Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Rob Sinclair on My inspiration for the Enemy series

What is the Enemy series? Where did my inspiration for Carl Logan and the deadly plots he gets caught up in come from? These are the types of questions I’m frequently asked, but I struggle to answer clearly and succinctly. The thing is, when I first put fingers to keyboard to begin writing Dance with the Enemy - book one of the Enemy series - I didn’t have a grand master plan, fully laid out plots from books one to three. What I had in my head was really quite simple: I wanted to write a book. I’d told myself I could. I’d bet my wife I could. I just needed to figure out what the hell to write!

Together with the fact that I’d never trained in any shape or form to be a fiction writer and you could say my plan was incredibly ill-conceived! Luckily for me, the more I write, the more ideas for writing I seem to get! I’ve found that drafting is where my plots develop both in my head and on the page.

That said, I had to start somewhere and there are two key concepts I can point to that help explain how the series sprang to life:

     I.         I wanted an explosive opening. Something that would lure readers in, hook them from page one and show them what to expect. There are a handful of books and films, favourites of mine, that routinely spring to my mind that I think inspired this. The real-time beach landings in Steven Spielberg’s war epic Saving Private Ryan. The barnstorming armed robbery at the beginning of Michael Mann’s Heat. Movies, rather than books, but that was the concept for the all guns blazing kidnapping at the start of Dance with the Enemy that is still one of my favourite scenes from the series, and I’ve gone for similarly explosive starts to each book since.

   II.         The thriller genre is vast. There are so many Carl Logan equivalents that it would be impossible to truly make him 100% unique. But still I was determined to make him a character that to me felt different and fresh. Many of my favourite characters in this genre, James Bond being a classic example, appear almost indestructible in their creation and legend. I was determined to make Logan more human. I’m certainly not the first person to create a central hero who’s vulnerable and messed up, but for me it was important that Logan was more than just braun. So at the start of the series Logan is suffering with post-traumatic stress. He used to be the indestructible tough guy - a robotic operative - but now he’s struggling with that very image, struggling with the person he is and where he fits into the world. Logan is vulnerable. He makes mistakes. He gets things wrong. But he is human. And I think it is much easier to empathise with Logan’s plight given these flaws and given we know what he used to be.

So that was day one, you could say. But what I quickly realised with Logan was that I couldn’t do the character justice to complete his journey of recovery and redemption in just one book. And so the series was born. What has resulted are three books that each give the reader a glimpse of Carl Logan in a very different way.

Dance with the Enemy was all about Logan’s struggle with post-traumatic stress. It was Logan at his most raw with him trying to figure out his position in the world now that he’s human once more. And in the book we do see him recover some way.

Rise of the Enemy was all about getting inside Logan’s head. He’s stronger mentally than in Dance but has to deal with a whole new problem when his own people seemingly turn on him. Told in the first person, I wanted Rise to show readers what the world looks like to Carl Logan.

In Hunt for the Enemy Logan has emerged from the depths of despair. I wanted to show not just the similarities and contrasts between this new man and the mechanic operative of his past, but also how his earlier experiences as that operative - his training, the things he was asked to do - have led to where he is in Hunt: ostracised and on the run. A number of chapters of Hunt are flashbacks that give an in depth view of Logan’s past and I believe those chapters really help answer a lot of questions on the character, who he was, who he has become.

So is that the end for Carl Logan? Well, you'll just have to wait and see about that...

Hunt for the Enemy is due to be published on 11th February 2016

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