Do you like thrillers? Then I strongly recommend Kathmandu by Luke Richardson. I was one of his beta readers and I can guarantee you’ll be gripped by this story. Luke has kindly agreed to answer my questions about the book, his influences and what it’s like to be a writer.
Congratulations on publishing your first novel! How do you feel?
Thank you. I’m so happy to see it finally out in the world… I’m very proud of it. Although the writing of Kathmandu took about two years, the story has been buzzing around in my mind for years. It’s great to see it unleashed!
I’m also really excited to keep writing. I did think after publishing the book I might feel like I needed a break, but I don’t. If anything, it’s inspired me more and given me the confidence to keep writing.
Could you tell us a little about Kathmandu?
Kathmandu is the story of a missing persons detective. Leo is an unlikely hero, in that he’s not physically strong and suffers from anxiety.
In fact, it’s only when his own girlfriend disappears on a trip around Thailand that Leo gets thrown into the world of finding people.
After two years of looking for her online and having lost his job at a local newspaper, he is approached by a rich and powerful man who thinks his daughter has fled to Kathmandu.
But Leo’s never been to Kathmandu and has no idea how to start looking for people in the real world. With no job and no leads on his missing girlfriend though, he reluctantly feels he has no choice but go to there.
And obviously, when he gets there, things aren’t as straightforward as he would have hoped!
Where did the idea for the novel come from?
That’s a really good question actually. I’ve no idea.
I’ve had part of the story in my mind for a while (I won’t give you any spoilers here, but if you’ve read the book I bet you’ll know what part). In fact, about two years ago I had written it as a short story, just with different characters.
In wasn’t until I travelled to Kathmandu, and was enthralled by the idea of this sprawling, crazy city, high up in the Himalayan mountains, that I decided that was the perfect setting. From that I started writing, and soon uncovered Leo, Allissa and all the other characters just waiting to be written!
What do you love about writing?
I love writing because it’s fun, creative and totally absorbing.
My love of writing actually comes from my love of being creative. For me, creativity is key. It doesn’t necessarily need to be writing. Although I feel like there is probably no creativity like writing fiction. You start with literally nothing – an empty page, and from that you can create whatever you want.
That for me is so exciting.
Who are your influences and what are some of your favourite books?
I find that question really difficult to answer, I’m looking at one of my bookshelves now and there’s so much.
I read a lot of books, a few a month, and find them all inspiring in different ways.
If I was to pick just a few: I find Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories very inspiring for my writing because of the way they’re all about the settings. From the beautiful white beaches of the Caribbean to the baddy’s Alpine lair, the settings take on characteristics of their own. For the same reasons I’ve found Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series great to read – set in the dirty backstreets of big Asian cities (sound familiar?)
On a totally different note, I’ve also enjoyed reading the books of Paul Theroux. He’s written a number of non-fiction books about journeys he’s taken. They’re interesting because unlike normal travel books that just talk about the destination, his books describe the journey. Whole chapters are dedicated to the characters he’s sat with on the train or conversation he’s overheard – the detail is fantastic. It’s like you’re taking that journey with him.
And there’s one final book that has really inspired my writing, that’s Gregory David Roberts’ epic, Shantaram. It follows an Australian convict who’s escaped from prison to Mumbai. I’d visited Mumbai prior to reading this and just find its depiction of the city incredible.
Describe yourself in three words!
Creative has to be one of them. As I said above, creativity is central to my personality, it’s so important to me.
Adventure or travel is also very important to me. I love visiting different places, just to see and experience new things. They don’t always have to be far, but just getting away is totally invigorating.
I’d also say, not necessarily a word to describe me but one that’s important to me – home. The idea of coming home, being at home, making home in the place you are. I think that comes across in my writing too.
Tell us about your other interests – how do you spend your time when not writing?
As said, I love to travel and see new places. I love to experience new things. One of my favourite ways to do that is just to go somewhere on my own, without anyone else to distract me from the conversations of the locals.
I teach English at a secondary school in Nottingham a couple of days a week. Last year I dropped my hours at the school to allow more time to write – which is great.
I also work as a nightclub DJ in Nottingham and sometimes further away – which I love.
What are your future writing plans?
So, the next book will see Leo and Allissa go to Hong Kong, which is with the editor at the moment. I’m hoping it’ll be out in the world towards the end of the summer or in the early autumn.
While I’m waiting for that, I’m working on the next in the series. That’s a short novel (around half the length of Kathmandu) and will see Leo go solo to Berlin. Then in the fourth book, which is in the very early stages, they’ll both go to New York.
Very busy, but adventures lie ahead!