Thursday, March 6, 2014

Interview: Harry Ledowsky (author of LETHAL METAL)

author imageHarry Ledowsky is one of Australia’s most awarded Creative Directors and has been a judge on every major Advertising Award in Australia. Creator of “Oils Ain’t Oils’ for Castrol, “Aussie Cossie” for Speedo, “Happy Joe Happy” for the NRMA and “The Bundy Bear” for Bundaberg Rum. He was National Creative Director and head of the Worldwide Creative Directors for Young & Rubicam and was named as “the second most outstanding individual in Advertising” by the Financial Review. He has won over 150 National & International Advertising Awards and been nominated to the Australian Advertising Hall of Fame, who said he was: “A master of drama, pathos and humour.” – bio taken from the publisher website
I reviewed Harry’s book LETHAL METAL last week (published by Momentum), you can read the review HERE and visit the Momentum website HERE.

Harry was kind enough to stop by the blog to talk about LETHAL METAL and what readers can expect to read next from Harry Ledowsky.  

(Josh) LETHAL METAL is a multi faceted thriller that takes aim at the navy, terrorist groups, the Russian mafia, and the health care profession. What was the drive for taking these distinct and diverse occupations and merging them together to formulate the core characters and plot of LETHAL METAL?

(Harry) The idea originated from small print article about children who'd found radioactive scrap metal on the roadside in Tallinn Estonia. They took it home and although several of them became ill, one died. So I wondered how this could happen and developed the idea of the kids discovering it, the Russian Mafia who were selling radioactive waste and an al Qaeda terrorist in the market to buy some radioactive material.

Set in Russia (and in its icy waters), LETHAL METAL, for me, was a unique read from a place setting perspective. Why choose Russia? What attracted you to the destination?

I really liked the bleak and unforgiving nature of Murmansk and the fact that it's the home of the Russian Nuclear Submarine fleet. When you do some research on the location you discover that literally dozens of submarines are rotting in the harbour, some have sunk with only the conning towers visible others have been picked clean of some of the outer metal which was sold as scrap. They must look like skeletons. Finally when you read that spent nuclear fuel rods are kept in various tanks, some leaking radioactive waste into the harbour , you get a very gritty picture. I liked that, it added to the colour of the place and the nature of the people.

I really liked the ying and yang feel to Alenkov and Jaafar; one wholly good, the other dark, menacing and dangerously beyond redemption. How important is it for an author to establish this dynamic within the context of thriller where sides are at times a little murky?

I think you really need a villain that, as you said is "beyond redemption" and one the reader really wants to see "get theirs". And for every villain you need a hero. Alenkov provided me with that although as a hero he's not perfect. That I think this makes him credible.

Dr Ross grows into a hero; someone the readers sees initially as a healer and devoted to the preservation of life by virtue of his occupation evolves into a trusted alley of the police and navy alike to rid the threat of further radioactive material being distributed across the world. Was it always your intention to have Ross almost on equal if not higher billing than Alenkov in the hero-stakes (note - this is how it was perceived by this reader)?  

As we travel through life, experiences both good and bad form our attitudes and our character and often steel us for future events . No society can expected to survive let alone prosper if the individual doesn't stand up and fight for what is right and just. Ross initially wasn't interested in hunting down Jaafar because he believed that was Alenkov's job. But with the death of the child he became emotionally involved and committed to the hunt. It took the death of a small boy for Ross to realise that this was his duty as well. I wanted Ross to grow into the man he became.

What can readers expect from Harry Ledowsky? Any plans to write more of Ross and Alenkov?
As long as readers keep buying my books I'll continue to write them. I have another thriller coming out on March 11called Kill Zone, which everyone has said is better than Lethal Metal, I can't wait for you to review it and see if you agree.

In Kill Zone I've created a new lead character that can move forward in other books, Ryan Nash and 82nd Airborne sniper trained major. The synopsis is on the website so if you enjoyed Lethal Metal hopefully you'll enjoy Kill Zone even more.

As far as Ross and Alenkov are concerned they're happily living safely in Murmansk, but if Russia ever becomes the setting for another book I'm sure they'll show up.

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