In The Spotlight Today: Nick Hirst!
How old are you and where are you from?
I’m 66 years old and originally come from Upper Halliford, a village in the southwest suburbs of London, England, but now I live in a small village some 25 miles north of Prague in the Czech Republic, right in the centre of Europe.
Tell us more about your book!
Inspired by true events, ‘The Shape of Rain’ is set over two weeks in September 2002 as the UK and the USA were gearing up for war in Iraq. At the time, the message in the media was that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. In the book, a coded message hidden in the lyrics of a thirty-year-old song provides the clue to a shocking secret connecting the upcoming war with man first setting foot on the moon. The song is called ‘The Shape of Rain’. Readers get to see the lyrics and have the chance to solve the riddle before the answer is revealed.
An innocent chat at a baggage carousel at Prague airport catapults music journalist Jack Conrad into a race against time to decipher the secret of this song.
His urgent quest takes him from Europe to the Saudi Arabian desert and ends in Seattle while key witnesses meet sudden, apparently accidental, or self-inflicted deaths. Conrad’s resilience and determination in the face of overwhelming adversity reveals a sinister global network and uncovers two previously unsuspected high-profile murders.
Mixing real life events with totally plausible fiction, ‘The Shape of Rain’ explores the relationship between governments and media and how we should not believe all that we read see and hear.
You’re sharing an elevator with a big name publisher. Pitch your book using 20 words or less!
Through a coded message in a song, a journalist uncovers a conspiracy of media deception linking the Iraq war to the moon landing.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
It looks like the inside of my head because I’m always thinking about what happens next in my current project whether it be a book or an article. So it doesn’t much matter where I am. But, when it comes down to putting it down on paper – or typing it into the computer – I have a small home office, discrete from the rest of the house. The room has a great view over a valley and a good sound system as I like to play rock music as I write.
If your book was turned into a movie, who would play your main characters?
Great question! The main character is Jack Conrad, an English music journalist on the cusp of middle age. Matthew Rhys (The Americans, Perry Mason) could perhaps convey the mix of bewilderment, vulnerability, and, ultimately, determination necessary. Rhys is actually Welsh, so could pass happily as English. The second lead is a larger than life maverick American oilman, Dallas ‘Mad Dog’ Seger who Conrad meets in Saudi Arabia and is essential in helping Conrad on his quest. This has to be the ubiquitous Samuel L. Jackson who has the strength of personality and charisma to bring ‘Mad Dog’ to life! The main female role is a quietly intelligent Czech intern whose help and insight prove invaluable to Conrad. I see Alicia Vikander in this role. There is the main villain, but their identity is secret as it will come as a surprise in the denouement, so to nominate an actor for the role could perhaps act as a spoiler. However, there are other bad guys, one of whom, a ruthless hitman could be played well by Edward Norton.
You’re stranded on an island, and only one character from any book can save you. Who are you picking?
It’s got to be the Mad Dog. For him failure is not an option, he’s big, strong, fearless and a skilled microlight pilot – what’s not to like?
Besides being a writer, what else do you enjoy?
I spent many years as a TV and radio presenter and producer for the BBC specialising mainly in music programmes – so I have always enjoyed making programmes and, in particular, music shows. This often involved travelling around the world interviewing rock stars, so was a lot of fun! And I enjoy most forms of music, especially rock. Away from work, I like cooking (I’m a vegetarian) and now, with my house on a hill in the Czech Republic, I spend a lot of time gardening. I also enjoy time with my family and watching my two young kids grow up.
Do you have any upcoming book promotions?
Not in the foreseeable future – I am very busy working on my next novel - ‘Second Spider on the Right’
Where can readers buy your book? Post a link!
At the moment it’s exclusively available on Amazon. If you’re in the USA this is the link:
Or you could go to the dedicated website: https://theshapeofrain.wordpress.com/
Post your social media usernames!
On Twitter - @NickHirst26 and on Facebook there’s a dedicated ‘Shape of Rain’ page -
I also have a lifestyle and review blog under the name undercoverofthewrite -
Visit the submission page to book your spotlight feature!
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