Novel approach

I was saddened to hear of the death last week of thriller writer Tom Clancy. I’ve seen rather more of the blockbuster movies than I’ve read his books, but it’s a testament to his stories that so many made it to the big screen – “The Hunt for Red October,” “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger.”

I’ve had a couple of plots for thrillers in my head for years, and one of these days, I may actually make the time to get writing and turn them into books. One of my travel writing friends went that bit further. Rob Neillands, now sadly no longer with us, was commissioned many years ago to do a feature for the Sunday Times about going on a fiction writing course – the kind of thing some might book up to do as a holiday. The course involved actually writing a novel, and I guess most of the people that did the course went home afterwards feeling they’d had a good holiday experience, if nothing else.

Rob, on the other hand, managed to get his manuscript published under the name Robin Hunter. “The Fourth Angel” did reasonably well in the UK, but became a best-seller in the USA. For the next few years he did quite well with income from the annual renewal of the movie rights. Eventually a production company actually took up the option and went ahead and made a movie. Directed by John Irvin, it starred Jeremy Irons, Jason Priestley and Forest Whitaker, with Charlotte Rampling and Timothy West in support. The downside was that it had a terrorist plot, and came out in 2001, just before 9/11. While it had already been released in Europe, it didn’t actually come out in the UK or USA until 2003, by which time it went straight to DVD.

It’s still a cracking yarn, though, and serves as inspiration for me!

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