The Intel: Dominic Ranger

Dominic Ranger’s thriller Midas is available now from Amazon. Here’s the blurb:

Unknown-4When a bankrupt and soon to be divorced Alan Marks visits an unremarkable ATM in Farnborough and discovers that, somehow, his bank card is the key to never-ending riches, he thinks his luck has finally changed. When he then meets the friendly and attractive Konstantina, it must be too good to be true?  But what starts as a fortunate turn of events, quickly spirals into sinister chaos that takes Alan on a journey he has no control over.

The First Independent Bank’s top fraud investigator, Garry McAllister, arrives at work to news that the impossible has happened. Someone has cracked an uncrackable and dangerous code and has created ‘Midas’, the key to unstoppable wealth. McAllister must use his skills as an ex-police detective to stop whoever this is before the public finds out and the banks hit a meltdown. But he is not the only one on the hunt for ‘Midas’…

I love finding out about how writers toil at the coal-face, and Dominic kindly agreed to be interviewed about how he gets those pesky words on the page.

What’s your writing process? What comes first, plot or character?

I get the plot idea first and then assemble the players in the game. Some characters initially emerge to fit the plot but can change or divert the action if they become interesting in themselves. But the story has to be the driving force for what I write. If you can hook the reader on the idea then everything else, I hope, falls into place.

Take us through a typical writing day for you?

I don’t write every day, but sometimes I wake up with a burning idea that has to written down immediately. This can be a new project or the continuation of a work in progress. I can write for about three hours maximum on the trot and then mental fatigue sets in.

Who are the authors you love, and why?

My favourite is Clive Cussler. His books have great yarns, superb plots and action; real page turners.

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve ever had to learn about writing?'Promote Me!' portrait

That sometimes I am not always right. Someone outside looking in on your work can be a good thing, despite it being hard to take. I took advice from other writers who said ‘put it away when it’s finished and leave it a month’. I didn’t see why. I do now. You need to get distance to see your work in the cold light of day and discover what stands up and what doesn’t.

How do you deal with feedback?

Very badly, unless it is praise. That is the old actor in me. Every criticism is personal.

How have your own experiences shaped your writing?

Every character in Midas is someone, or a combination of people that I have known. Every location I know. Only the plot and what the characters do is fiction.

Give me some advice about writing…

Be prepared to work hard. It sounds easy, writing. It isn’t, and it can become an obsession. Be prepared for both euphoria and heartbreak.

And what’s your best advice for an author looking to get into the marketplace…

Study the marketplace, and when you have, try not to give readers what everybody else has. I love Clive Cussler, but I can’t be the same.  No one will be the next Dan Brown. You have to be the next you.

What’s next for you?

Book two’s title is ‘Legacy’.

About the author:

Dominic Ranger is the pseudonym of Christopher Lillicrap, a former teacher, prolific writer and composer, who is best known as a children’s TV presenter in the 70s and 80s. Christopher has also worked with numerous police forces over the last twenty five years as a media consultant and has been an adviser on several high-profile cases, including the Millie Dowler murder in Surrey. It is this work which has inspired Midas. He’s still involved in writing for children and his educational series Numbertime gained the Royal Television Society Award for Best Educational Programme.

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