This week I sat down with my main character ‘The Phoenix’ and asked him some of the questions to which I’m sure you are eager to know the answers.

What’s your name? Phoenix

When were you born? I was born Colin Bailey in 1968

Where are you from? A small town in the English West Country, it pretends to be around 10 miles from the Roman city of Bath, maybe fifteen miles from Larcombe Manor, the Olympus Project HQ as the crow flies.


How do your parents feel about your career choice? They are both deceased. My father Adam died in a fire in 1987; my mother Janet committed suicide in 1990

What is your marital status? I’m in a relationship, but I cannot divulge her name. I married Karen Smith in 1985, we separated in 2001. After our divorce I married Sue Owens

Can you tell us a little about your education, work etc?
I left school at sixteen because my mother needed me to earn my keep. My father had left three years before. My only regular job was with Shaw Park Mines. I worked at night, alone most of the time, which gave me plenty of opportunity to make my plans. After the death of her husband, Sue Owens took control of the business and made me Site Manager

Have you travelled abroad much?
Sue and I lived in The Gambia for almost ten years until she died of cancer in 2011. I returned to the UK on business – unfinished business

Is there a message in your work that you want our readers to grasp?
If you do the crime, you pay the price every time

What book are you reading now?
Observer Book of Hand Guns

What are your current projects?
I could tell you but I would have to kill you

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your work?
Meticulous preparation and attention to detail reduces the challenges to an acceptable level. I guess the short answer is ‘No’

How do you work through self doubts/fears?
My previous answer suggests that this has been unnecessary so far

What is your least favourite quality about yourself?
My inability to truly love someone; I loved my daughter Sharon of course. A father’s love for a daughter is special, but the total lack of love my parents showed me meant that I have never felt able to give myself fully to any woman I’ve met. I always hold something back; ready to leave at a minute’s notice, rather than be hurt if that love is suddenly withdrawn, or taken from me forcibly

Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
My daughter, Sharon; because I miss her, every day

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything but sport that has plenty of action. I usually watch with the sound muted; if I’m at Larcombe it’s so I can work. On an assignment it’s because I’m listening for trouble

Best friend?
Until I arrived at Larcombe I had never had a male friend. Karen and Sue were the closest I got to true friendship. Therese was an itch to be scratched at first, but she could have been a friend in time. When I met Rusty at Larcombe he helped train me, he taught me more in three months than I’d learned in fifteen years about how to kill someone swiftly without leaving a trace. Yeah, Rusty’s a good mate

Would you class Rusty as a mentor?
No, not really, the old gentleman at Larcombe is my mentor. We carry out his orders without question because it was him who pulled all these people together in The Olympus Project. The whole project is about preventing the UK from following the downward spiral we were on several years ago. Olympus is focused on stopping us from going to hell in a hand cart

Who is the old gentleman?
Refer back to my earlier comment on ‘current projects’

Favourite Foods?
I have learned to enjoy every meal that is set in front of me. I don’t cook and although I take every precaution, that meal might be my last

Favourite Music?
I rarely listen to anything except Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Iron Maiden and Judas Priest would be my first choice, but it has to be loud. Preferably beyond the threshold of pain

Are there any skeletons in your closet?
Unlikely, but the Pet Cemetery at Larcombe is pretty crowded these days, so we may need to rethink where they all end up


Will there be any further adventures for ‘The Phoenix’ after ‘Nothing Is Ever Forever’ later this year?
I think this interview is over. I’m the dummy, you’re the ventriloquist; I don’t really have a say in the matter do I?

My compilation of the first two novels ‘Conception’ – the birth of ‘The Phoenix’; which gives new readers a chance to catch up with the story so far is a 430 page blockbuster that you can check out for yourself here

Categories: The Long Hard Road