Interview with Headhunters author Charlie Cole
Good afternoon, friends! I have a very special friend joining me in the bar today! Mr. Charlie Cole has bellied up to the bar to talk about his debut novel, Headhunters. But I have to say the best part of this interview, besides the company of good friends, is the dark stout with its frothy head peaking just above the rim of the 20-ounce tulip pint glass… sigh Sorry, I get a little dreamy when it comes to my Guinness. That’s right, ladies and gents, one of the reasons I like Charlie so much is because he understands that when it comes to beer, Guinness is second to none. So, pull up a bar stool, grab a pint and enjoy the conversation!
KD: Where did the inspiration for Headhunters come from?
CC: I’ve been a professional headhunter recruiting talent for big companies for the past 15 years. That part was easy. That’s the day job. But before that I was a licensed private investigator and it always interested me how those lines could blur. I mean in both jobs I was paid to find information that wasn’t readily available. As a headhunter, I collected competitive intelligence on other companies. I always thought that would be an interesting topic for a book. I’ve also been fascinated with the idea of Private Military Companies like Blackwater (later changed its name to Xe and now Academi) who took a uniquely government function of military units and privatized it with civilians. So, the next logical question was what if someone decided to do that with the intelligence agencies like the CIA or NSA?
KD: What attracted you to the thriller/suspense genre? What makes a good thriller/suspense?
CC: I think the thing that brought me to thrillers and keeps me there is the pacing. There’s a pacing to the story that keeps me focused and, if it’s written well, there’s a pacing to writing that keeps me glued to the page. A lot of it is in the turn of phrase. You could describe a chase as a very clinical process or you could amp up the language and the description and actually draw character development from it. That’s where I want to be. Every good book on writing that I’ve read says that stories need more conflict. We don’t read tales that exist in the happily ever after. We read them in the “oh crap, what do we do now?”
KD: There is a lot of weapon knowledge, specialized training techniques and government information throughout your book, how did you conduct your research? Or are you a spy… if you’re a spy wink twice and spin a circle and your secret is safe with me and my three blog followers.
CC: I’m winking so fast that I’m either sending Morse code or having a fainting spell. No, not a spy, afraid not. I grew up around a family that loved recreational shooting. It was always an area of interest for me and one that I had a talent for. In terms of research, I tried to delve into more of the operational manuals for the CIA and MI-6 than reading someone else’s fiction. Using fiction for factual research is like the worst game of “Telephone” ever. Things just get worse the further you go. But there’s plenty of books on the training and operational techniques of intelligence agencies.
KD: What’s your weapon of choice?
CC: I own a SIG Sauer P226. It’s a 9mm handgun. I have big hands and it just fits mine perfectly. Love it. I also carry a Kershaw Blur pocket knife. Never leave home without it.
KD: Many thriller/suspense exclude sex scenes opting to skip right to the morning after. You include several, and let me add hot and intense, sex scenes. Why?
CC: I always found it frustrating when thriller writers skipped to the morning after. Not just because I wanted to read the “good parts” but because it was a cop out. If we’re willing to look at the horrible things that we do to one another, let’s not blink and look away at the good things. I think that’s the best way to put it. I didn’t want to look away.
KD: What was the hardest part to write?
CC: By far the hardest part to write was the death of Simon’s wife in the first chapter. I knew it was going to happen. Saw it coming. Still crushed me to actually write it. A very close second was the scene on the bridge. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s a turning point scene and more than a little gut-wrenching to write.
KD: Are there any characters that you identify with? Based on someone you know?
CC: Naturally, first book, I identified with Simon. Simply from the standpoint of a man going through changes in his life that he didn’t choose. And also that he knows there is a darker side to himself that he doesn’t want to embrace. There were a couple of other characters that had traits of people that I knew. The biggest one was Max. I’ll just say he was based on someone I worked for once.
KD: Do you write in any other genres? Have anything in the works?
CC: I’m currently working on a book called Suicide Doors which is my debut horror novel. It’s a ghost story wrapped around a 1965 Lincoln Continental. This is very much a tale for mature audiences, so if you liked the thrills and heat of “Headhunters”… there’s more where that came from.
KD: If you could go to a seminar given by a famous author who would it be? Would you be the creepy stalker guy and take the water glass he/she drank from when it was over?
CC: That’s just creepy that you would even think to steal their water glass…. I’m a little weirded out now… I definitely would like to meet Stephen King. Would I want to steal his notebook full of ideas? No. Buy him a coffee and talk for a bit? Hell yeah.
KD: Hey! Thinking isn’t doing… I’ve done nothing wrong. Anyway, if you could spend a weekend writing somewhere where would it be? Can I come?
I imagine when people hear this question, they think of exotic locations with palm trees and beaches or Paris or London. I don’t think I could write there. I think it would be inspirational, but I don’t think I could do production writing in a place where I’d rather be outside exploring the sites. For me, send me somewhere that I’m likely to get snowed in. I could write in Barrow, Alaska or the Stanley Hotel in Colorado or somewhere on the coast of Norway. Snow me in. Give me coffee. Let me write.
And can you come? Sure, I could always use someone to go to for help.
Thanks for stopping by the bar, Charlie! We wish you lots of book sales and look forward to your next book, Suicide Doors hitting our e-book shelves in the near future! Until then, I raise my Guinness to you, good sir!
Interested in winning your own copy of Headhunters?Well good news! You can still enter to win a copy of Headhunters by Charlie Cole one of two ways:
1) Leave a comment in the section below.
2) If you’re on Twitter and see me tweet about this post retweet me for your entry.
The winner will be announced this Friday, December 23rd and given a Smashwords coupon to use for their copy.
Until then, happy reading, friends!