Incognito thriller author interview @duffythewriter

Khaled Talib talks about the writing experience

Hello. I am so glad to meet you. I’ve been in solitary for a quite a while. No, not in prison… just writing, that’s all. Between 2015 and 2016, I wrote two novels, one after another— non-stop. The first, Incognito, a Vatican thriller, tells the story of a fictional Pope’s kidnapping. It has been described as a “dark” thriller. The second, Gun Kiss, is due to be released by year end. It’s about a Hollywood movie star who gets kidnapped by a Mexican drug lord.  

Altogether, I have written three novels.  Honestly, I never expected to complete three novels. The question is, how did I manage the writing part? Imagination. By pretending to be in those environment that I write about and becoming those characters that I created. It’s a bit like method acting, but I’d like to describe this exercise as method writing.

And that is why I must come up to surface now. I’ve been alone for quite a while. Like someone marooned on a deserted island or stranded on some snowy mountain searching his way back to civilization. This is what happens when you’re a writer. You’re always alone during the process.

Writing a manuscript takes time and lots of discipline. Years ago, I watched an interview with suspense author, Mary Higgins Clark, who explained the solitary life of a writer.  The only consolation is that modern technology has given me the pleasure of being on social media. I can interact with my readers and fellow writers. This keeps me from being in complete darkness. Isn’t modern technology great?

I can’t possibly imagine living in a monastery, writing at night with just a burning candle. Though I must admit that more than often I get so absorbed with my stories that I spend hours and hours in my own train of thought typing away on the keyboard. It’s a bit like being on a slave ship; you row and row as the captain whips you from behind.  I’m not a masochist, but I do want to reach my destination quickly so that I can watch TV later. And then it’s back to the same routine tomorrow.  

Method Writing

Now don’t be spreading rumors about me. I haven’t reached the stage where I don’t shave or shower and avoid going for haircuts. I make it a policy each day even to iron my own clothes before I wear them. For that, I’m proud of myself. I’m deskbound, but I’m not a hermit. However, I must admit my reality is different from most people. If you’re a writer or an artist, you’ll understand. Go ask the Cheshire Cat to explain it to you if you still don’t get it.

For better health, I run… but not too far, just enough that I managed to sweat it out. If you spend hours each day at the desk, you really need to move. Otherwise you might end up looking like Jabba the Hutt. I run with music. No other way.

Am I superstitious? Do I perform a ritual before I write? I hate to disappoint you, but I don’t. No candles. No placing of photo frames at an angle. Nothing of that sort.  Just coffee to keep me company, that’s all. Maybe music in the background.

I can work under all kinds of conditions. Been through hell and back. Once, I lost my entire manuscript, and had to rely on memory to write it all over again. I didn’t scream, cry or lose my temper. So, yes, my computer is still alive and well. I took a deep breath, admit my own mistake for not saving a backup on a thumb drive and began the arduous task of reworking the story.

I have worked with noise pollution, children crying, and visits from the occasional insect (all kinds) who visit me through the window. Amazingly, my doctor says my blood pressure is normal. Imagine that.

But enough about me already. I want you to hear from you too. When I tell a story, I don’t want to be alone. I hate telling it from afar… I want you to sit close and have a great time by the campfire.  So, come by, take your place, and have some coffee with me. The fire is always burning. I’ll tell you a story. You know where to find me.

About Khaled Talib

Khaled Talib is the author of the political thriller, Smokescreen, and the recently published Vatican thriller, Incognito. His third thriller, Gun Kiss, will be published this year by Imajin Books. The author is a former magazine journalist with local and international exposure. He is a member of the UK Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers. He resides in Singapore.

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