Sean Black grew up in Scotland, studied film in New York and has written the screenplays for many of Britain’s best-known TV dramas.While writing Lockdown, he undertook a gruelling 24-day close protection course encompassing two weeks in an army camp in Wales, followed by a week of firearms training in the Czech Republic. To research his next novel, Deadlock, he 'did time' in Pelican Bay Supermax prison which is home to some of America's most violent inmates.
- Lockdown (2009) Ryan Lock #1
- Dead Lock (2010) Ryan Lock #2
- Gridlock (2011) Ryan Lock #3
- The Devils Bounty (2012) Ryan Lock #4
- Lock and Load (2012) Ryan Lock Novella
- The Innocent (2014) Ryan Lock #5
- Post (2014) Byron Tibor #1
- Fire Point (2014) Ryan Lock #6
- Budapest/48 (2015) Ryan Lock Novella
- Blood Country (2015) Byron Tibor #2
- The Edge of Alone (2016) Ryan Lock #7
- Second Chance (2017) Ryan Lock #8
- Winter's Rage (2017) Byron Tibor #3
Interview with Sean - January 2014
Sean Black is the author of a series of books featuring TY Lock and is now due to release his first standalone novel entitled Post. Sean’s led a very interesting life so far, and to give you guys and idea about what I mean here are some facts about Sean from his website.
- You graduated from Oxford with a Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
- You spent a Summer teaching in a Housing Project in New Orleans
- You followed former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, David Duke’s campaign for US Senate
- You won a place at Columbia University to study for a Masters in Fine Arts in Film
- You have been a teacher
- Between 1999 and 2008 you wrote over 70 episodes of some of Britain’s best-known television dramas
- You enrolled on an intensive 24 day Body guarding course
- For research for your second ‘Lock’ novel you spent time in California’s Supermax Prison Pelican Bay
Of course we will get to the nitty gritty with the new book, but sometimes when an opportunity presents itself I HAVE to ask the questions I have been dying to ask (and they aren’t all necessarily related to the books)!
Q1 BCB: Sean, for people that don’t know much about you, it may help for them to realise that you have certainly moved about a fair bit. Having grown up in Scotland, you then spent some of your childhood in the USA (where you eventually met your wife to be), before upping sticks and moving to England. So, where is home for you now?
Sean: We live just outside Dublin in Ireland. We have been here about ten years now, and it's where we have brought up our daughter. Ireland has had a turbulent time, like so many places, but I still absolutely love it. The people are what make it. There is still that real sense of community that has been lost a little in other places.
Q2 BCB: Okay, so what I REALLY want to know is after a 24 day Body Guarding Course, do you reckon you could pull a ‘Kevin Costner’ and REALLY save the day?
Sean: Depends on whether I've had my morning coffee or not. I grew up in central Scotland so I can take care of myself if I have to, but really what close protection is about is making sure that you stay out of bad situations in the first place. Luckily, I don't have to do much J-turning of cars in Tesco car park, or elbow striking in the queue at the post office.
Q3 BCB: Ever since I have read Lockdown I have wondered about your time ‘researching’ (you are a little crazy me thinks) at Pelican Bay. So what was it like?
Sean: Yeah, I get that crazy thing a lot. I tend to have moments of genius (idiocy) like that and make the mistake of telling a publisher and then I have to go do it. It was very much as I describe it in Deadlock (the second book in the series). Very grey, very frightening with a real edge to the atmosphere. 70% of the inmates are never getting out, they have life without parole, and the gangs are very powerful. As the Lieutenant who showed me round said, “In here a murderer is no one special.”
Q4 BCB: Ryan Lock (who is most definitely my fictional crush) and Ty Johnson are the two characters that feature in your series of books. Are they based on anybody, or a work of your wonderful imagination?
Sean: Ryan is like an American version of the real life close protection guys I know who work that circuit. Ty is kind of like someone I have met too, but I'd better not say more than that.
Q5 BCB: Tell us a bit about your new book and when it’s out.
Sean: It's called Post, and it's a high-concept thriller slash love story about a special forces operator coming home after a decade of war. The twist is that perhaps he's not quite the person we think he is. Maybe he's not a person at all? Can't say more than that.It is the most ambitious book I've written to date. For now it's a standalone but if it does well it may be another series.
Q6 BCB: Now you are on to your fifth book release, do you feel like the job gets any easier, or do you get worried you will run out of ideas?
Sean: The writing is still as hard. You start every book thinking it will be the best thing you've done. Halfway through you are suicidal and convinced it's crap. Then you push on and you end up with something in between the two.
Q7 BCB: Do you get nervous before a new book comes out? I also like to know how much do reviews matter? Do they make things worse or better for you as the author?
Sean: The only thing I care about is what readers think. That's it. Whether a publisher likes it, or my agent, matters far less than the reaction of the readers who buy my books.
Q8 BCB: Is writing your full time job? I always wonder how your days work. Do you sit at your desk like a normal 9-5 day, or do you suddenly get inspiration and find yourself up in you PJ’s scribbling ideas down? (Okay, maybe not PJ’s but you know what I mean!)
Sean: Yes, I've been full time since 1999 when I got my first TV gig at Brookside and quit teaching. I start early, at around 7 and try to do about four hours solid writing a day. But there is a lot of other tasks involved, and I'm very hands on in terms of responding to email and doing marketing. If I have copy edits I can be at my desk all day and into the evening.I have too many ideas, that's the problem. The Lock series has plenty of life in it. I'm going to start taking them outside the US in a few more books. Then I have two more standalones I want to write, Byron Tibor may be a new series, and I also have plans for another series with a female protagonist set in the US that will be a little bit Janet Evanovich in tone. Oh, and I have started writing books for kids. The first one is out, it's called Extolziby Gruff and the 39th College and nobody is buying it so if you read this, help a brother out :)
Q9 BCB: If you weren’t writing your novels, what would you be doing now as a job? (I reckon it could be something as do-able as being part of the CIA with you Sean :-)
Sean: I'd probably be back working in TV. I do miss it not that I don't actually have to do it anymore.
Q10 BCB: What is the most recent idiotic/embarrassing thing you have done? (You see, I can’t help myself, I’m like a child with these questions)
Sean: I was almost arrested at LAX once. Surrounded by six armed cops. Not my fault, honest, but being frogmarched through the terminal was embarrassing.
Q11 BCB: Seeing as I have a Fictional Celebrity Crush I HAVE to ask this. If the books were turned into a movie, would play Ryan Lock on the Big Screen?
Sean: Gerard Butler, if he can ever stop chasing women long enough to sit down and read it. You hear that, Gerard?
Q12 BCB: DO you get time to read and if you do, who are your favourites?
Sean: Yes, I do read, but mostly non-fiction these days. In terms of crime and thrillers, I love Lehane and Connelly. Robert Crais is terrific and just gets better with every book. And, my boy, Gregg Hurwitz is still up there. Rebecca Cantrell is also awesome. Why isn't she a star in the UK? It makes no sense.
I want to say a huge thank you to Sean for answering my questions. I'm currently reading the new novel 'Post' and am absolutely GRIPPED!