NEW authors should always write what they know – or so the old adage goes.
It helps writers to refine their craft, lean on memories and places familiar to them – and when nosy locals catch wind that they might get a mention, it’s a sure fire way to help books fly off the shelves.
From the Albion bartenders to the waiters at Paca’s Chiriquito, they all get a shout out in Our Man in Estepona, a crime thriller written by expat David Spear.
“It is all about the centre of Estepona, the bars, the restaurants, the chirinquitos.” says the 72-year-old author, who’s lived in the town for six years.
“I didn’t have to do any research because I know this place so well already.
“I don’t mention everyone by name, and I don’t slag anyone off,” he said. “It’s a great advert for the place.”
So much so that David hopes that his book will one day go from page to silver screen, and dreams of cameras popping up around the town if producers manage to get their hands of the movie rights.
“I always write for the screen. I want characters that feel real,” said David, who even recruited pal and co-author Debbie Glynn to provide the female voices of the book.
David compares himself to fellow British author JK Rowling, revealing that like the Harry Potter writer, he has had his fair share of rejection letters from publishers.
“Over 200 rejection letters, but I never let it stop me,” said David, who has now launched his own publishing company Old Treacle Press to help support other emerging writers.
And just in the same way Potter fans flocks to the destinations that inspired JK Rowling’s magical series, David hopes that his book will help put Estepona on the map for literary fans.
Not that his book is for children. Our Man in Estepona introduces the character of Clive Grainger, a troubled ex-detective who is determined to live out his retirement on the sandy shores of the Costa del Sol.
But when an old woman in her seventies is shot and killed “for no apparent reason”, Clive can’t avoid being dragged back into his crime-solving past.
“‘I just had a picture in my head of who Clive was,” said David.
“He’s opinionated, likes a drink and has a black bathrobe that has turned grey, it’s now threadbare with tobacco holes in it. And he can’t get rid of it because it reminds him of an ex.
“But he’s done with women now – he’s a bit like me,” David laughed. “He is a romantic and a touch of adventure. You would trust him with your life.”
So, how did David, a Brighton born lad become inspired to write a thriller, bursting with rich and convincing descriptions of the streets of a sleepy Spanish town?
“I worked in casinos since I was 16 and even went to Africa to open one especially for the Mohammed Ali vs George Foreman in Africa in 1974,” explained David, who has already written his second Clive Grainger novel, due for publication before Christmas.
“I was lucky enough to meet lots of incredible people and have some incredible adventures. But, for me, writing books was always the dream.
“I’ve been writing for 20 years now and have never once had writer’s block. Once you in the mood it just flows.”
“It takes me about nine months to write a book. Like a child, one fun night and then boom, nine months later it is born.”