Blog tour: The Rhino Conspiracy

Welcome to the blog tour for The Rhino Conspiracy by Peter Hain, a riveting and timely thriller infused with the author’s insider knowledge of politics and activism. And today I am very happy to host a Q&A with Peter Hain himself!

Hi Peter! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Rhino Conspiracy! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: The extinction threat facing the rhino from poaching and the serious corruption and international crime behind it. It’s set in contemporary South Africa where a battle rages between those betraying and seeking to uphold the Mandela legacy.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: The basic plot and central characters were in my mind but the plot did indeed evolve. The ending was only hazy when I started – and at one stage I wasn’t at all sure how to maintain page-turning momentum and intrigue late on – but that came to me as I wrote.

Was The Rhino Conspiracy your working title? Either way, how did you choose it?

A: No, it was simply a possible option. In discussion with Sarah Beal of Muswell it seemed both to catch the essence of the story and be catchy.

What kind of research did you have to carry out to write this novel? In general, is research something you enjoy or merely a means to an end?

A: Considerable research into wildlife and poaching, to a lesser extent about state capture and corruption in South Africa with which I’m familiar. Research is a means to an end for me and I had lots of it unused when I was finished, even more when the text was trimmed a bit by my editor and copy editor.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: Two scenes! First the tense climax to the poaching. Second the shoot-out involving some of the main characters.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Quite a lot of my research that had been built in!

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: I have a second political thriller already written and ready for Muswell Press to consider. It swings between China and Southern Africa.  A sequel to The Rhino Conspiracy has also been recently suggested to me by someone experienced in publishing – not something I’d considered before, but is already forming in my mind!

What are you reading at the moment?

A: Two thrillers: Sam Bourne’s To Kill a Man on my Kindle and James Patterson’s The First Lady in paperback.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: As a politician with a profile I am used to handling Twitter but avoid being obsessed by it because otherwise it can become all-consuming. 

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: If you get stuck – as you will be during the writing – jump to and complete a section you can more esaily write, then return to where you left off: usually you will find new inspiration. That’s more true I find of non-fiction (having written or edited over 20 books), but it can work for fiction too.

Thank you for your time!


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