Today Tom Callaghan stops by with a special character spotlight for his new release An Autumn Hunting. Published by Quercus Books.
No sooner has Akyl Borubaev been reinstated as an Inspector in the Bishkek Murder Squad than he’s suspended for alleged serious crimes against the state.
After an attempted assassination of a prominent minister goes spectacularly wrong, Akyl is a fugitive from his former colleagues and involved with one of Kyrgyzstan’s most dangerous criminals.
On the run, caught up in an illegal scheme that can only end badly, it’s time for Akyl to take a stand for everything he believes in.
| Character Spotlight|
Born in the North of England, Tom Callaghan was educated at the University of York and Vassar College, New York. An inveterate traveller, he divides his time between London, Prague, Dubai and Bishkek.
How do your characters begin in your writing process? Do you have an incline for a name or you know how you want them to look?
My characters don’t emerge fully-formed and champing at the bit. The way I tend to work is to allow action to determine who they are, their strengths and weaknesses, which in turn creates an interaction with other characters. That, of course, leads to more action, so it’s a virtuous circle. The narrative of the books comes out of the characters, but it’s through the narrative that I learn who they are. Chicken and egg, really.
As for how they look, I put in just enough description for the reader to create their own image for each character. Better to say ‘he had a face that had seen many fights and lost most of them’ than ‘he had a often-broken nose and cauliflower ears’.
How do you choose your names?
Most of the names of my characters are simply plucked from the newspapers and rearranged. Akyl means ‘clever’, so I suppose there’s something of a comment on character there. Of course, Kyrgyz and Russian names tend to be long and unfamiliar to Western readers, so I try to keep given names relatively short.
Which character is your favourite to write?
I suppose Akyl, since the books are written in the first person, so it’s easy to show who he is, and why he does the things he does. He’s also probably the moral pivot of the books – he believes in justice, whereas virtually everyone else is out for themselves. He’s honest, but more than capable of cutting corners when he believes it’s justified.
Which character is the hardest to write?
Saltanat, because she is a very secretive character, giving nothing away to any of the other characters, or to the reader. It’s hard to ascribe motives and emotions to someone who refuses to speak of themselves.
Are any of your characters based on a real-life person?
No. Although you could choose to argue that names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Lastly, if you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would you pick and why?
It would have to be Saltanat. The idea of a romantic tete a tete with a beautiful and exotic trained assassin would make for an interesting evening, don’t you think?
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