Another Quickie with… Alan Jones

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.

He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.

He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.

His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.

He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling.

He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.

Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?

It’s not one book, but three. The last time you invited me on for a Quickie, I told you I was researching a story about the Holocaust based in Kiel in Northern Germany. Five years later, it has grown exponentially, and has been published as The Sturmtaucher Trilogy. They are long books, at over a million words between the three, but the reviews have been heartwarmingly good, and most reviewers say that the word count is quickly forgotten once they’ve started reading. The size of the books allow the story of the Holocaust to be told from the very start, long before the camps and gas chambers blackened the skies, and in enough detail to let the reader feel the slow, insidious erosion of the rights of Germany’s Jews, and other minorities in the Third Reich. Seen through the eyes of a privileged military sailing family, and the family of Jews who are their domestic servants, it starts in 1933 on the eve of the Nazi regime taking power, and finishes in 1943, during the devastating aftermath of WW2. The Trilogy consists of The Gathering Storm, Flight of the Shearwater and The Turn of the Tide.

If a film was being made about your life, who would you want to play you?

It would have to be a Scottish actor, to get the voice right, and someone who had seen a bit of life, so I’m thinking Bill Patterson or David Hayman.

If I could grant you 1 wish, what would it be?

I’m tempted to make it a book wish, but health comes first, and that of my family.

When was the last time you Googled yourself and what did you find?

Last week. I found one review that I’d missed, which made my day, but nothing else that I didn’t know was there. (That’s a good thing, I think )

If you could host a literary dinner party, which 5 authors (dead or alive) would you invite and what food would you serve?

James Clavell, Steven Fry, Leon Uris, Nevil Shute, Julia Donaldson (my grandkids would love that). I love Tapas, so probably serve that. Mixed fish, Morcilla, Rabbit, Octopus \ squid, Chorizo Cassoulet, Crab claws, Fried potatoes, Chicken Paella, mixed bread, Chickpea stew. Chocolate sponge, raspberries, port and ice-cream to finish.

Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

For the last five years, I’ve hardly read a fiction book as the characters of the Trilogy completely inhabited my brain, making it difficult to think of anything else. I did read more than a few non-fiction titles but I did manage two or three novels. The first was ‘Maus’, by Art Spiegelman. It was my first graphic novel, and it was a quick read. I’d had it on my TBR for a while, along with Night by Elie Wiesel, as I didn’t want them to influence me when I was writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy. Biographical on the whole, it doesn’t shy away from the author’s difficult relationship with his father, and the reasons for it. I also re-read ‘The Day of the Triffids’ by John Wyndham; I hadn’t read it in years. The best of classic science fiction that will appeal to readers of any genre. Lastly, I listened to ‘The North Water’ by Ian McGuire on Audible while I was driving. Moody, brutal and with a real sense of place and time, you can almost feel the bitter cold as you read his words, and it cracks along at a fair pace.

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