This post first appeared on the Momentum Books blog.
You know, it’s with a deep sense of melancholy that I put pen to paper today while I reflect on the first twelve months of Hunter.
As any writer knows, much of our work is drawn from inspirations around us, people and things we know, admire or even in some cases despise. Of particular note for me today, I am remembering an actor whose portrayal of a tough, no-bullshit, hard hitting ex-soldier made such a lasting impression on me as a young man that his signature character eventually became the foundation for my principal protagonist, the tough, no-bullshit, hard hitting ex-soldier – Alex Morgan.
The actor I am talking about is Lewis Collins who played Bodie alongside Martin Shaw’s Doyle in that iconic British crime drama of the late 70’s/early 80s The Professionals. Lewis, a former Parachute Regiment reservist in real life, went on to play another incredible character, Captain Peter Skellern, in a film called Who Dares Wins in 1982 and also auditioned for James Bond after Roger Moore’s retirement. Unfortunately, the Bond producer’s found him to be ‘too aggressive’ and cast Pierce Brosnan instead. Bollocks, Personally, I would have much preferred Lewis Collins.
Sadly, I learned today that Lewis has died at the age of just 67 following a five year battle with cancer. So, in memory of Lewis Collins and the influence he had on my development of Alex Morgan I dedicate these few humble reflections on the first twelve months of Hunter.
A year ago today (pretty much), we pressed the green light for Hunter, the second Alex Morgan adventure.
Since then, both books – Defender & Hunter – have hit the best-seller lists, clocked up an encouraging 4.7 star average on Amazon US, UK and OZ, and my incredibly loyal readers – the ‘Defenders’ as we like to call them, have been hammering me over when book number 3 will be coming out. In addition, the film and TV rights to my Intrepid series have been optioned, I’ve been to Hollywood and London talking all things Morgan and Intrepid, I’ve spoken at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and the NSW Writers’ Centre, and I’m scheduled to appear at the Perth Writers Festival in 2014. There have been magazine articles, US radio interviews and even book signings on National Bookshop Day. Bloody hell, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m driving around in the latest model Aston Martin by now – complete with kids car seats for my two boys. Now, although we’re not quite there yet, I definitely feel like we’re heading in the right direction.
One thing I know for sure is that when you have a very clear view of what success looks like for you then you absolutely must remain committed to achieving it. At times, as with anything in life, various obstacles or distractions may get in your way or irritate you. The trick is not to become consumed by those things. The more I talk to other writers it is apparent that you just have to believe in your own work while supporting and encouraging others as they strive to achieve their personal goals. I have had the great pleasure of getting to know a number of incredibly talented Australian writers over the past year, including some of our own Momentum stars like Luke Preston, Nathan Farrugia and Kylie Scott. Everyone has their own journey to go on and it’s really been enlightening to share at least part of the trip with such incredibly supportive and talented colleagues.
The thing that has been most important to me has been building a strong team who share the vision I have for not only the Intrepid series but also an all new series I’ll be talking more about in 2014. Nothing ever happens overnight. There is inevitably a great deal of background and hard work behind every page and volume and, equally so, a great number of people behind the scenes who have been supporting and encouraging writers along the way. I have been blessed by an amazing team. I’m not going to single anyone out here but you all know who you are. Although, thank you doesn’t quite cut it. My gratitude is immeasurable.
Going forward, 2014 is going to be all about expanding the global reach of Alex Morgan and Intrepid. It’s a really exciting time and I couldn’t be more energised by it.
Meanwhile, I’d like to pay my greatest respect and thanks to my readers. If they say that in space no-one can hear you scream, the same could be imagined of a book that’s never picked up and therefore never read. Since the very beginning of this journey I’ve had some really hardcore supporters from around the world who have taken a chance on my work and, thankfully, loved it. I’m greatly indebted to everybody who has taken the time to pick up one of my books. It’s a real privilege for me to now be putting pen to paper on Morgan’s third and, to date, most challenging adventure, knowing that I have to surpass the expectations of those loyal readers who have been so vocal in their demands for me to finish it!
So, thank you everyone for joining in on the action over the past year. I’m so glad that you’ve enjoyed Hunter and, of course, Defender. I hope that they will remain favourites that you’ll pick up and re-read from time to time throughout your life.
Finally, thank you to Lewis Collins who, without knowing it, played such an important role in the creation, development and evolution on Alex Morgan.
I’m sure Bodie and Morgan would have been great mates and would have shared many a rowdy pint down at the Red Lion.
 As we all know, despite beginning principal photography for the film that would become The Living Daylights, Pierce Brosnan was subsequently obliged to step down from the role due to his commitments to Remington Steele. The Bond franchise people eventually re-cast Timothy Dalton whose – short lived – portrayal of Bond was considered by many to be ironically ‘too aggressive’.