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EMLYN REES

Tell us about your latest book ĎHuntedí
HUNTED kicks off with hostage negotiator Danny Shanklin waking up in the Ritz Hotel in London. Heís been drugged and dressed in a balaclava, a red-and-white tracksuit and a brand new pair of Nikes. In his hands is a high powered assault rifle. Hearing sirens and screams, he stumbles to the window and looks out to see a burning limousine and bodies all over the street. Heís been set up. The police are closing in. Danny finds himself the subject of the biggest manhunt in history, as he sets out on a nail-biting odyssey through the panicked city streets, in a desperate bid to escape, protect the people he loves and track down the men who set him up - and make them pay.

What is your favourite stage of the writing process?
Planning the book. Iím a real geek when it comes to plotting. I love the mechanics of matching character motivation to storyline, of coming up with dramatic situations that are both exciting and realistic. I get the most fun from putting characters into extreme situations - where you initially assume that theyíre doomed - and then trying to work out how to get them out of them there alive. This was particularly enjoyable with HUNTED, where from the moment we meet Danny Shanklin, heís pretty much fighting for his life.

Which authors have inspired you?
In terms of thriller writing, Elmore Leonard, Jeff Deaver, Harlen Coben and Dean Koontz would have to be up there. All are page-turning gurus. In terms of ambition, Iíd say James Clavell. As far as style goes, Cormac McCarthyís THE ROAD is a masterclass of sparse and forceful prose. Everyone talks about it as a literary classic, but itís a hell of a thriller too.

I developed Paragraph Planet because my favourite stage of writing is editing and reducing the word count to improve a piece. How do your successive drafts change?
I run an editorial service (noveleditors.com) and I also used to write collaborative novels with my wife (Josie Lloyd), so Iíve always been very open to editorial input. Now that Iím writing on my own, Iíll finish the first draft with no input, then Iíll hand it over to Jo and chew my nails steadily down the the quick as she reads it. Sheíll then give me a list of what she likes and what she hates. Iíll then puff out my chest and sulk in equal measure, before getting stuck into a rewrite. Iíll then do a further draft where the whole purpose is to cut any extraneous words and tighten all the dialogue. Then - when Iíve got it as good as I can - itís off to my editor, James, at my publishers, Constable&Robinson. Heís a writer himself, so heís very easy to work with. Heís also blunt and opinionated - which is so much better than working with editors who um and ah about what they like. Heíll focus on the big stuff: whether he finds the storyline credible, where he thinks the pacing is off, etc. Iíll then take a few days to dwell on all that, before usually admitting heís right and attacking that final draft.

How important is digital technology to a writer?
I published my first novel when I was 25 and today is a different world. I had to do all my research back then in libraries. And it was tougher, squinting and microfiche and waiting for books to be returned. I still do some work in my local library now, but everything is so much easier to access. And then of course thereís the fact that weíre all how hooked up to the web at home. Great for instant research, but terrible for time wasting. Iíve just vowed to work off line up until Christmas, when Iím due to deliver the sequel to HUNTED to my publishers. I reckon Iíll work a lot quicker. The other big impact of the digital revolution for me as a writer is how much easier it is to get feedback from readers. Twitter and Facebook are brilliant for this.

Click here for Emlyn's website.