*Interview with Ian Cawley, author of GNOSIS*

#technothriller #thriller #politicalthriller #futuristic #mysticism

Today we are thrilled to welcome Ian Cawley, author of Gnosis, a thriller which blends big business and politics with world events, climate change and ancient mysticism. I was fortunate to meet Ian (pictured above) when he visited Tamworth Literary Festival in March this year and I am very much looking forward to reading Gnosis.

Scroll down to read the interview Ian with and find out about Gnosis. 🙂 

Book Blurb

How far would your conscience take you?

In a world increasingly disturbed by the Climate Change Phenomenon, and with overwhelming economic refugee migration, Max Harrington’s conscience led him to create GNOSIS; a computerised management system to regulate energy and fuel consumption around the globe.

His vision was of a cleaner, fairer and healthier world. What he didn’t see, however, was that the big data created would become a far more valuable prize to those less bound by conscience.

This political thriller, set in the digital age, follows a trail of murderous clues, running from the academic fields of Cambridge, through the powerbrokers of Westminster and into the war-torn desolation of the Holy Lands.

Q & A

1. Tell us about yourself

Born in the Manchester area, I’ve worked in jobs that have ranged from loading fruit & veg vans to running a film school, but mainly in the graphics and the audio-visual industries. I wrote my first screenplay in 1989, shortly after graduating, which gained the attention of Channel 4, though the project was scuppered with all the others thanks to Lady Thatcher selling off the TV franchises at that time.

Since then, encouraged by a year’s MA of Scriptwriting at Film School, I have endeavoured to continue my writing of unique stories with some success through independent fiction films and documentaries.

Now living in the Midlands, I’m married with two children.

2. Tell us about GNOSIS.

I had become tired of trying to get writing and film projects up and going, so I decided on a different approach to getting my work out there.

The advent of Amazon’s self-publishing option came as an obvious outlet; a relatively easy way in which to get your work out to a wider public and see how it’s received. It was also a fresh challenge since I had never attempted to write in the novel format before.

The idea for GNOSIS came about, I think, after watching Tobias Churton’s documentary series on ‘The Gnostics’ whilst at the same time reading up on some of the ideas of two scientists – Fritjof Capra and James Lovelock. Capra was postulating theories of connectivity of all matter in the universe whilst Lovelock was expounding his Gaia Theory – the earth being a self-regulating organism.

I found myself intrigued by these philosophical ideas and pondered the prospect of weaving them into a fictional story using conventional narrative devices. These creative musings, however, have taken twenty-five years to come to fruition.

The story

Gnosis is the story of Max, a digital engineer who wants to save the world.

How far would your conscience take you? In a world increasingly disturbed by the Climate Change Phenomenon, and with overwhelming economic refugee migration, Max Harrington’s conscience led him to create GNOSIS; a computerised management system to regulate energy and fuel consumption around the globe. His vision was of a cleaner, fairer and healthier world. What he didn’t see, however, was that the big data created would become a far more valuable prize to those less bound by conscience. This political thriller, set in the digital age, follows a trail of murderous clues, running from the academic fields of Cambridge, through the powerbrokers of Westminster and into the war-torn desolation of the Holy Lands.

3. I understand that one reviewer has called it ‘The Da Vinci Code meets Big Data’?

Yes. I can see why that may have occurred to the reader since it is a traditional mystery plot involving the lust for power and control (information being the asset) whilst having undercurrents of possible supernatural forces at work, the use of codes and mysticism.

4. Lots of people have also said that they can see GNOSIS as a film

Absolutely. GNOSIS is really a movie script hiding in a novel. Given that my first love is cinema and all my previous writing has been for the screen, it was inevitable that that style would surface in the way it came off the page. It is also structured very much like a movie.

5. How long did it take you to write the novel?

The idea for GNOSIS had been kicking around for over 25 years, but I only really started writing it up in anger (as a novel) in 2011 and published it in the summer of 2016.

6. It’s extremely topical, and in that respect I am talking about the political, EU, terrorism, climate change, big data and hacking themes. Readers have called GNOSIS ‘an uncanny prediction”.

Are you psychic?

Well to quote Bob Dylan “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.”

7. What kind of research did you do?

As I went through the story, the technical details were served purely though the internet. For example, YouTube showed me the drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  The internet is a wonderful tool for the writer and it can allow you to do neg checks as well before releasing the story.

Characters

8, Which is your favourite character in GNOSIS, and why?

Oh gosh, that’s hard – like saying who is your favourite child. That’s a tough one. If I had a few I’d pick – Max of course, but I do have a soft spot for Brent McGregor. He’s an utter buffoon. I also like the character of Francois because he cares and doesn’t care in the same measure.

9. Are any characters like you?

Of course. Max. In my fantasies. 🙂

10. When you were writing it could you see certain actors as the characters?

It was only towards its completion that we began to fantasise about potential actors. Kevin Spacey I thought would be excellent for Joe Green. Emily Blunt for Georgina.

And for Max…? I never really came up with one for Max. My wife came up with several. 🙂

Clifford? Maybe Derek Jacobi as Clifford…

11. Are any of the characters real life people – politicians for example?

There are elements drawn from people who I have never met but know of, and there are elements of people I know and have known quite well.

12. Your favourite football team has made its way into GNOSIS. You support Manchester City. Tell us more.

It just seemed a fun thing to do for City fans. Some of the in-jokes are a bit obscure and you would have to be a City fan of some long standing to get all of them.  I’ve supported Man City since leaving primary school.

13. You have several films featured in GNOSIS (Night of the Demon etc.) – are they your favourites? Why were they included….

The 30’s horror films tend to be a motif for my childhood. The reference to Jacques Tourneur’s 1957 film ‘Night of the Demon’ has two significant elements to it – firstly, I saw it as a kid and it had me absolutely captivated. Secondly, I saw it when I was older with a group of mates; it being part of a BBC 2 double bill with The Ghoul starring John Hurt.

Night of the Demon is a bizarre collaboration of a European director using American money for a British production. Without going into all the politics behind the film, the mix of the American star Dana Andrews, the perverse American view of what “English countryfolk” are and the types of dwellings they live in, along with a stunning performance by Niall MacGinnis as the evil Dr Karswell, it’s an utter delight to watch. I would suggest the séance where they all sing “Cherry Ripe” together to be a moment of cinema legend.

Some of the motifs throughout the film seemed to marry so well with some of the elements and ideas in the story.  It just seemed fitting to put it in. Also, it might tempt readers to search out the film and watch it.

14. How do you pick character names? Do they have any special meaning to you?

Yes. Because they have need to suit the characters and there is always an opportunity to play an in-joke. For example, Colleen Bell – is one of the major characters to survive into the sequel. Those who can make the link with the other characters in the book will find the entire MCFC 1969 FA Cup winning side appearing here, there and everywhere.

Writing

15. Do you ever surprise yourself with what you’ve written?

Yes. When it’s a good gag and you are the first one to hear it.

16. What’s the best and the worst thing about being an author?

The hardest thing is filling white spaces with words. I don’t think it ever gets any easier. However, once you are through the process having produced what you believe to be a credible novel, there is a sense of achievement and legacy that stays with you. There’s also nothing better than to receive a glowing review from a complete stranger.

17. Where do you most like to do your writing?

In solitude and silence but that is very difficult with a growing family and several pets.

18. Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you tackle it?

No. I just get ‘lazy-itus’.

19 What is the best writing tip you have ever been given? How has it influenced you?

Alan Plater, acclaimed writer (who mentored me in the early 90s) corresponded with me frequently. To be honest, I learned more from Alan, in a few sentences amongst the paragraphs, than a whole year studying at film school.

Diana Hawkins, Film Producer. She advised me on the importance of structure. She encouraged me to get my stories into a proper structure and from that point on I understood how important it is to make your story really work.

20. How much of your own life experiences appear in your writing?

I think it’s inevitable that your own daily experience of living will find a way into some aspect of the stories, plots, characters, settings and dialogue. Writers often start writing from a point of something they already know or have an interest in.

21. What’s your usual writing routine?

My usual writing routine is to steal what time I can and promise myself that unless I write at least two paragraphs City will lose at the weekend.

Is that true? – Yes.

Self-publishing

20. You self-published GNOSIS. Why, and how easy did you find it – the process?

As I said earlier, I just wanted my work out there, read and enjoyed.

In retrospect it was fairly easy, but having my own design and computer skills helped the process immeasurably.  Someone who isn’t tech savvy might need to seek help or buy the service in. For example, I designed and created my own book cover using Photoshop and After Effects with some photography. I also handle my own Social Media accounts.

The sequel

21. You are presently writing a sequel. Care to tell us anything?

The sequel picks up the story where GNOSIS left off.  It is a time for justice to be meted out and certain individuals to get their comeuppance.  A lot of readers have already got in touch with me, and asked what’s going to happen to the ‘baddies’… Hopefully soon they will find out, and they might even get a happy ending. 🙂

**DOUBLE REVIEW** FRENZY & DOOM (A Daniel Jones Story 1 & 2) by Mark King

I am so glad I had Mark King‘s Daniel Jones Story brought to my attention. There is action and adventure every step of the way in this extremely well-written post-apocalyptic fantasy series! Written for YA, it’s an exciting and thrilling series for anybody age 14+. I was totally gripped – a MUST-READ series!!

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook with an almighty force.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook with such terrifying power that once again the soul of humanity would cry out in fear tonight.

SILENCE.

Frenzy 3 v2Title: FRENZY (A Daniel Jones Story #1)

Author: Mark King

Genre: Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action/adventure

Date released: March 1st, 2013

Published by: Book Guild Publishing

Length: 226 pages

Blurb: Daniel leads a peaceful life with his family until he finds out a repulsive secret about the Over-seers, the ‘saviours of humanity’, and his security is blown to smithereens. He enters a world where death is the only certainty and quickly learns to kill – or be killed.

Enter Gwendolyn, with the charm of a snake and a bite that’s twice as dangerous. People skills aren’t her thing but she knows how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world; she’s a hotshot with a bow and arrow and can rustle up a mean rat soup.

Mary is the only person left alive over forty. She’s not too good at fighting but she knows where to find the one thing that could save their lives. Only Mary can remember life before the invasion, before humanity was brainwashed into following the procedures.

Pursued by the Over-seers, the Triclops and the barbaric hunters, can the three brave rebels triumph in their quest for survival? The odds are stacked against them – hold tight for a white-knuckle ride through a landscape of devastation!

REVIEW ***** (5* RATING)

I was blown away by Frenzy! Admittedly, it has been a while since I have read a post-apocalyptic adventure series, but author Mark King drew me in with his great story-telling skills, fantasy and some brilliant characters. I was so hooked I went straight on to read the sequel, Doom!

In a world, not as we know it, but only as Daniel and future generations know, we realise that mankind is isolated in small villages, left only alive to ‘farm’ themselves ready for what they believe will be a time for rest and rewards in the ‘Achievement Centre’, which they are due to attend after their fortieth birthday. This is a world, unlike anything we know now, where humans go back to basics, with no reminders of the past, and a world run by other beings: the Over-Seers!

The story gives the reader a true sense of what it is like to be Daniel, describing his home life, daily routines and reactions perfectly. There is no holding back from description when it comes to Mark King‘s terrific writing. The reader is truly drawn in, feeling every moment as Daniel does.

Daniel is a great, young character, living in a hut with his family, and being able to live off the land, felling trees with his father, in order to trade for food. They are living a relatively comfortable life given the circumstances, aside from the usual lack of sanitary conditions and few clothes, etc. After all, this is all Daniel has ever known.

However, after celebrations of a friend departing to the Achievement Centre, Daniel and his young friends decide to wander whilst playing a game. During this turn of events, Daniel discovers something so incredibly horrifying about the Over-Seers and the future of his human friends! Even more terrifyingly, he is found out, and now has no choice but to run for his life throughout the desolate lands, for he simply cannot return to his village and safe haven of his family.

Not only does he fear the Over-Seers, and the prospect that they could attack his family if they are aware of just who he is, he has to outrun human hunters and the terrifying, ground-trembling Triclops! His insubordinate and mischievous actions have landed him in a horror he has never known. His only slight relief comes when he meets survivors Gwendolyn and Mary, who work with him in an attempt to save humanity!

Initially, Frenzy was a story I would have recommended to 11+ readers, however after learning the secret as Daniel did, and the sheer shock, horror and gore I quickly changed my mind. Frenzy, however is an exceptional read, easy to follow, yet at a nice, quick pace for the adventure it holds. You will be hooked! I would advise it for readers certainly 14yrs+.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Daniel Jones Doom Cover LargeTitle: DOOM (A Daniel Jones Story #2)

Author: Mark King

Genre: Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action/adventure

Date released: December 12th, 2014

Published by: Book Guild Publishing

Length: 238 pages

Blurb: Daniel’s peaceful life has been destroyed after discovering the hideous truth about the Over-seers – the new masters of humanity. Hiding in centuries-old flint mines from Hunters and from the terrifying Triclops machines, Daniel’s recurring nightmares lead him, once more, into danger. With mankind brainwashed under the false hope of a glorious new life in the Achievement Centre, he must return home through a devastated landscape to save his father
from certain death.

Daniel reunites with two fellow fugitives – Mary and her young companion Gwendolyn – to undertake a rescue mission so dangerous that death is the only guarantee. Is it too late for Daniel’s family or is it too late for humanity itself? Daniel Jones DOOM, the exciting new sequel to FRENZY a Daniel Jones Story, is another fast-paced, engrossing chronicle of three rebels who once again risk their lives in a vividly depicted world peopled by memorable new and known characters.

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

DOOM is another incredibly written, fast-paced post-apocalyptic adventure from author Mark King. The sequel to Frenzy, it continues where we left off with young Daniel Jones surviving with Resistance veteran, Mary, and her young companion, Gwendolyn.

Daniel has begun to have terrible dreams after witnessing the horrific methods of the Over-Seers. He is also aware that it is coming up to his father’s fortieth season, where he knows his dad will be preparing for a life of rest and rewards from the Over-Seers in the Achievement Centre. After a life of being brainwashed by these beings his father, and the rest of humanity, simply have no idea of the horrors that await them. It’s simply too much for Daniel to bear; he must return to his home village to warn his family. Only that would be difficult with the Over-Seers sending Hunters and Triclops to hunt him and his companions down! This boy loves a challenge, and with his friends support they are a team to be reckoned with.

Meanwhile, we learn that the consequences of Frenzy (Daniel Jones book 1) has left John, Daniel’s father, in a tired, weary and fragile state. Not only has he lost his son to the desolate lands, without knowing why, he now also works alone, chopping down trees, with no horse to pull his cart. He is emotionally and physically drained with only the hope of the Achievement Centre to relieve him of his exhausting life.

“… but with losing his axe, his horse, and his son in the space of two days John was not going to take any risks with his chance of entering the Achievement Centre, and in receiving a lifetime of the rewards that were promised.”

I am absolutely hooked with this series, longing to read the next instalment. It is a perfect read for young adults and over, with the right dosage of action, horror and gore mixed with great dialogue, brilliant characters and an addictive storyline.

Will Daniel reach his village to warn his father? Or will be captured by the Hunters, along with his companions? Is it too late for his father to be saved? What will become of Daniel, and all of those he cares about? This truly is a MUST-READ that I would recommend to place at the top of your reading list!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

FRENZY and DOOM, books 1 & 2 of the Daniel Jones Story were provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

You can purchase both following the links below:-

FRENZY

Hardcover Amazon UK

Kindle edition Amazon UK

Hardcover Amazon US

Kindle edition Amazon US

DOOM

Hardcover Amazon UK

Paperback Amazon UK

Kindle edition Amazon UK

Hardcover Amazon US

Paperback Amazon US

Kindle edition Amazon US