Meet Charlie Flowers, one of the contributing authors to Twisted Tales, a new diverse-genre short story collection. Charlie is best known for his cliffhanger Riz Sabir thrillers and quirky personality. Here is your chance to meet him up close and just as personal as he choses.
ABOUT CHARLIE FLOWERS
Charlie Flowers was born in Eastern Europe sometime in the late Sixties and arrived with his family in Britain in 1975. After training as a journalist in London he had a varied career as reporter, roadie, truck driver and record label boss. In the late Nineties he formed two cult bands, and is currently an adviser on terrorism and extremism to certain departments and think tanks.
He is the author of the Rizwan Sabir thriller series, recounting the adventures of MOD investigator Riz Sabir and his other half Holly “Bang-Bang” Kirpachi, and their run-ins with Islamist terrorists, far-right extremists, gangsters, serial killers, and much more besides.
The first six novels in the Riz series are: Hard Kill, Danger Close, Kill Order, Battle Come Down, Murder Most Rural, and Banger. Charlie is published by Endeavour Press.
1. Hi, Charlie. What brought you into the writing world and when did that historic moment occur?
Being laid up after two operations on my bones, little to do but think, and I decided to write a spy story based on the people I’d worked with in counter-extremism.
2. Since you got into the indie business, what have been your biggest surprises – both negative and positive?
Only positives really- the level of enthusiasm of my indie writing community!
3. How did Riz Sabir, your thriller series hero, come to life? Do you feel he has changed throughout the series? What do you love/hate about him? Have you ever wanted to be him?
I based him in part, on two blokes I’d worked with on the extremism scene – both funny, sardonic guys who’d started as extremists and wised up.
I also decided that if I was going to write thrillers, I would try and avoid the usual thriller clichés, i.e. brooding taciturn hero pursues mysterious tall blonde woman, and is eventually betrayed by his boss, who he hates. I turned all that on its head, and came up with a sarcastic hero who is engaged to be married to his short, slightly irritating cousin, and who works for an outfit which will back him to the hilt.
He’s changed through the series as he’s killed many, many people, his attitudes to life have hardened, and he’s got mild PTSD.
What do I like about him? His gung-ho attitude and adaptability, and his humour. Have I ever wanted to be him? No way, as that would mean being married to his wife Holly, who is likeable and charismatic, but also an unpredictable lunatic who kills people for fun.
I’d also like to give a shout out to Zulfikar Ali Malik and Anu Patel, who play Riz and Holly in the adaptations, and have breathed life into the characters in terms of style and realism and really made them their own.
4. What do you think sells books nowadays? Do you keep that in mind when you write or do you just chuck rules and write what you feel/see/hear?
I still think reviews and recommendation sell books. And maybe also fonts!
5. I have always envisioned a thriller author with a huge wall-sized plan for the book, kind of like a psychotic serial killer;). How much planning do you need not to mess up the timeline in your stories?
Quite a bit as I don’t write in a linear fashion – I split the story into small chunks, ie days, and then work on it. I also have some continuity editors.
6. Any pet projects going on, besides writing or about writing?
I am working with the brilliant and talented Hannah Haq on a romance novella called The Jackrabbit Express, which will be out by autumn we hope.
There is also a short film of the story “Badami“ in the works.
7. What bugs you about the publishing world today? Furthermore, what bugs you about the world today in general?
Just people really, but that’s me
8. What annoys and amuses you about people who learn that you are a writer?
I tend not to tell people that I’m a writer, unless they’re a writer themselves. I got fed up with the “blank look“ so I just tell them I’m a truck driver. Too many times people ask when the film’s out, or if I’m a millionaire, or can they be in them as a strong, handsome, zzzzzzz
9. Share a sneak peek into any of your books, please.
You can have a bit from “Banger 2: Hell Comes to St Malo“. In this bit, the young Holly has been put in charge of some kids from two years below her on an exchange visit to France…
‘6 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt. Big aerial on the roof, Tricolour out the front, railings… yep I reckon this is it. Follow me.’ We trooped in up the steps and I saluted the man behind the desk. ‘Bonjour Monsieur. Nous voulons rejoindre la Légion.’
He put his pen down and looked us over. ‘You want to join the Legion. And why would that be?’
I hissed out the corner of my mouth. ‘Tell him what we said!’
‘WE JOIN TO FORGET!’ the five girls of year three chorused.
‘Right’ he said. ‘Les Anglais again. OK here it is. To join the Legion you need to be, firstly, a man, secondly, over seventeen and a half years, and thirdly, not deranged.’
We all slumped. I looked at him. ‘Please? This exchange trip is RUBBISH.’
‘Non. Back to your exchange school. And nice try. Also, this is not a French Foreign Legion recruiting office, this is the Gendarmerie Nationale.’
He smiled. ‘You weren’t to know. Anyway, allez, partez. And nice tattoos’, he said, looking at my arms. ‘If they recruited just on tattoos you’d be in.’
‘Thanks’ I said, and grinned. ‘OK any chance of us joining the Gendarmerie-‘
We got out.
10. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?
The latest Riz novel, “Banger“ is out now.
Readers of the Riz Sabir Thriller series will know of Riz’s wife, the hard-bitten, gum-chewing girl gang leader Holly “Bang-Bang” Kirpachi.
… Ever wondered how she got like that?
– How did she meet Riz?
– How did she join that girl gang?
– How did she get all those awful tattoos?
– And why does she think she’s Japanese?
Well, wonder no more. These and other questions you’ve been dying to ask are answered in…
BANGER: Holly’s school diaries from 2005 to 2007
BANGER: A sweeping tale of street racing, burlesque and Yakuza that flies from Dubai to Singapore to Tokyo and… Romford
BANGER: REBELLION RUNS IN THE FAMILY