I’ve travelled to over two thirds of the world’s countries and been in some exciting and dangerous situations. They’re full-on books but very personal. There is probably a piece of me across every word. Not sure that’s a particularly a sensible thing to admit though…!’
Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I do carry a notebook everywhere. I also keep one besides my bed and often wake up to write down all manner of socio-economic theories, concepts on life and plots for writing ideas. I’m not saying that they all make perfect sense when I reread them in the cold light of day!
I also often carry a tablet with me and try to grab time to write when I am travelling. I like to optimise my time effectively, so I’m not one for wasting downtime by watching movies or TV in general. I prefer to think, write or read.
Which genre do you not like at all?
I suppose it is less about a genre that I have an issue with and more about the pervasive subculture that has penetrated popular media in recent years. The cult of baseless celebrity seems to be directly aligned to the erosion of self-esteem in so many young people today. The emphasis on attaining happiness through instant fame or money without earning or probably deserving that, is in my view, to blame for the perniciously undermining self-worth and impacting mental health in so many who will never be able to achieve it due to the cards they have been dealt in life.
So, in short and to answer your question, the genre I do not like at all would have to be ghost written autobiographies of reality TV/ Instagram based celebrities. These people are often still far too young to have a work outlining their ‘journey’ produced and have basically achieved very little other than becoming ubiquitously available. They enter a position of fame and become fodder for an all-access hungry public, fuelled by an insatiable media machine, all ready to be chewed up and spat out.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Whether it be fact or thriller ‘faction’ it would be cool to unravel the underbelly of the glamorous life lived by Frank Sinatra and explore the manifold connections to celebrity, the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe and organised crime through mafia connections. Co-writing with Frank and digging up the real truth on so many crazy things happening at that time would be powerful stuff. I’d have to make sure he let me do it ’My Way’ though…!
If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I like to write about places I know and have visited. It’s affirming to be able to bring flashes of memory, feeling and sensory experience from a place you have been. It serves to provide a visual jumping off point for the reader and binds them into the text. If they can feel like they are actually there with the characters and what is happening at that time, then I have done my job as an author and helped to transport the reader through the power of their imagination.
I’m fascinated by different political regimes and, without trying to overstate its merit, do try to weave some information or insight on this into the books. Small pieces of detail and fact woven into the narrative can serve to shine a light about some of the lesser known, darker activities happening around some of the farther-flung reaches of the world. You just hope the readers find it compelling and a natural fit with the story.