Author Interview: Nick Elliott

How long have you been writing for?

Eight years

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

Getting started!

What genre do you generally write?


Do you have a favourite author and why?

Len Deighton. I’ve long been fascinated by Cold War espionage and I love his sardonic and often humorous first person narrative brilliantly coupled with “minor key” poignancy.

What is your book called and how did you choose this title?

Black Reef is my third book (following Sea of Gold and Dark Ocean). I wanted to continue the maritime theme established in the previous two, and in the story an old Portuguese fort on the West African coast was built on a reef. Convenient!


A SHIP’S CAPTAIN IS FOUND HANGED IN HIS CABIN: SUICIDE OR MURDER? Marine claims investigator Angus McKinnon is assigned to the case, but when he discovers a falsely declared cargo of military equipment in the ship’s holds, alarm bells start ringing in the intelligence world. What looked routine becomes a perilous mission to thwart a coup d’état that threatens to pit two global superpowers against one another, while a secretive bank with Nazi gold glimmering darkly in its vaults attempts to derail the investigation. And as questions and misgivings mount, what motivates the beautiful Mariana da Cunha to help Angus in the troubled land of her birth? From the Atlantic Ocean to the jungles of West Africa and a final face-off in the vast emptiness of the Sahara, McKinnon must join with a daunting array of military resources, and marshal his own wits to bring down a psychopathic war criminal and those playing him as their proxy.

Has your book been published and how did you go about this?

Black Reef was self-published in November 2018, with formatting by Jo of course.

Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?

Fifteen months

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Plan, certainly, but then don’t be afraid to let the story itself and the characters change course.

Do you use social media to promote your book? If yes, then which social networks do you like the most?

Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon Ads, Bookbub, Goodreads, Pinterest. Each has its pros and cons.

What other ways do you market your book/s?

Website (designed by Jo!), newsletters, word of mouth, but mostly social media.

Have you enrolled your book onto Amazon’s KDP Select and how have you found it?

Yes, I’m with KDP Select exclusively so I get the 70% royalty. I’m more than happy with them.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing! The best way to master self-publishing is to just wade in and learn as you go along. However, I joined a small writing group formed by a self-published author, which was a big help too.

What books do you like to read in your spare time?

Thrillers, history, travel…

What do you feel is the most important stage of writing a book?

I read somewhere that it’s a three stage process: quarrying, sculpting and polishing. That’s how I approach it and all three stages are important.

How did you go about designing the cover for your book?

I found a specialist cover designer online, whose work I liked and whose terms don’t limit the number of changes you want to make. ) Others charge extra. I give him a very specific brief but he’s not afraid to disagree with my suggestions.

Are you writing or considering writing a follow-up to your book?

Yes. I plan to start Book 4 on 1 September. Lee Child starts all his books on that date and it fits in with my own plans, so time to chain myself to the desk.

Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?

I was still working when I wrote and published my first book. I’m retired from my day job now but have other interests so I wouldn’t call it full-time writing. We all need some variety in life.

Check out Nick’s latest book, Black Reef