Roger Smith's thrillers Dust Devils, Wake Up Dead and Mixed Blood are published in seven languages and two are in development as movies in the U.S. His books have won the Deutscher Krimi Preis (German Crime Fiction Award) and been nominated for Spinetingler Magazine Best Novel awards. His novella, Ishmael Toffee, is available and a fourth novel, Capture, will be out in mid-2012.
From his Q & A with Mike Nicol for South Africa's Crime Beat:
Crime Beat: You have written elsewhere that you ‘heard’ the voice of your character, the CIA operative Bobby Goodbread, talking about capturing Mandela before the rest of the story occurred to you. What were you reading that led to the CIA connection? Or had this idea been around for some time?Learn more about the author at Roger Smith's website.
Roger Smith: Years ago I stumbled upon an obscure web interview with an ex-CIA operative who was undercover in South Africa in the early 1960s, based at the US consulate in Durban. He claims he got wind that Nelson Mandela – on the run from the South African security police – would be in the Durban vicinity on a certain day. The CIA guy alerted the SA cops and Mandela went to prison for 27 years. True story, or so the man says. This stayed with me, and became the catalyst for my Goodbread character in Dust Devils.
Crime Beat: Once you’d got the premise for your story did the rest of it tell itself fairly quickly? Were you aware of an end point?
Roger Smith: Well, it’s always about the characters, isn’t it? The notion of some ex-CIA black ops type, now in his seventies and dying of lung cancer, was appealing to me but only in relation to his son, a forty-something journalist who had been very much of the Left during the apartheid years, but is now battling to place himself in a country that has become (to him) the graveyard of idealism. When he is framed for the murder of his wife and children, and on the run, his only ally is his oldest enemy: his father.
I like that old saw that you should make your characters suffer. And then make them...[read on]
Read about Roger Smith's top 10 crime novels.
The Page 69 Test: Mixed Blood.
The Page 69 Test: Wake Up Dead.
Writers Read: Roger Smith.
My Book, The Movie: Dust Devils.