Few fictional adventurers can be as widely travelled as James Bond and Indiana Jones. But Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase, the heroes of Andy McDermott’s bestselling series of action thrillers, must surely come close. The first book, The Hunt For Atlantis, saw them head to locations as diverse as Norway, Iran and the depths of the Amazon rainforest, with subsequent novels taking them to every continent on Earth searching for lost civilisations and battling deadly conspiracies.
The ninth Wilde/Chase novel, The Valhalla Prophecy, throws the couple into action in Vietnam, Sweden and Russia, to name just a few of the countries they visit – but is Andy himself as widely travelled as his characters?
“Not quite, sadly!” he says. “When I wrote the first book I’d quit my job as a journalist and was living off my savings, giving myself until the money ran out to make it as a novelist. Which I did, thankfully, but it was a close-cut thing, which meant I didn’t have any spare cash for holidays. Then after I sold The Hunt For Atlantis, I was on such a tight schedule that I didn’t have time to do any travelling – there was a period when I had a new book out every six months! But now the deadlines aren’t quite as punishing, and I’m fortunate enough to have a partner who loves travel and has encouraged me to go globetrotting with her.”
Have his travels inspired his books? “Definitely. Research can take you quite far, but actually experiencing a place for yourself gives you ideas that you’d never get otherwise. Two of the earlier books – The Covenant Of Genesis and Temple Of The Gods – had scenes set in Rome and the Vatican, but I hadn’t had a chance to visit Italy before then. When I finally did, it was a huge relief that reality pretty much matched what I’d written! On the same trip I also visited the Amalfi Coast, which was stunningly beautiful, and the cliff road leading to Amalfi itself immediately struck me as the perfect location for a dangerous high-speed chase – so that went into my next novel, Kingdom Of Darkness. I’d intended to have the sequence take place in Italy even before I went there, but seeing this incredible scenery for myself gave me so many new ideas, as well as providing all the little details that help sell it as believable.”
Will future novels also be based on Andy’s wanderings? “I’m currently planning out the eleventh Nina and Eddie book, and scenes set in Antigua in the Caribbean and New York will be based directly on my experiences in recent visits. I also went to the amazing country of Iceland earlier this year – and I’m determined to use that in book twelve!”
The Valhalla Prophecy is out in paperback on 31 July. Kingdom Of Darkness is out in hardback, trade paperback and ebook on 28 August, both published by Headline.