I am delighted to have author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’ and ‘The Detriment’, David Videcette, back for a visit today. So much so, he’s actually taking over The Writing Garnet today, as all of the blog posts published will be about him and his books -puts feet up-.
If you’re aware of David Videcette’s background, you’ll know that he is incredibly clued up on interrogation. So, instead of putting Mr Videcette to work and allowing him to interrogate TWG, I turned the tables and interrogated him instead!
I am SO excited about this interview it’s unreal, I got to interrogate the main man!
We had a good chat…hopefully I didn’t scare him off too much! Enjoy folks!
- Hi David, thanks so much for agreeing to a TWG interrogation!
Thank you for having me back on The Writing Garnet, Kaisha!
- Huge congratulations on the success of your first novel, The Theseus Paradox! Were you expecting the book to be received as well as that when you published it?
To be honest, no. The Theseus Paradox is based on a real-life case I worked on as a detective for many years. The book takes its name from Operation Theseus, which was the police investigation into the 7/7 London bombings. It’s a case very dear to my heart, and one which took over my life. I wrote my thriller exactly how I wanted it. The original manuscript was read by all the major publishers who wanted me to alter the story to make fit whatever gap they had in their particular publishing list at the time, which I wasn’t prepared to do. Some of the publishers felt that I needed to make my main protagonist more likable, and tone down some of his wilder habits. One even wanted me to make it into a love story rather than a thriller. They said the book wouldn’t sell unless I changed various elements.
I guess all the conflicting voices condition you into thinking it won’t do very well, but the reality is – it’s been amazing. I’m glad I stood my ground and persevered with it. It’s a very personal, warts-and-all tale, which I suppose is why I didn’t want to sugar coat it. And I believe that readers respect the honesty, authenticity and integrity of it. They know it’s as close to crime fact as crime fiction ever gets.
- David, some of my eagle-eyed readers may be wondering why they recognise your name from television, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself, and your background?
As a police detective with twenty years’ service, much of which was spent in specialist operations and counter units, I’m often asked to commentate on policing and terror operations for television and radio. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with Crimewatch, The Bill and a couple of TV documentaries over the years. On one police show for the BBC, I was followed by a camera crew every day for a year. People do sometimes say they’ve spotted me on the telly and moan at me if I’ve not go a suit and tie on!
- I’ve noticed that your novels are also helping a rather special charity; the Police Dependants’ Trust. Could you tell us how your novels can make a difference for that particular charity, and why?
Sales and downloads of The Theseus Paradox and The Detriment are supporting the National Welfare Contingency Fund which helps police officers who have been involved in a major incident such as a terrorist attack. The fund will provide assistance with personal care plans, welfare support officers and talking therapies – enabling officers and their families to better deal with the aftermath of a traumatic national incident.
There is a perception that police officers and emergency service personnel as a whole are immune to the events they have to deal with at work. Their mental wellbeing is often overlooked. Historically, post-traumatic stress disorder has been more commonly associated with combat veterans and sadly, there are few places that police officers can turn if they fall into crisis. That’s why the help that the Police Dependants’ Trust offers is so incredibly important and I’m very proud to support their work through sales of my crime thrillers. So please buy a book or donate directly to the PDT here!
- Your new novel, The Detriment (published 29th June), is such an addictive read; how important was it to you to base events on real life situations/events?
I like to write what I know and know what I write, particularly around cases I’ve been involved in personally over the years. For the foreseeable future my books will always be based on real events. I try to immerse the reader in the investigation, as if they were there as a detective trying to solve each case. The reader gets the clues about what’s going on, just as I would as a police officer in real life. I enjoy providing an insider’s perspective and new insights into cases we all remember having seen on the news.
- In case anyone is wondering, can ‘The Detriment’ be read as a standalone, or is it advisable to have read ‘The Theseus Paradox’ beforehand?
Detective Jake Flannagan’s journey in this series begins in 2005 with the 7/7 London bombings, and then moves onto the next major terrorist attack on home soil – the burning Jeep attack on Glasgow Airport attack in summer 2007. Chronologically and in terms of Jake’s relationships, it’s much better to read the books in order. Start with book one, The Theseus Paradox, and then read book two, The Detriment, as they are intended to be a series.
- Jake Flannagan, what a character! Without landing yourself in any hot water, yet still being as honest as you can, was Jake based on a real person?
Let’s put it this way – I do all my own stunts…
TWG – well that’s one way to get the ladies to swoon!
– Have you ever found it difficult, whilst writing your novels, to differentiate between what’s real life and what’s made up? I mean, you have the knowledge to write 100% truth, why didn’t you?
I did set out to write an autobiographical, non-fiction book. However, the Official Secrets Act forbids me from actually writing a factual book. But what the law can’t do, is interfere with my artistic rights. So if I write something and say its fiction, then I don’t break any rules or any laws. The question is, how much of it is fiction? There are very few people who know the answer to that question, (even my editor!) and I leave it up to the readers to decide for him or herself…
- What made you decide to make such a drastic career change, has it always been a dream of yours to write novels?
I used to read a lot of crime fiction as a police officer and I watch a lot of films. Often I’d see glaring mistakes in police procedure, in the plots – or know that things couldn’t happen in the way that they were being portrayed. This would pull me right out of the story and spoil my enjoyment. I guess for a lot of police officers or those in the emergency services, reading crime fiction is like taking a busman’s holiday. One of the reasons I have quite enjoyed writing books, is to cater to people like me. They say write what you want to read. I wanted to create a series that was so close to the truth, people couldn’t differentiate.
- Not being rude or anything, Mr V, but I can’t quite see you penning a women’s fiction type novel in the future. That said, do you think you could write for a completely different genre? Show people your softer side maybe?
Not many people know this, (*Writing Garnet exclusive reveal*) but many years before I started writing books, I wrote a dating blog, which was very popular with female readers. My books do look at relationships, their dynamics, how these impact upon your life – so I do have a softer side, and I can alter my writing style to suit different audiences. But I love writing about crime and terrorism, so you won’t see me popping up on the women’s fiction, chick-lit or romance shelves just yet!
TWG – where can we see this dating blog? 😉
– Which authors, if any, did you look up to as a child? Any favourite books from your childhood?
Danny The Champion of the World was my favourite book as a child. And it’s possibly responsible for my love of writing because I won a competition to meet the author, Roald Dahl. It was the first time I had read a book as a child where good people do bad things. I remember Roald making me feel completely at ease when I met him – so much so that it didn’t seem a big deal at all. I guess I have always had this experience in the back of my mind – never forget who your fans are!
– If you could put your name as the author of any book that has already been published; which one would it be and why?
Andy McNab’s Bravo Two Zero – it put fact/fiction crossover books back on the map and it shows that things in real life don’t always go according to plan!
– As an author of detective thrillers, how do you manage to switch off, especially as you’re reliving certain events?
I enjoy spending time with my girls, just doing the regular dad stuff like shopping, taxi driving or even the dreaded DIY! To really switch off, I love to watch films. It gives me an opportunity to empty my mind, and fill it with new stuff! I’m also a big fan of London’s fabulous museums and art galleries and will try to regularly catch whatever new exhibitions are showing when I can.
- What is an average day for you (aside from showing your legs on social media)?
A typical day for me starts at 5.30am. Alongside my writing, I work as a security consultant for high-net-worth individuals based in central London, so much of time is spent trying to keep them safe from harm. I also regularly field calls from crime journalists asking for insights or opinion about this or that case, or asking me to write something for their newspaper or website. In the evening I might visit a radio or television studio to do interviews, or try to grab some downtime to write a scene for my latest book. I get home most days at 9pm, apart from the days I’m on after-school club pick-up duty!
- What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a writer, with the aim of becoming published?
Look at the writing and publishing process as a series of small steps, because it can seem daunting at first. Keep putting one foot in front of another to get to the next destination, and don’t ever give up.
– Saving the best question until last so don’t let me down Mr.V! Will there be a third book? If so, when? I hate odd numbers so if there will be a third, will there also be a fourth? Do you have any exclusives for TWG? What do you have up your sleeve for the future?
There will be a third, fourth and many more books! I’m currently writing book three which has a much more international element to it and sees Jake working abroad just a short time after we leave him in The Detriment. I’m also working on a non-fiction investigation into a real-life unsolved crime which may turn into a book or a documentary. And I’d love to write a couple of prequels with Jake. I’ve got plenty up my sleeve, don’t you worry!
Thank you so much for answering all of my questions! It has been a pleasure to have you back on TWG!
It’s been lovely to chat to you, Kaisha.
Thanks for inviting me.
“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”
June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.
From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.
We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…
If you’d like the chance to win a signed copy of David’s latest release, you can enter your email address here, and you’ll go into the hat each time he has a new book out.
Note from TWG.
Big thank you to, David Videcette, for taking the time out of his schedule to allow me to interrogate him! Absolutely fantastic! Stay tuned though as later on today, David Videcette returns to TWG (indirectly) as I review his new novel, ‘The Detriment’.