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BOOKTHINK: What book are you reading now?

GORDON-SMITH: Beatrice Heuser's Reading Clausewitz. Clausewitz is key to understanding military theory, but it's a difficult book to read. Beatrice Heuser's book makes an absorbing guide.

BOOKTHINK: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

GORDON-SMITH: I liked Val McDermid's The Grave Tattoo very much, but by and large the new authors I read tend to be non-fiction, such as Richard Holmes and Gary Sheffield's books about the First World War. I read Debbie Holt's Annie May's Black Book, which was great fun and, of course, I can't wait to see what happens to Harry when The Deathly Hallows comes out. Snape has to be a good guy and part of Dumbledor's plans.

BOOKTHINK: What are your current projects?

GORDON-SMITH: I'm writing Jack's third adventure. Magic!

BOOKTHINK: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

GORDON-SMITH: Not really, but when I'm in London I make a point of going to places my characters would have known, such as The Savoy and The Criterion (any excuse!). I had a wonderful time recently poking round the back of The Strand, house-hunting for Jack. I found him a great flat with an excellent local near by! All in the interests of research ... and good beer too. I visited The Western Front - the Somme, Passchendaele and Ypres - recently and was enthralled and moved in equal measure.

BOOKTHINK: Who designed the covers?

GORDON-SMITH: Ken Leeder. He did a terrific job. It looks like a holiday in a book.

BOOKTHINK: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

GORDON-SMITH: After completing it, that's when it got really interesting. Once it was finished, then I could see where it had skidded off the rails. After a suitable pause, I was able to go back to it and re-structure bits, tighten up the plot, get rid of the "flab," and make it the best book I possibly could. I love revising. All the really hard work of making the thing up has been done, and now you can try and make it sing.

BOOKTHINK: Do you have any advice for other writers?

GORDON-SMITH: It depends who they are. I wouldn't presume to offer any advice to published writers, all of whom have been through the mill of getting published. For anyone who is still unpublished, as I was until so recently, I'd say first of all, finish your project, leave it, then revise it where necessary and keep reading and writing! That's the writing part. As far as getting the attention of agents and editors is concerned, go to writing conferences, especially ones that offer one-to-one appointments, listen to what's being said, act on anything that seems relevant and network like mad. And good luck.

BOOKTHINK: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

GORDON-SMITH: Enjoy the book!

Dolores is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the 1920s and has invented a winning formula. All at Book Think wish her well.

A few days later an unexpected package arrives, and inside is a bar of Caley's Marching Chocolate with a note saying, "Something to beat the drum about." On the packaging is a splendid picture of marching band of red-coated guardsmen. Thank goodness Dolores didn't leave me with a fete without chocolate!

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