How a minor character from 24 launched a writing career for Tim Jopling – @tim_jopling
Author Tim Jopling spoke to us about his inspiration for writing, 24 and Ian Fleming.
You mentioned a small character from the series 24 led to your inspiration to write the book. Tell us more about that?
When 24 started on BBC2 just over ten years ago I was blown away by the attention to detail and how serious it was compared to some of the films I had seen around that time that really could be classed as spoofs. As the series progressed there were many memorable scenes and characters but it was a small character that caught my attention. Half way through the series the main characters family are based at a safe house with CTU Agent Ted Paulson and his partner Ron Breeher given the task to protect them. Straight away I was really impressed with these two guys who had worked together for years and were trusted by the main character. The Ted Paulson character in particular seemed to embody the look and attitude of a government agent and the scene where the safe house is attacked completely blew me away. Paulson had to stalk through the safe house to find the attackers which had me on the edge of my seat. From that moment on I was determined to write something that had excitement, darkness, and grit. It’s funny though, I have yet to meet anyone that remembers the character of Ted Paulson let alone agree on just how good those scenes were. To be fair he was only in 2 episodes!
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your book Underground Murmurs?
That’s a tough question! For Akira I always thought Michael Fassbender would be suitable as he could bring that element of darkness to the role. Dominic West would make a good Thomas Deane with maybe Tom Hiddleston as Olsen.
What do you think people will enjoy most about the book?
I’d like to think they will enjoy the relationships that exist between the characters and find that although there is action and lots of cliff-hangers the story (and all those in this series) are ultimately about relationships, broken or otherwise! Akira’s character in particular is one that is proving popular with readers. Akira is a complex character and you never really find out much about his past, and the fact that he hears the voice of his dead wife in his mind and she directs him to follow her wishes does give it a few layers! Other than the characters I’d like think the story is set at a fast pace and the reader will enjoy travelling to London, Oman, Poland and Russia to follow what happens.
Which established writers do you enjoy reading and feel have perhaps contributed to your style?
I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Crichton and Ian Fleming who created James Bond. Lately I’ve been reading some of the Kurt Wallander novels by Henning Mankell which are fantastic and I also enjoy reading Robert Harris’s novels with ‘The Ghost’ being one I really enjoyed. I recently saw an interview with Lee Child on BBC Breakfast about how he got started which was really interesting so I’m currently reading the first Jack Reacher novel ‘Killing Floor’ which I would recommend.
A lot of authors set themselves certain daily or weekly goals in regards to number of pages or words written. Do you take this approach to your writing?
That may well be an effective way of writing but I’ve always found I need to get into the right frame of mind first which often comes through music which in turn starts the thinking process of story lines and in particular scenes from a story. I tend to be quite visual and whilst listening to music or watching a film or some TV I will ‘see’ a scene played out in my mind and will need to write that down or even write that scene as soon as I can. Once I’ve started writing in that way I then tend to carry on from there. I find this gives me more of a quality output rather than setting myself a target which in the past when I’ve done that I’ve found doesn’t produce my best work.
What do you find to be the hardest part about writing and what is the most rewarding aspect?
I’ve found that the research can be quite challenging sometimes and there have been occasions where I’ve tried to be too clever and backed myself into a corner in terms of the stories development so planning it out is important. In terms of what’s rewarding, when I’m in full flow and making progress on a particular storyline I just enjoy every minute of it. I really care about these characters and to try and explain their emotions I do my best to mentally put myself in their shoes as much as I can and feel what they feel. What’s been great has been receiving feedback from some of my readers and seeing that they enjoyed it as well.
What are you working on currently?
I’ve started work on the next novel in the series, Rogue Retrieval which starts with a dramatic and emotional scene and then goes back on itself so the reader can follow the events and find out how that first scene came about. I’m also working on three short stories that I plan to publish on Amazon as a short story collection. These stories follow immediately after ‘Underground Murmurs’ and focus on some of the lesser characters but still feature the main ones too. It’s been a lot of fun returning these characters to find out what happens next.