Title: Enduring Night (More Heat Than The Sun #7)
Author Name & Publisher: John Wiltshire (MLR Books)
Publication Date & Length: October 23, 2015 – 80,000 Words
You’d have thought that Ben and Nikolas would have learnt that their romantic holidays inevitably end up as disasters. A short break on the polar ice sees them trapped in a nightmare of murder and deceit. Neither of them, however, foresees the long-term impact that endless winter has on their relationship. They return with a metaphorical darkness that threatens everything they have created together. Desperate and fearing for Nikolas’s life, Ben makes a bargain with a surprising ally. For the first time, Nikolas meets an enemy more powerful than he is. But fortunately, not as sneaky…
The view from the window hadn’t changed since the last time Ben had studied it—one grey, depressing wing of the building, the car park below, and some scraggly trees, still bare in January. Farther away, he could see the roofs of some houses, and perhaps, if he let his imagination run away with it, the distant hills of Bodmin moor. He didn’t speculate in the realms of fiction much these days. He brought his gaze back to the utilitarian architecture.
The seagull was back, perched on the sill, as it had been day after day. Sometimes, it tapped the window with its beak. Ben was never sure if the gull wanted in, or for him to open the window and join it outside, flying or falling. Freedom either way.
Secretly, Ben thought the gull was an albatross. It was so vast, so impressive, that it seemed inconceivable that it could be an ordinary gull blown in from Plymouth Sound and sitting on the grimy ledge. The first albatross perhaps to make it to England, tossed on ocean currents all the way from the Chatham Islands, lost, alone. If it was, then it was in good company. Ben had never felt so lost or so alone, and he had spent a fair proportion of his life being buffeted by metaphorical winds far stronger than those that prowled the vast oceans of the world.
1) Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
I write sitting by a large picture window that looks out over two mountain ranges. They have snow on the tops for most of the year. At the foot of the closest is a green valley that floods in spring and turns into a silver lake. I can hear the Pacific crashing on the beach when the wind comes from the south. I write on a laptop. If the weather is good, I write outside on the deck by hand in a notebook and type it up later. I usually write in the morning, but then pick it up again in the evening to go over.
2) Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
There is more autobiographic material in my novel Ollie Always, which comes out soon, than others, in that the characters emigrate to New Zealand, as I did. One is ex-army, the other a writer. Their lives blend in and out of mine to a greater extent than any of my other characters, but it’s not actually autobiographical.
3) If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
Interesting question. I’ve worked in television, I’ve worked in politics, and I’ve done 22 years in the army, so I don’t have a burning desire to pick up a new career. However…I can’t deny that if I got the chance, I’d like to be a cowboy. I’d have to have one of those cool, long coats though. And no actual cows, you understand—more a kind of Clint Eastwood, cigar-chewing, laconic, unspecified job of shooting baddies.
4) Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
Don’t make your leading character 42 at the start of a long series. We are both in denial.
5) Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
No, I’m extremely pleased with it as it is. Other than Book 8, it’s my favourite in the series so far. Whether the fans agree with me will be interesting to see…
6) How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
I’m very old, so I’ve seen and done a lot. I’ve had homes in eight countries, traveled to many more, lived in palaces and castles, once spent eight months with a princess, been in two television shows, worked in politics, been nearly drowned, shot at, bombed, and I read a lot, which fills in the gaps when I can’t use something from my own experience!
7) What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m collaborating on a set of mystery stories set around the seasons with three other MLR Press authors. That’s due for January. I’m working on a new stand-alone novel as well—this one is about the eclectic members of a book club.
There will be another Ben and Nik; I’m just waiting for inspiration. Every time I suggest something like a holiday for a plot they look very warily at me for some reason.
8) Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I’m currently living in south island New Zealand, and as my book, Ollie Always (which comes out this year too) is set here and is partially about the dislocation of emigration then, yes, it does influence my writing. Most of my books are set in Devon, which is my real home, and that location is very strong in the novels, particularly Book 8 of More Heat Than the Sun. I think my books are very English. I have an English sense of humour.
9) What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
I read most extensively in the crime genre. I like police procedurals and forensic novels and mysteries. I’ve read literally hundreds of psychological thrillers. I like deviant psyches and the dark side of human nature. I also love apocalyptic novels and have read all the classics in that genre—the darker the better. I’m thinking about writing an apocalyptic novel myself. The last man on earth, who then discovers he actually isn’t…
10) Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
Huh. I’m thinking you mainly interview women? I own one pair of shoes. I have never drunk coffee in my life. I have never owned a credit card, and the last time I went to a shop, other than to get groceries, was about ten months ago—and that was a bookshop. Take away my tea, though, and I might have to think about killing you.
John is English, an ex-army officer, who emigrated to New Zealand and now spends his time surfing and procrastinating on YouTube.