Today’s post focus’s on Hugh Fraser who was unknown to me previously as an author but who’s work I discovered via NetGalley and I am very glad I did because his books are extremely well written and are orginal in content. And I am delighted that he has taken the time to answer some questions so that I can share them with you.
Hugh Fraser is best known for playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie’s Poirot and the Duke of Wellington in Sharpe. His films include, Patriot Games, 101 Dalmatians, The Draughtsman’s Contract and Clint Eastwood’s Firefox. His theatre work includes David Hare’s Teeth’n’Smiles at the Royal Court and Wyndhams, and various roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Harm is his first novel and has been followed up with Threat.
These are the questions I put to Hugh.
- Your books are different to what I expected (in a good way), where did the inspiration come from for them? I think the stimulus for Rina’s background in the deprived area of Notting Hill in the 1950’s came from the black and white photographs of Roger Mayne, who documented the street life of the area during the post war period. I have always collected Rogers and also Bert Hardys photographs, particularly the ones featuring Teddy Boys, Teddy Girls and children playing in the streets. I also lived in that part of Notting Hill when I was at drama school in the early nineteen-sixties and remembered the atmosphere of poverty deprivation, prior to the demolition of the tenements and the building of the tower blocks and low rise council properties, and also the racial tension of the time. Mexico, which is the location in the 1974 part of the story, seemed like a suitable setting for Rina to be on an assignment as the illegal drug trade was booming at that time and President Nixon was waging his war on drugs.
- You have had a varied and successful film and TV career – but what prompted you to move into writing? I’ve always done some writing on the side while working as an actor. I wrote a couple of plays and radio scripts, years ago, which almost got produced, but didnt make it in the end, so I decided to try to write a crime novel after I did a short story writing course with Guardian/UEA.
- Having worked with so many stars of stage and screen, do you ever get star struck? Absolutely! When I walked on the set with Clint Eastwood I was so nervous I could hardly speak, but of course he turned out to be the kindest , most supportive director one could wish for and a man with a great sense of humour. Likewise Glenn Close and Harrison Ford.
- Did you know from any early age that you wanted to be an actor? I always enjoyed acting in school plays and decided that I wanted to try and be an actor as a career when I was about fifteen.
- Do you have a favourite Agatha Christe book and who if not Captain Hastings would you have liked to have played on screen? My favourite Agatha Christie book is “Curtain” – the final Poirot novel. The plotting is wonderfully intricate and detailed and – Spoiler alert!!! – the fact that Poirot himself kills the murderer, because he believes he is too clever ever to be caught, is brilliant. I would like to play the murderer (so brilliantly played by Aiden McArdle in the TV film), in the remake please.
- Who would be your choice of actress to play Rina should the opportunity arise? And can we look forward to another book? I’d love the actress Vanessa Kirby to play Rina, if she would be interested. And I’m starting on the third book any minute now.
- And finally, which 4 fictional guests would you invite to a dinner party? Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games), John Self (From Martin Amiss’s Money), Dean Moriarty (On the Road by Jack Keruak and Elizabeth Bennet.
Hope you enjoyed the Q and A’s as much as I did, and thanks for reading imo some very interesting answers. Thanks Hugh and good luck with the 3rd book
My review for Threat