Interview with Ray Sullivan
Author of Skin
Ray Sullivan is a British author born and raised in north Wales. He completed a 24 year military career in the Royal Air Force before returning to north Wales to work in the public and private sector. He is currently a lecturer in aeronautical engineering when not writing. Ray's writing is impossible to pidgeon-hole - his novels range from sci-fi, to military adventure to comedic. His latest book is Hotel California, a dark comedy thriller.
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How did Skin come to be?
- Skin fell out of the WMD debacle following the second Gulf War. Like many, I guess, I was waiting for the 'ta-da' moment following the war when the WMD would be revealed, but of course we're all still waiting. The obvious, and generally agreed, reason would be that the weapons never really existed but the author in me started to ask myself what alternative reasons could be given.
So WMD is the backstory that runs through this book, with full on military overtones drawn from my own military background mixed with a front story that was placed in a near future UK. Throw in a bucketful of ideas that were technically science fiction when I wrote the book but are now fast approaching science fact it is a book full of action and intrigue.
To what extent is Skin based on your own experiences?
- I spent quite a few years working on the Chinook fleet for the Royal Air Force and there are elements of that life sprinkled throughout the book. There are some technical elements in there that should resonate with anyone who has worked on those wonderful helicopters and hopefully will be interesting to those who haven't had the privilege.
I also wove in my post military working experiences - the firm Rory works at undercover is based on an international organisation I worked for, and many of the manufacturing techniques were informed by that experience.
Skin seems to have sex, violence, politics and intrigue threaded through it - is it difficult to keep track?
- It's a complex story - actually two complex stories interwoven - but the actors are well defined and both threads converge. It isn't so complex that you need to backtrack, in fact it is written to keep you reading, turning page after page.
You make good use of locations in the book – there’s a real sense of place. Are these locations significant for you?
- Some of the locations are based on my home town in north Wales, and Chester features as well - I live a dozen or so miles from the Cheshire border and Chester is the nearest city to me - it's not a large place, but packed with history. My London scenes are intentionally generic, but based on real locations I know.
You've been launching promotions on Profile recently with other titles you've been interviewed for. Is there a promotion running for Skin?
- It would be rude not to. Like all of my books it is available in paperback from Amazon and in eBook format from Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and other good eRetailers. It's also available from Smashwords, and I will provide a small number of free copies - first come, first served - through them. Just navigate to: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/40529 and put AF27X in when you get to checkout and you will get your copy totally free.
The promotion had run its course by the time I looked at this - can I get a free copy too?
- The books are on sale for a reason, but I'm up for expanding my reader base. If you are prepared to let me add your email address and details to my email database I'll generate you a code to obtain a copy free of charge. I promise not to share your data with anyone else, nor will I bombard you with spam. Just the occasional newsletter. My author email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
When Rory Callum walked into Kuwait, barely alive and the only survivor of an ill-fated Special Forces operation preceding the shock and awe phase of the second Gulf War, his lack of memory and the violent, unresolved murder of his colleagues ensured that, for Rory, his Special Forces days were over.
Some years later finds Rory working for Max on the edge of the law, often straying across it, as an undercover industrial spy, inserting himself as an agency worker to discover what next year's cornflakes marketing strategy is, or the launch details of a new promotion. However, his new task is more involved; a deep insertion into Korbins to find out what their new, secret discovery is.
Groomed and primed by the gorgeous but sexually disturbed and violently dangerous Melinda, who can manipulate identities and histories effortlessly, Rory finds himself employed as a trainer in Korbins and begins a process that results in him being targeted by murderous hired thugs, being chased by the Secret Service determined to understand what happened in Iraq years earlier and as an unwitting pawn for Fabin, a seriously complicated and evidently mad scientist in a fast paced and violent story that reaches all the way up to the offices of the British Prime Minister.
In the hard-hitting and complex ending Rory finds his memories released as he races to defeat Fabin and his ex Royal Marine employee, Ron Danvers. This hard-hitting and complex story of revenge is based in the near future but heavily underpinned by the events leading up to the second Gulf War, which forms a significant back story. The pace is relentless and fast flowing as the truth behind the missing weapons of mass destruction debacle is revealed.