Interview with Author Robert Fanshaw

My guest today is Robert Fanshaw.  Hello, Robert!  Welcome back to Writing in the Modern Age!  It’s such a pleasure to have you again.

Can you tell us a little bit about your book? When did it come out? Where can we get it? latest book, The Catch, had an unusual publication day – Boxing Day, the 26th of December. Why publish a book the day after Christmas? Well, it was timed to coincide with the first day of an important sporting event in Australia, the Melbourne cricket test match between Australia and England. The Catch is set over the five days of an imaginary Melbourne cricket match. A game that lasts five days? Yes, really, and the players stop for lunch and tea. The U.S. version would be a baseball series where two teams compete several times over a few days. The dramatic sporting contest provides the backdrop for a romance in which a young woman discovers the difference between a celebrity crush and a real relationship.

The Catch is published by SteameReads and is available as an ebook from Amazon and ARe.

Is there anything specific that inspired you to write The Catch?

Some years ago my English nephew met his Australian future wife at a cricket match in Australia. She was as mad about cricket as he was, but supporting different sides. It was funny listening to them continue the sporting rivalry into their marriage. The characters are different in The Catch, but I used that main idea to speculate how fans of different teams might get to know each other, sharing the love of something but from a different standpoint.

If this book was made into a film, who would you cast in it?

There are three main characters. Our heroine, Alana Carragher would be played by Jennifer Lawrence, with blonde hair and a youthful face. Do you think Bradley Cooper could do an Australian accent and play the sporting hunk with a bit of stubble on his chin? Come to think of it, if The Catch is made into a film, it would be re-written for baseball anyway, and he could speak American. Now who could be the tall, dark, and quirky Englishman?  Benedict Cumberbatch, of course.

Oh, I love Benedict!
Now for some general questions.
When reading, do you prefer traditional
printed books or ebooks?  And why?

My book reading is done half on printed and half on electronic. Both have their place. The e-reader is great for travel, holidays, and books I want for research or to review. A printed book makes a great gift, and I find looking at a shelf full of books gives me inspiration. 

Me too!  I have a huge bookshelf.

So, what are you reading now? 
I’m reading an 800 page biography of The Beatles by Mark Lewisohn. It covers their early years up to the end of 1962 when they were just about to become famous. It was a very different world then, but it is a fascinating and unlikely story.

When you get an idea for a book, what comes first usually?  Dialogue, the characters, a specific scene?  Or do you plot it out before you write?

Thanks for asking this question, Marie. It has really made me think. I’m in the early stages of plotting my fifth fiction book, and I realize the process is changing as I write more books. With the first one, I just sat down and wrote with just the two main characters in my mind and let it rip. It was a lot of fun to do, but not too organized and a lot of revision was required to get it into shape. Now I do a lot more working out before I start. The trick is to keep the spontaneity in the writing, but take it down the right road.

Yes, I know what you mean.  I find my process has evolved as well.  My sequel definitely took me less time to finish than my first historical because I was far more organized.  But, enough about me.

What do you have planned next?  Or is that a secret?

My next book is well on the way to publication. It will be called Shameless Corruption, and is a romantic suspense set around the soccer World Cup in Brazil. The heroine, Caroline, becomes involved with a betting syndicate which is aiming to fix the result of the competition. She infiltrates the conspiracy; I hope it is all complete fiction.

Oh, great!  I was wondering if we'd see Caroline again.

So, is there anything you'd like to add?  Any advice for new writers?

Every new writer is embarking on their own voyage of exploration. It’s good to read a few guides, see what other people are doing, and listen to any advice on offer. But the path for every writer is different, it is a long journey, probably longer than you ever imagined, and there are no short cuts. So you might as well have fun riding the ups and downs on the way.

So very true, Robert.

Readers, here is the blurb for The Catch

Alana Carragher has finished university, is still living at home in Sydney, and is wondering what to do with her life. Cousin Karen gives her an image make-over to bring her out of her shell. A trip to Melbourne with her brothers for the Ashes Test provides Alana with the chance to meet the Australian captain, whose poster is on her bedroom wall. But there’s a catch; many other women want to meet him too, and there’s a vetting process organized by the team support staff.  

Louis, a funny and interesting post-graduate student from England is sitting in the row behind Alana at The ‘G and he befriends the Carraghers, inviting Alana to stay in Melbourne for a post-match party at his professor’s house. As the match reaches a dramatic conclusion, does Alana have the nerve to miss her flight back to Sydney and fulfill her teenage fantasy?

And here is an excerpt from the book.

Behind the back of the Captain, the support staff of the Australian cricket team are running a selection process to determine who will be allowed to meet the first team players.

In the other cubicle, Alana concentrated on the cascading water and turned her back on the men. Kelly shut her eyes and let the water pour over her. It changed the shape of her head as the long black curls stuck to her skin, turning her appearance from bubbly to seductive in seconds. She opened an eye and sneaked a look at the audience. She smiled back at her admirers. Even Alana was taken aback by her stunning looks.

“Wow. I bet you don’t have trouble getting a boyfriend,” said Alana.

“I don’t have trouble getting laid. I do have trouble getting a boyfriend. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. I live in hope of meeting a man who is interested in me, not just my boobs.”

“So is this about getting laid or getting a boyfriend? Because I have someone particular in mind that I’m hoping to meet.”

Kelly leaned in towards Alana so that she could hear her above the sound of the water.

“I heard you say that before. You have to wise up. You can’t afford to be that choosy, not with this lot. You have to take a chance. It might be crap sex or it could be the start of a mind-blowing relationship. You could be with one of the team in two days time, and if not, at least you’ll have had a few free beers. You’ve got to think positive.”

Alana thought positive and turned towards the men, trying to avoid Tony’s gaze. Peaches? She ran her hands over her breasts and knew there was something ripe about them. The other three were happily playing up to the men so she did the same, standing up straight and turning around a few times in the shower, giggling with Kelly. She knew she had been here before, probably four or five times. Not in the shower in front of six leering men, but in a situation where sex was meant to be the next thing to happen. But each time she had backed away, turned the man down, made her excuses and left or thrown the guy out. Perhaps this time she should just say to hell with it.

John appeared with a pile of green and gold towels and placed them on the bench, the signal that it was time for the women to emerge from the showers. They dried themselves and ruffled their hair, then wrapped the big towels around them. The men moved towards them. Tony homed in on Alana and began picking at the towel wrapped around her breasts.

“It seems a shame to cover up that beautiful body. Ready for me this time?”

There was a loud clash like an orchestral cymbal. Everyone jumped, and turned towards the noise.

The Captain stood beside the locker that he had smashed closed with extreme force.

“What’s going on here?”

“Nothing, Skip. Can we help you?” said John, picking up his clipboard.

“No, you can’t help me. I’ve found what I’d lost.” He put a wallet into the back pocket of his flannels. He peered around the men to the four women in their towels. “Is everybody all right here?”

Three of the women nodded. Alana didn’t; she felt stupid.

“I will be speaking to Derek as soon as I get back to the hotel. You guys are taking a risk with the reputation of the team and you know what Derek will think about that. If you want to still have a job tomorrow you’d better pack up here pronto.”

The men looked sheepish.

“Sorry Skip.”

“Save your apologies for Derek.” The Captain turned to leave, and then turned back. The smile returned to his face. He looked straight at Alana and said, “Nice catch, by the way." 

Author Bio
I am still married, despite everything, to my beautiful wife Caroline. Writing is more than a hobby; it’s what keeps me sane because my job is not as glamorous as people think. Commercial law is like being in the army; there are long periods where nothing happens then suddenly all hell is let loose. Rather like my marriage. 
I had a book about the law published years ago, but my first novel, Shameless Ambition, was much more fun to write. I can’t really claim credit for the concept. Life provided me with Caroline, my wife. The banking crisis provided the plot. All I had to do was use my imagination for the parts where Caroline refused to go into details. The first two books in the Shameless series push the boundaries of memoir and I suspect that fiction will eventually take over completely. I’m working on the third novel now. Caroline gets the bug for gambling and infiltrates a match-fixing betting syndicate. It will be ready in time for the football World Cup. The title? Shameless Corruption
Robert Fanshaw’s blog:

Twitter:  @RobertFanshaw


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