#AuthorFeature ~ Stephen Bentley #Undercover #Interview

Today on Love Books Group, Stephen Bentley is here with a wee interview today. Author of Undercover, The Inside Story.

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Operation Julie is still today the point of reference for all British undercover operations and training. In 2011, the BBC claimed this massive and unique police operation was the start of the war on drugs.

Stephen Bentley was one of four undercover detectives engaged on Operation Julie, one of the world’s largest drug busts. Together with his undercover partner, he infiltrated the gang producing around 90 percent of the world’s LSD and uncovered a plot to import huge quantities of Bolivian cocaine into the UK.

The underworld knew the author as Steve Jackson. How did he successfully infiltrate the two gangs? Did he have to take drugs, and how did ‘living a lie’ affect him?

Discover the answers and get inside the mind of Steve Jackson, undercover detective.

Interview 

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Stephen is a former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop and barrister (trial attorney). Now a writer, author and Huffington Post UK blogger.

He now lives in the Philippines. That country and the local driving habits gave him the inspiration to write his first book ‘How To Drive Like An Idiot In Bacolod: An Expat’s Experiences of Driving in the Philippines and How to Survive.’

Stephen’s memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story’ was first published in September 2016 and rapidly became an Amazon UK #1 Best Seller in two categories. It tells of his undercover role in infiltrating one of the world’s largest ever drug rings.

Keeping in tune with the undercover theme, Stephen is currently writing his debut novel based on his undercover cop days.

When he is not writing, Stephen follows Liverpool Football Club from afar and enjoys the beaches of the Philippines. He is often to be found on the beach with a book and a cold beer.

  • What book first ignited your love of reading?

I would have to say ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Jonathan Swift. I was probably about eight-years-old and it simply fascinated me. I soon moved on to many of Charles Dickens’ books.

  • If your current book had a theme song, what would it be and why?

I am going to cheat a little and make it my last book, ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’ So it has to be The Clash and ‘Julie’s Working For The Drug Squad.’ It can be no other!

  • Which book have you read more than once?

‘Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens. Once because I had to at school and since because I love it. What an opening! “Best of times… worst of times…” Wow!

  • Do you plan your writing or go with the flow?

Plan, plan, and more planning. Once I have the plan and structure then I let the creative side take over. I follow K.M. Weiland’s advice in outlining and structuring a novel and for my next book I plan using Blake Snyder’s ‘Save The Cat’ model with beat sheets exactly how the top screenwriters do it. It can easily be adapted to novel writing instead of a 110-page movie script.

  • Do you enjoy the editing process?

Yes, and no! Yes, because I learn things. No, because it is tedious but necessary.

  • If you could what advice would you give your sixteen-year-old self?

Don’t be so self-conscious.

  • Do you read your book reviews?

Yes. Mostly with pleasure as most are pleasing. One or two ridiculous reviews initially angered me. But after a few days, I get over them.

  • What is your opinion on social media and it’s unique gift of connecting writer and reader instantly?

A necessary evil. I enjoy it but it is time-consuming despite my use of certain tools to help me.

  • If you could give one literary villain a happier ending, who would you pick and why?

Oh! Good question… it has to be Bill Sikes from ‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens

Hard to find much to say in his favour. He was a thief, child abuser, murderer of a poor-but-good-hearted prostitute, and a beater of dogs. Surely he deserved some happiness in his miserable life?

  • If your book could come with a preemptive message for the reader, what would yours say?

My undercover cop memoir would have one such message for one particular reader. It is not about the hippie era! It’s about the issues of being a pioneering undercover cop on one of the world’s largest drug busts.

  • What are you currently reading?

I have at least three books in the TBR pile but have recently started ‘Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia’ by Robert Fear. Asia is a continent that fascinates me and I now live there – in the Philippines.

  • Where did you get the inspiration for your current novel?

From real-life events in my undercover days. It’s the first of a trilogy of shorts (about 40,000 words each). Part of the proposed blurb explains all:

Steve Regan, undercover detective, is tempted by the riches of drug smuggling so he can be free of debt and petty police bureaucracy. He does one deal, which backfires, and he is shot and left for dead by Bill Morris, a Miami-based drug lord, but recovers in time to track down Bill, who is about to murder a judge.

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