In the latest round of interviews, I’m delighted to welcome David Videcette to the stage. David is a Scotland Yard detective turned author. His debut novel, The Theseus Paradox, is based on true events surrounding the 7/7 London bombings. David was on the scene that day, and as the novel’s tag-line says, ‘He can’t tell you the truth, but he can tell you a story’!
Operation Theseus, the police investigation into the London bombings, was an incredible operation to have worked on as a detective. The bombings were the start of the most amazing and tragic journey and an investigation that lasted five years. Having to relive that moment over and over again and share the pain and anguish of those families that had lost loved ones was not something that I would wish on anyone, but in the years that followed, I was thrust into the world of spies and espionage. They were the most harrowing times you could ever imagine, but they also gave me the opportunity to be involved in the biggest investigation this country has ever seen and work alongside the Security Services, (MI5 and MI6).
At the time, I knew that we hadn’t ever gotten to the bottom of what had really gone on. As the years have passed and I came across new information - I began to piece together more and more material with which to tell my story. I felt it was an important tale, part of our cultural history - and one that needed to be documented. But The Theseus Paradox is just the very start. I'm really looking forward to sharing the next instalment.
Do you write full-time or part-time, and what is a typical day at the keyboard?
I’m currently based in London and work as a security consultant for high-net-worth individuals. I also commentate on policing, crime and terrorism for newspapers, TV and radio. One day can be really busy, the next day quiet, so I fit things around my schedule (and more importantly that of my kids!) I write wherever and whenever I can. Sometimes I write simply sitting in the car, using the notepad on my phone. I’m a very emotional writer and my mood has to be right for me to be able to stick some words down on the page. I’m not very good at having set times to do it; I simply do it when the mood takes me.
What does your family think of your writing?
I’ve written blogs and articles before, but when I first started writing The Theseus Paradox I didn’t tell many people, including members of my family, that I was writing a book. It’s taken many of them by surprise. There’s obviously lots of me in there - the way I think and some awful truths in the book. So, it was a little scary letting them read it. But the reaction has been really positive. They all love the book and love what I’m doing. Sometimes they don’t like the character names I’ve picked though, and ask to be called something else...
What is the hardest thing about writing?
I find the actual writing incredibly easy. I write really fast. My problem is that I refuse to commit ideas to paper that are not immaculately researched. The research behind my writing is what takes me the time - that’s my demon, that's the hard part. I won’t make things up. I have to know that what I’m writing is based in truth. It’s a little like solving a case in some respects.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m very animated when I write. I talk a lot to myself, laugh a lot and sometimes even cry. My editor says it’s like watching a ‘Punch & Judy’ show where I play all the puppets. I’d Imagine it would look incredible if it was ever caught on video! But I hope it’s not.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I enjoy being active on social media and interacting with many different people - and yes, it’s great to get feedback from readers, bloggers and fans. I hadn’t given much thought to it before I wrote a book. I just thought I’d write it to get the information down on paper before it was lost forever (or I was too senile to remember any of it!) and partly as a cathartic exercise for myself. But having released it, hearing from readers that love what you’ve written - that truly is an amazing feeling and something that I honestly didn’t really anticipate. I’m delighted when readers say it’s opened their eyes to new things.
The funniest thing is when readers have difficulty separating me from the fictional character in the book. I often get called ‘Jake’. I imagine it’s how actors on television feel!
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I want to document the workings and theories behind many other of the big investigations I’ve been involved with. There is so much more knowledge I want to share with readers. If people only knew half of this stuff...
If I can just get all these stories down on paper and out there before I die, I will be happy!
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Don’t sit there, in front of your PC or where ever you write, expecting writer's block to disappear on its own. It won’t. Your mind is like a sponge. If it's empty, you’re never going to get anything out of it. Go and fill it up with something. Watch a film, read a book, go for a walk and see something, listen to some music to fill your mind with something, anything. Then come back and squeeze the sponge.
If you could collaborate with the author of your choice, who would it be?
I bet JK Rowling and I could write an amazing series of books about a time-travelling detective. Or Patricia Cornwell, I’d really change the Kay Scarpetta series with her. Ian Rankin, I’d get Rebus out of his comfort zone, drag him to London, that might be fun.
Where can we find your books?
The Theseus Paradox is available to buy for Kindle or in paperback at Amazon, through Waterstones online or by asking in store. It’s also available at Blackwell’s Bookshop online or via The Book Depository. Or you can get a personalised, signed paperback via my website here.
Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, Alan. It’s been an absolute pleasure answering your questions.
David’s debut thriller, The Theseus Paradox, was voted in the top ten books of the year by five independent review websites. It became a number one bestseller in its Amazon category within a month of launch and the truth behind the fiction has since been investigated by The Sunday Telegraph, The Mirror, The Sun, Sky and ITV News. His second thriller will be out at the end of the year.
You can connect with David Videcette via: