Friday, August 17, 2012

No Remorse: An Interview with Author Ian Walkley

Dodging assassins, corrupt generals, evil medicos, Mossad agents, corrupt bureaucrats, and sharks . . .

Author Ian Walkley is back on tour with No Remorse--a thrilling novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Welcome Ian!

Tell us a little about yourself Ian!

I was born on the island of Tasmania, south of the Australian mainland, and raised in a small town where I ran amok in the bush when I wasn’t at school. But I always loved reading and one of my favorite books as a young boy was Wild Trek, by Jim Kjelgaard, about a boy and his dog lost in the American wilderness. My daughter has just spent six months in the US and has visited Montana and Wyoming. I’d like to spend some time in that part of the States when I get a chance.

I highly recommend Montana for a visit! Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?

I guess I always had the writing bug, but other priorities tended to get in the way (like earning a living!). I was a market and social researcher, and in 2008 with my three children grown up I sold my share and began writing seriously. It took me three years to learn how to finish a novel.

What is your favorite non-writing pastime?

I love playing tennis and golf, I enjoy reading and movies. I also love snow skiing, but don’t live in the right part of the world to be able to do it often enough to get good. I was skiing in Japan a couple years back and met an 83 year old Japanese man who told me he skied almost every day. So jealous!

Is writing a full-time career for you? If not, how else do you spend your work day?

I still need to earn a living, so I continue working as a marketing consultant. I tend to take on short term projects, so I can write as much as possible.

If you had to sum up No Remorse in 30 or less words, what would you say?

No Remorse is an unputdownable action thriller that you’d buy in an airport bookstore if you wanted something exciting but not too deep to read on a long flight.

What inspired the idea behind your book?

My writing heroes were Ludlum, Maclean, Wilbur Smith—action adventures, global conspiracies—so I naturally gravitated to thrillers. When I finally began writing seriously, in 2008, I had in mind writing a Ludlum-esque prologue about some mysterious happening, and weaving a story around it. I wondered what had happened to Saddam’s missing WMD’s, so I came up with the idea of Saddam passing nuclear materials to an old friend in Saudi Arabia just before the invasion.

However, over the three years I wrote, lots of things happened—everyone wanted to forget about Iraq, and more recently Bin Laden was killed. I kept re-writing the story to keep up with events.

In the end, I realized I needed to write a story that would not date. No Remorse became the story of a kidnap of two American teenage girls on holiday in Mexico, and the subsequent search for them by a former special operations soldier. What has remained is the theme of ‘no remorse’—achieving retribution against bad guys for what they have done to others.

Will you share with us a short preview of No Remorse?

The story follows Lee McCloud (Mac), an ex-soldier and Tally, a female computer genius, in the search for two teenage girls kidnapped in Mexico. They initially don’t want to work with each other because of past experiences, but after rescuing a woman being kidnapped in Dubai by the evil Sheik Khalid, they find themselves caught up in a global network of slave traders and terrorists, and a conspiracy from within that sees them as disposable in a much broader plot.

What is your favorite scene in No Remorse?

My favorite scene is one in the first class cabin on a long flight, where a (female) assassin armed with a ceramic stiletto climbs into the recliner seat of the hero (McCloud). It’s a lot of fun and I loved writing it. I almost cut it from the book, but I’m glad I didn’t. A reader at a recent book signing told me he thought it was one of his favorite scenes in any book.

What kind of research was involved for No Remorse?

There is a great deal of research into aspects of the book, such as settings like Paris and Dubai, and into some of the activities of the bad guys. For example I found that global human trafficking is a business rivaling drugs. And there are some terrible things happening with slavery and kidnapping. I also did a considerable amount of research into the whole corruption of the financial system, and the development of computer software that could be used in the way described in the book.

What has been your greatest pleasure in writing this book?

I’d have to say finishing it, and realizing it was the best story it could be. I spent so much time changing elements of the plot that it could have been a different story altogether. And I think this is vindicated by the excellent reviews I have received. I love it when a reader tells me how much she’s loved the book and asks when the sequel will be out!

What do you have in store next for your readers?

My next book, tentatively entitled BAIT, is a crime thriller about a vigilante blogger who goes to a country town in Australia to look after her dying husband, only to come face to face with a man she was in love with five years earlier (before she met her husband).

What type of hero do you like best?

I like a hero who is determined, but who is not perfect. He or she makes mistakes, errors of judgment, or is thrown into circumstances not of their choosing. I like the idea of pushing the envelope with moral choices, which I am attempting with my second book. Theory has it that the reader has to be able to respect the hero, despite their flaws. TV shows like The Shield and Dexter are examples of heroes with significant moral problems.

Is there any place and time in the world and in history that you would like to visit?

One of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid was Time Tunnel. I used to think how great it would be to write one of those scripts. I love the Wilbur Smith novels of 18th/19th Century Africa, and the era when Britain ruled the waves and brave men discovered the new world. Japan in the Shogun era. The US during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I tend to like action and suspense, but I get bored with mysteries that basically take up lots of pages with manipulated scenes designed to delay the revealing of the secret. Thrillers are basically about creating tension that makes the reader want to turn the page. And given many males particularly do not read fiction, I would like to write books that get men back reading again, while also appealing to female readers. I think the answer is short chapters, lots of action, and a mix of conflict, violence and sex. That is, a thriller.

Why did you choose to be an Indie writer and would you choose to self-publish again?

I would have preferred to be published in the traditional sense. But in Australia there are only about 12 agents, and all of them rejected me at various stages of my book. Some were not taking on new writers, some did not deal with thrillers, some had enough thriller writers, some didn’t like the plot of my book. I tried the US, and discovered that many aspiring writers were pitching stories that had some ex-soldier taking on bad guys. So it was hard to cut through. In the end, maybe I could have persisted but I didn’t want to wait another three years to be published, so I decided to take matters in my own hands. I would still prefer to be published in the traditional sense, provided the deal was good enough. You hear some bad stories about traditional publishing. Indie publishing too has its constraints in terms of lack of support and access to bookstores and media. The advantage of indie publishing is that nobody is forcing you to write something you don’t want to write. I spoke to one of the top selling thriller writers who said he was tired and sick of being pushed by his publishers in a certain direction. That is sad, I think, for any writer let alone one who doesn’t need the money any more.

The Book
Two men, exiles from their respective societies, take conflicting approaches in the quest to regain their place and self-respect, and find themselves at war over a kidnapped girl.

Lee McCloud (“Mac”), a special forces soldier facing trumped-up charges of murder, is forced to work for a mysterious government outfit operating outside the law.

Khalid Yubani, cast out of Saudi Arabia for an offence against another member of the Royal family, seeks revenge through ruthless acts of evil. Engaged in the worst forms of human trafficking, Khalid buys Sophia, the daughter of Mac’s best friend, who has been kidnapped in Mexico. With time running out for Sophia, Mac enlists the help of a beautiful computer genius, a British SAS soldier and a Lebanese fixer to try to find Sophia and save her from the terrifying fate that Khalid has in store.

Although starting the quest as a man with no remorse, Mac gradually discovers a side of himself that he suppressed after witnessing the abduction of his own sister years before.

Dodging assassins, corrupt generals, evil medicos, Mossad agents, corrupt bureaucrats, and sharks, Mac ignores the order to stay out of trouble and follows Sophia’s trail from Mexico to Paris, London and Dubai, and the island of Andaran, where Khalid and his henchmen are waiting…

An Excerpt

The long journey had been a nightmare, bouncing along in trucks and noisy cargo planes. First, they had thrown Sophia and Danni into the back of a truck filled with crates of vegetables, barely enough room to move, struggling to breathe in air that reeked like steamed cabbage. Crammed in with them were two others, Jeanette from Toronto, and Erika, from Sweden, who explained in stilted English that she was an exchange student, taken in Mexico City. Jeanette cried as she told them three men grabbed her as she was walking through the grounds of her hotel to the pool. The two bottles of water they’d been given were soon empty, and they sucked water from the lettuce leaves in one of the crates. Sophia tried to reassure the others, to talk her own confidence up. Air trickling in through a small ventilation grill couldn’t disperse the heat and fumes, and after a while Jeanette began to retch. The stench was revolting, and soon all four of them had emptied their stomachs into a plastic bucket they found in the corner.

"I'm so sorry, Sophe." Danni said, as the truck lumbered along. "I wish I'd never suggested we go shopping by ourselves."

Sophia shook her head and held Danni close and said words she was not so sure of herself. "They'll get us back, I'm sure of it." Still, she cursed herself for nagging their parents to let her and Danni go shopping. It should have been safe, only ten minutes from their hotel. But it wasn’t.

Visit Ian!

Ian will award a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so be sure to follow and comment from July 30th-Aug 24th!


  1. I remember watching TIME TUNNEL. It was wonderful. A perfect hero would be so totally unrealistic I think.


  2. Interesting that you were born in Tasmania. I grew up in Australia, a small town in New South Wales. Good luck with No Remorse and BAIT.

  3. Your book sounds great as does your work in progress. Your daughter chose a great area to visit in the States. Montana and Wyoming are both wonderful! I like your response about why you chose to write action and suspense and agree that a good thriller is so much more enjoyable with a standard mystery.

    Thank you for joining us today!

  4. I'll be curious to find out if you find any similarities to Tasmania in the ruggedness of Montana and Wyoming. All three places must be beautiful.


  5. Thanks MK for having me on your blogsite. Thanks everyone for your comments. Vitajex, no, I don't feel that Tasmania is similar to Montana or Wyoming. The mountains in Australia are not as spectacular as in the US, and the desert country is quite different too. Tasmania has lots of eucalypt forests, and its rugged country is probably more akin to Scottish highlands, I think. Certainly beautiful though! Cheers, Ian.

  6. Just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  7. Thanks for the author's interviews. It is too bad he can't write full time though hopefully with books that sounds this good he is on his way towards that