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  • Stephan Collina

Online radio interview transcript 10 July 2020

Updated: Jul 14

JH - Q

Hi Stephan, it’s a pleasure having you here. We’ve spoken before about your interesting personal history, and about what led you to write Homo Technica. Could I ask you now about other stories you have written, or any other creative works for that matter?

SC - A

Yes, of course. The first novel I wrote was finished in 2005. It’s currently out of print but that’s mainly because I am re-writing it.

Q

Oh, is that something you do a lot?

A

No, never before. I was never entirely happy with this story. I know it’s best not to tinker but this is more of a complete re-thinking of the plot. It's close to being and will then re-published with a new title – Haunted Angel. There’s a short piece about it on my website already. It tells the story of a woman who was forced to have her child adopted when she was a child. The story is really about her subsequent life.

Q

It sounds a little like Philomena?

A

That was a wonderful film and beautifully acted by Dame Judi of course. The starting-point is the same – a forced adoption – but the similarity ends there. My story is really all about her subsequent life and the effect it had on her. And on those around her. There’s a psychological element of course but also a supernatural element. Hence the title.

Q

She’s an angel?

A

Now answering that would be giving away the plot.

Q

Ha, OK! Tell me instead about your second novel

A

That was Muffin Man. I was brought up on Ian Fleming’s books so I’ve always been fascinated by spy stories. And by conspiracies. This novel takes as a starting point that the US must have long-ago set up a secretive, covert organisation to do the deeds the CIA couldn’t be found-out doing. I took as my starting point the 1970s, since American dependence on oil became suddenly obvious with the oil embargo after the Yom Kippur war. It follows the lives and loves of those involved in its formation and early operation, and leads up to an explanation for the inconsistencies surrounding 9/11.

Q

Oh, tell me more on that? On 9/11 I mean.

A

Well, for example there’s the collapse of Building 7, which is obviously a planned demolition. Then there’s the fact that one of the so-called pilots couldn’t fly a plane, let alone guide it in a complex and difficult descent to hit the tower. There are others too. My story doesn’t go into them though. It’s a story about the organisation and its employees, not that event.

Q

It sounds fascinating. What led you to the idea?

A

Well, you probably know that I’ve had some dealings with the security services. Enough to know that we are rarely told the truth. And I’ve always felt certain the US intelligence services – the most sophisticated and well-funded in the world – must have known in advance of the plot. And then I realised that the organisation that managed that must be deep under cover – away from any kind of governmental supervision.

Q

It’s on my list to buy. Now, tell me about your third novel.

A

I’ve mentioned already my love for Ian Fleming’s stories. I enjoy the films too but I’m not that interested in fancy gadgets and flashy sets and stunts. It was the setting and the stories that fascinated me – the way they give a glimpse into another world. The world of the spy. Then I thought: what if he was an American instead? Now there have been plenty of fine American spies all the way up to Jason Bourne. But my feeling was that he would be gutsy rather than sophisticated, world-weary rather than a world-traveller, and faithful rather than promiscuous. Oh, and probably addicted to prescription meds. That’s my character. And his task is to save the world from a long-ago stolen nuclear warhead that's resurfaced. It’s based on some uncomfortable facts too.

Q

Such as?

A

Such as the number of missiles in the world, and how difficult it is to keep track of them all. Especially when countries, empires and treaties come and go.

Q

OK, I’ll add that to my reading list too. Now before you tell me about your latest novel, could you tell me about your other works?

A

Sure. An interesting project I am working on is an animation comedy. It’s in the works but kind of secret so maybe I’d better not tell you about that one! How about I move on to American Parable: that’s in development too but further advanced. It’s the tale of a special forces officer whose operation goes horribly wrong. He resigns and joins the priesthood. Unfortunately his first appointment is to a church in a major drug-importing city in the US. He finds himself in the middle of a turf war and decides to take them all on, using his martial arts skills of course.

Q

You were telling me earlier it’s more than a martial arts picture?

A

Yes, he faces a number of moral issues. I won’t explain them since they drive the plot but let’s just say things aren’t always what they seem. If it’s successful I’d like to see it expanded into a franchise, or even a TV series.

Q

That sounds wonderful. Now there was also another family drama you were working on, is that correct?

A

Yes, Dittlesham Diaries. It’s a play about the people in a seaside village where I lived for a few years, and their rather delightful lives. It also ties in to a recipe series on social media – the lead is a chef. If successful I hope it becomes a TV series. They’re such wonderful, quirky characters they deserve more airtime!

Q

I see a pattern emerging here. In all your stories the characters are your fascination, aren’t they?

A

Very much so. I like to let my readers form their own judgments though. I try to describe their character in enough detail so you feel you know them, but then let the reader or audience fill in the rest.

Q

I can see we’re running out of time to ask you more about your upcoming novel. Perhaps you’ll come back and give us a first-hand account of that once it’s about to be published? And maybe tell us more about some of your interesting hobbies?

A

I’d be delighted. Thank you for asking me.

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STEPHAN COLLINA  AUTHOR stephan@stephancollina.com         © 2020 Stephan Collina