DUP Departs and Gavin Mills Arrives
Welcome back, friends, to the fourth installment in the lead up to Mystery Thriller Week, 2/12/17 – 2/22/17, the first ever of its kind of Facebook, a week (give or take a few days!) where readers, writers, bloggers and book reviewers who enjoy a good mystery or thriller will gather together, virtually, to have a look around the bend as to what’s out there in this genre, to read author interviews and book reviews, and to sign in to author “power hours” where authors will be exchanging and interfacing with their audience in real time. (click here for a calendar of events.)
Today my guest is Gavin Mills, a former Chemical Engineer from South Africa with boasts two year’s military service (2nd lieutenant as well as transport officer for 52nd Battalion, Ogongo, Namibia, circa late ‘70s), and a career in IT in his career arsenal before ditching it all to become — wait for it — a professional dancer! He’s performed in the coolest places: South Africa, London, Paris, Spain, and Portugal to name a few, and performing in Moulin Rouge in Paris, Scala in Spain and Canary Islands, and Estoril Casino in Lisbon, Portugal. Dancing led to choreography, stage production and industrial theatre and a bit of political activism when he played a significant role in voter education leading up to the historic South African 1994 elections. Gavin eventually wind his way back to the corporate world where he focused on event marketing and production. Gavin is married and has two kids, two cats, two goldfish, and two books (the other is Seed of Reason) on an indie publishing platform. He also runs two successful companies (do you see a pattern of two’s here?) and can tell a hell of a good story.
SYNOPSIS for DUP Departs
Dup Departs takes Du Preez from the ghettos of Warsaw to the slums of Lagos, Nigeria to behind the scenes glitz and glamour of the first Miss World Pageant at the spectacular Palace of the Lost City, Sun City.
A rollercoaster ride of violence and deception, kidnap and subversion as Ivan Bazkaowzki the Polish underlord will risk everything to protect his business interests, Genghis Kahn the massive Nigerian movie mogul will do just about anything to clear his name, and Dup will do absolutely anything to keep his family alive. Sometimes when the cards are down, all one can do is just keep moving forward…
Sounds like one rocky ride after another, Gavin! And now, on to the interview.
What’s your writing background (schooling), backdrop (where you work at writing), and backstory (what you will tell the world when you become super famous)?
My writing was schooled by my mouth weaving its way out of hairy situations, honed by my ability to relate movies running through my mind, and fed by a life chasing journeys which I never saw coming. I have studied engineering and computer programming, excelled as a dancer on world class stages like the Moulin Rouge in Paris, have choreographed for world class shows – and strippers; saw through hard times as a barman, ran Voter Education leading up to the historic 1994 SA elections bringing to an end the oppression of apartheid; launched and run companies, and invented things from baby changing mats to computer chairs.
I have travelled and lived at both the top and bottom of the food chain – and learnt about both life and people every step of the way. These are the blessings which fed my imagination and filled my pages.
Wow! My life feels a tad bit boring in comparison. Let me ask you a bit of a staid question while I regain my composure. What are your favorite kinds of books?
There are so many books I like. I like books that discuss personal growth and motivation. I love stories about underdogs who persevere and succeed. I s’pose I’m a bit of a fairy tale fanatic who likes happy ever-afters.
Why write mysteries?
Mysteries feed our everyday life. Hell, how many of us know for sure what tomorrow may bring. Taking normal people overcoming the hardships of that give them character – and then turbo charging their stories… What a rush!
Do you see the need for all these sub-genres or do you think we’ve become over-specialized, as in, a story isn’t just a story any longer, but a specific type of story?
The challenge of course is to entice people to read your stuff. There are so many books about so many things. It seems to make sense to compartmentalize readers – to make their lives easier finding things that appeal. …Else many of us would be drowned and lost in a sea of big names and hefty marketing budgets.
Why writing and not ceramics, or gourmet cooking, or anything else really? If not writing, then what?
I’ve done so many things, and have so many stories, writing seemed a logical choice. Besides, cooking and ceramics? Yuck. I hate getting dirty!
From where do your ideas come?
From life and people. Things I’ve seen, experienced or heard. It’s pretty easy to find a seed of an idea and then feed it with the unlikely and grow a forest of intrigue.
I love that simile, “a forest of intrigue.” So what’s your daily routine? Do you work-out while writing, take breaks, or simply gut it out?
Routine with two young kids while running my businesses? What’s that? I normally write at night when family noise has retired. But also every now and then, hit the keypad with relish when a really cool idea takes hold.
What is your favorite place to walk?
Anywhere, as long as it’s with my family.
Do you think writing is a form of therapy and, if so, has it helped you work through anything in particular?
Without doubt. Writing gives me the opportunity to step back from facets of my life and then see alternative ways to cope. Dup was seeded by my life in the current South Africa. We have come a long way, but there is still so far to go. Writing provides the opportunity to ‘see’ how other cultures and individuals may relate.
Tell us about your day job?
Yes. I have a communications company and a manufacturing company producing the coolest writing platform ever. Check it out at http://www.sci-ryder.com or SciRyder Facebook page. I also partner with my wife marketing baby products and am busy developing a range of other products. I like inventing almost as much as I love writing!
If you could quit your job and just write, would you or do you pull inspiration from the other aspects of your life and find it necessary to keep the creative spark going?
I would love to close up all shops and just write. I have so many stories I would love to tell. We’ll have to wait and see what the future brings…
Pantser or perfectionist who meticulously plots out their stories?
A bit of both. I work quite methodically drawing up a flow and development. But once I have my homework done, I get down and unleash. I believe that when writing, keep moving forward, and when it’s done, then come back and turn it into a book worth reading.
Your perfect day – go.
A blue sky, open beach, endless sea, children’s laughter, secure knowledge that my loved ones will be cared for tomorrow, and a sunset I can enjoy to end it, feeling that it was a day worth living.
Love that. Okay, favorite book or favorite author.
My favourite book is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, and favourite authors? So many. Ken Follet and Goeffrey Archer have special places in my heart.
What has been your greatest writing lesson? How about life lesson?
Be brave. Say what you want to say and don’t worry about the response. It is your story. Write it.
Great writing and life advice. So, if you could be a character in any novel, what character would you be?
That’s a hard one. Different characters at different times. I mean surely most people would like to be the hero good guy of the book they are currently reading. But would make it much easier if he was stinking rich!
Favorite childhood memory?
My mini-mite from toddler to man
And the final question, do you think writing can save the world and if so, why?
Yes. We can all save the world when we start looking further than the designer sunglasses on our noses. Social Media has made it possible for us to reach out to the world, and writers have the ability to contextualize realities. The world is not in a good place. The divide between the rich and poor, our fixation with war and violence and disregard for the world we leave for our kids are serious issues. I have to believe we can make a difference – else what’s the point.
Gavin, thanks so much for taking the time. How can readers find out more about you and your work?
Anyone wishing to find out more about me and my books can find me on Goodreads, my FB author’s page and Pinterest:
Want to read more about Gavin Mills? How about an excerpt from Dup Departs?
There would be hell to pay and heads would roll. If there was one thing Ivan was sure of, it was that. A little up and coming actress did not simply snuff it and disappear into the great unknown. There would be questions. They already probably knew she was as high as a kite when she croaked. It didn’t matter if it was an overdose or simply related. Drugs were involved and there would be questions.
And the bitch of it all, he actually liked Rachel with her innocent eyes and victim face – and a body that turned into a machine when the right buttons were pushed with the right chemicals. They would want to know where she got the shit. That was as obvious as the scar on his cheek, earned once when some fuckwit decided to try dance in his parade. And there were those that knew. …Like that lilly-assed excuse for a man of hers – and then there was Louanne.
Louanne. Now that was a piece of meat he would like to fuck. Take those leathers of hers and tie her up, and ride her like a biker bitch should be ridden. Anyway. What of it. It wasn’t his fault. Sure he went around. And sure they partied. But hey, there’s a limit, even in Poland. When he left, she was still alive. Not his indaba as they said in this fucked up place.
But times of turmoil were good for his trade. Business wasn’t where everyone was happy and full of the joys of spring. It happened where there was too much stress, too many problems. …Too much money. And in the right circles where he played, there was more than enough of all, in spades.
p. j. lazos 2.4.17