Thriller Writer
the website of author Eric J. Gates
An extract
Writing 2012
Winks 1 - 2012
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Winks 9 - 2012
Writing 2012

An interview with Eric about writing 2012



Interviewer (I): Tell us how you got the idea for the novel.

Eric: It really came about through a series of factors. I didn’t just wake up one day with the basic idea, rather I had a set of concepts I wanted to work together into a thriller. Perhaps surprisingly, I did have the ending crystal-clear from the start of the writing process. I love movies, and could easily envisage the last scene in a darkened cinema on a huge screen – the event then…fade to white! So, in a sense I had a goal. Ancient Egypt has always exerted a strange fascination on me, although I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because my parents met there during WW II. I don’t really know. I also have a healthy habit of questioning things (such as conventionally accepted Egyptian history). I read an article about the Khemitian and then started to draft out a tale in 2005.


I: How did it progress from there?

Eric: Initially in fits and starts. I started to research for a novel, whose original title was going to be “Ra!” (although I quickly changed this as it sounded more like a cheerleader chant than a thriller), and quickly overwhelmed myself with information. I spent about two months sifting through and discarding most of the information I had. I then made notes from the more interesting stuff that remained and started to do targeted research. Then finally, it all came together, pretty much as you’ll see in the novel today.


I: How long did it take you to finish writing the novel?

Eric: The first draft was started in December of 2006 and I finished it early March of the following year. Then I started playing with it.


I: What do you mean by “playing with it”?

Eric: I enjoy writing, so even re-writing and editing are fun things to do. Firstly, I printed the whole thing out on paper and read it, making hundreds of notes in the margins; everything from typos to inconsistencies in the argument. I then rewrote about a third of the manuscript (which was well over 110,000 words long at that time). This made the tale meet an important objective for a thriller – it had to be a rush for the reader. I speeded-up the narrative in many areas, and deliberately slowed things down about two-thirds of the way through, as a respite before the big push at the end. I also shuffled several chapters around. As the tale has basically two connected storylines, changing the way in which these were addressed meant that I had even more control over the rhythm of the novel.


I: So now you had a second draft. Now what?

Eric: I printed-up several copies and sent them to trusted readers so they could give me their feedback. I also sent out a structured questionnaire to focus on details in the novel (such as the ending) and the answers I received provided direction and content for the third draft. When this was to my liking, I sent copies by e-mail for comments by selected people. I also published the novel on and received interesting comments from other writers, including one Egyptologist! Once I had revised the novel in the light of all the comments received, I then had the novel edited and set about making changes according to the editor’s recommendations (where I was in agreement with them, that is).


I: And then?

Eric: Coincidentally I received an e-mail about Amazon’s CreateSpace. I looked into it and decided to go this way. Then I spent some time complying with the submission guidelines and finally 24th November 2009, the novel appears on the CreateSpace e-Store and shortly thereafter on Within a couple of days, without having done any serious marketing yet, copies were being bought.


I: The production of the novel seems to have taken several years…?

Eric: Yes, this one did. Basically this was because of available time constraints and the fact that I was refining the thriller-writing methodology I was inventing along the way. I also had to learn how to use a couple of pieces of software, which I would recommend to all who are struggling to write a novel: Stylewriter® and Character Pro®.


I: So what’s the next step?

Eric: Immediately, I’m working with yourselves to help with the first version of the website, as well as preparing an electronic version of the novel for the Kindle. In my spare time (chuckles) I have started writing the next book, “Full Disclosure”, finished research for the one after that, provisionally called “The Cull”, and started the outline of "The Consultant" which will be the next one after that.


I: What can you tell us about “Full Disclosure”?

Eric: Not much! Seriously I don’t want to leak too many details yet. I can comment that one of the problems I encountered when writing “2012” is happening again with “Full Disclosure”. When I was writing the various drafts of “2012” I found myself having to change certain incidents in the tale as real event started to overtake my fiction. Now, this is starting to happen again. I’m thinking about becoming a Futurologist in my spare time! It makes life interesting though.


I: What can you tell us about the storyline?

Eric: The tale takes place exclusively in the U.S., centred primarily between Washington D.C. and a small township in southern Texas. It’s set in the present day/very near future and has a strong human element. Let’s see, what else can I say without giving anything away? Oh, yes, I’ve also put a big twist in the tail, although it’s not as dramatic as in the case of “2012”, but its implications are even more far-reaching.


I: When will we be able to read “Full Disclosure”?

Eric: I’m aiming for an early 2012 publication date, at the moment.

I: Thank you once again for taking time to keep your readers up to date on your novels.

Eric: Thank you, and above all, thanks to the readers; their enjoyment makes it all worthwhile.



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