Name: Richard Lyntton
Books written: North Korea Deception, Book 1 in The Deception Series: Hyde Park Deception (Book 2); Leningrad Deception (Book 3 – April 2023)
Genre: Commercial thriller – spy thriller, political thriller
Books Published: From Cottage to Palace, This Was Our Malvern and Upton-Upon-Seven Recollections written by my aunt, Margaret Bramford.
Genre: non-fiction and local history royal memoir
When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer? I have always wanted to be a writer ever since a wrote a “cowboy epic” of about 40 pages, aged 8, in my primary school, London, UK.
I read a lot when I became a professional actor. I love John le Carré, Robert Ludlum, and Daniel Silva. In about 2005, I started writing North Korea Deception, which was based on real-life adventures as a Russian student in Moscow, serving as a captain in the British army, and working as a UNTV producer in Bosnia.
Do you write full-time? If not, do you have an outside job or other responsibilities? Between auditions, yes, I write every day, 2-3 hours in the morning after a 45 min walk along my local creek. I also spend 3-4 hours marketing and working on the other books I am publishing under Malchik Media (which means “Boy Media” in Russian. I have two sons, so I just made up the name.)
Where do you get your ideas for characters and plots? Probably 30-50% is autobiographical in terms of locations and experiences. But I also need a theme or topic I feel passionate about and use historical research to weave the above into a gripping story. I write thrillers, so there must be an exciting, nail-biting, and roller-coaster plot!
Have you ever written yourself into a story? Yes, Jack Steele, the hero in my series, is 30-50% autobiographical.
Tell me about your nonfiction projects. What subjects motivate you? I publish non-fiction (3 to date) in memory of my aunt Margaret Bramford. She wrote ten local history books about: a) my great aunt Florence who served as a ladies maid in the British royal household for thirty years, travelling the world with two Queen Elizabeths – The Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, (think Downton Abbey and The Crown (Netflix), and, b) local social history and biography memoirs from the Worcestershire and Malvern area in UK.
What kind of research and preparation do you do before you write? I read non-fiction books and watch documentaries on the subject(s) I am interested in. e.g. Leningrad Deception is a story based on President Ronald Regan’s “Deception Committee” during the end of the Cold War during the Reagan-Gorbachev period in 1989. I had never heard about or read about the “Deception Committee,” and found it fascinating to weave a plot based around this little-known part of the Reagan-Gorbachev era. I draft an outline of each scene before I write the first draft: POV, Date/time, location, characters, plot and most importantly, the “kick” – what propels the story to the next chapter?
What is your editing process? Do you hire an outside editor? Two things any author or indie author must spend money on – hiring a professional editor and a professional book cover designer. I go back and forth one or two chapters at a time with my editor as I write each draft.
How do you decide on your book covers? Do you outsource? I hire a professional book cover designer. Before I published North Korea Deception, I spent the afternoon in Barnes and Noble screen-shooting thriller covers and the info inside the cover. Then I reached out to some cover designers on LinkedIn and found a great fit.
How did you come up with the title of your latest book? Great Question. My thriller series must have the word “Deception” in the title, so that’s 50% of the job. The rest of the title speaks to the story location, or one of the locations – e.g. North Korea, Hyde Park, Leningrad etc.
What route did you take to get published? Describe your experience. I watched tons of videos on YouTube. David Gaughran’s FREE course, Starting From Zero is fantastic. I also purchased a couple of on-line courses on Amazon ads and Facebook ads.
Have you ever tried to get an agent? If so, what steps did you take? I tried to get an agent for many years and gave up. It might take two years to get an agent because most of them take weeks, if not months to reply to a submission or query. Once they sign you, you might wait another year for them to find a publisher and publish. The process – if you are lucky – might take three years. However, if you do it yourself, once you have a polished, finished manuscript, you can self-publish in about 6 months.
What kinds of things do you do to promote your book? Amazon ads, Facebook ads, my website, “reader regiment” newsletter, and discount promo sites are the main ways I use to market.
Have you ever had a book-signing event? Tell us about your experience. Yes. Local indie bookstores and Barnes and Noble are very welcoming to local authors in my experience. They like to have “real” writers in the store, that bring foot traffic and the human touch to books. They don’t seem to care if you are traditionally or self-published. It’s always a very positive experience for me but you must be “high-energy” and know how to hook your potential readers.
Have you taken writing courses? I did take a writing course many years ago and read every writing book I could find on writing when I first began about fifteen years ago.
Do you belong to a writer’s group? I did try once, but I didn’t find it helpful or useful.
Are you in a book club? I do book signings and talks at local book clubs. People are always very eager and pleased to have a real author!
Do you ask friends/family to read your WIP? I did used to ask a couple of well-selected and carefully chosen writer friends to read my first draft of book 1. Now I rely mainly on my editor for the WIP.
Name three unread books on your bookshelf. The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson; The King’s Pawn by Lucy Hooft; Beyond the Cobblestones by Luisa Livorno Ramondo.
What is the last book you read? Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva
How many pages do you think a book of fiction/nonfiction should be? About 400pages – 90-100K words
What is the riskiest or wildest thing you’ve ever done? I once tried to secretly film General Ratko Mladic, and Dr. Radovan Karadzic, leaders of the Bosnian Serbs in Pale, Sarajevo, during the Bosnia war. I wasn’t a spy, I was filming a video diary for the BBC about life as a United Nations Military Observer in Bosnia. I got caught and my camera was confiscated but considered myself lucky not to be arrested or worse.
What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Writing, editing, narrating the audiobook, and marketing a book TO BE PROFITABLE!
What advice can you give to new writers entering the writing and publishing arena? Be very, very clear about your goals – do you just want to write one book and “be published” or do you want to write several books and make a business. Huge difference.
You gotta love the actual process of writing. You gotta START writing every day. You find a time that works for you, and you gotta do it every single day, or most days of the week. Find a great editor and a great book cover designer. That’s where you spend your money. Never pay a “publisher” to publish your book unless you really understand what is involved and what you are paying for. Writing is 35% writing and 65% marketing. Most so called “hybrid-publishers” do NOT do the most difficult part of marketing your book.
You gotta believe and know that people want to read your stuff! I told myself early in the process – I know there are people out there who will enjoy these stories – I just gotta find them.
Website and social media links:
Facebook: Richard Lyntton Books
YouTube: @richardlyntton – Author Hour with Richard Lyntton – I interview other authors about writing and publishing.
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