Interview with Alex Mahon

Author of False Move

A.T. Mahon has written features and stories for various publications and was a joint winner in the 'Scotland into the Future' contest run jointly by Canongate and The Sunday Herald in 1999. He now lives in Spain with his wife and cat.

When he's not teaching English to students, whose high level of English surpasses most native speakers, he treks in the Pyrenees, or unsuccessfully fends off the cat who occupies the chair at his writing desk when not in use. Advice on how to entice him off it would be greatly appreciated.

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How would you describe False Move to a new reader?
  • A biker gets fed up with his life and decides to turn it around.
To what extent is False Move based on your own experiences?
  • I've seen many like him who realsie that being big and bad doesn't get you anywhere.
False Move is a good example of this genre. Who has inspired you?
  • Not inspired, but observed. There was a group of bikers where I lived and they all turned legit when they got older.
You make good use of locations in the book – there’s a real sense of place. Are these locations significant for you?
  • I use to live there. My mother still does.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors? How would you advise a new author about traditional publishing versus self publishing?
  • Keep trying.
Which authors do you most admire? Which qualities, in particular, have influenced your writing?
  • Conan Doyle, Ken Follett t oname but a few
False Move is a thrilling read, a real page turner. How important was it to you to write with pace and energy?
  • Action scenes make for excitement.
If False Move were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
  • Anybody who looked the part.
How have readers responded to False Move
  • It's just out so I'll have to wait and see.
Where next? What are you working on now?
  • Just finished another thriller. Now I'm working on a fantasy.
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Former Hell’s Angel Jake Murray turns his life around when he gets out of jail and returns to the mean streets of Glasgow. But society is unforgiving for an ex-con with a record of violence. Limited to low-paid, part-time jobs that barely cover the cost of living, he sets up shop as a private investigator and downloads a fake license to prove it.

One day an ex-teacher hires him to find her missing granddaughter. She offers free advertisement instead of cash as she can't afford his moderate fee. He agrees and risks jail time as he uses violence to get answers.

He attracts the attention of the city’s biggest gangsters who threaten to kill him unless he gives up the case. But he has discovered the girl features in a snuff film. It leaves him with an ultimatum–fight or flee. An easy decision beforehand, but now he has hooked up with an old flame and wants to stay alive.

What begins as a straightforward case becomes a complex battle between cowardice and bravery, and he finds himself torn between love and honour.