Friday, November 30, 2012

Lessons Learned on the Way to Top: A Q&A with Chris Angus Author of London Underground

London Underground

Chris Angus is the author of the historical fiction thriller London Underground that races to a dramatic ending. Writing Daze caught up with Chris recently and asked him some questions about his book. Find out how he weaves a story about a secret treasure from the days of Henry VIII and its connections to Nazi Germany. 

About London Underground

Beneath the streets of London lie many secrets. Subterranean rivers carve channels through darkened caverns. Hidden laboratories and government offices from WW II offer a maze of corridors and abandoned medical experiments. Lost also in the depths are the contents of a looted Spanish galleon from the days of Henry VIII. And deep within lies a Nazi V-2 rocket that contains the most horrible secret of all.
Carmen Kingsley, in charge of London projects for the British Museum, and Scotland Yard Inspector Sherwood Peets race to unravel the mysteries before the great city succumbs to a frightening disease from the age of the Henrys called the English Sweat.
Unknown to them, their partners in tracing the disease began their own efforts more than sixty years earlier during WW II. A top secret British mission is sent to the far northern regions of Norway to stop the Nazis from developing a biological weapon that will be airmailed to London via the V-2 rocket.
It all comes to a climax beneath London with the discovery of a horrifying species of genetically altered “super rats” that threaten to invade London and the British Isles in a manner more horrifying than anything ever envisioned by the Germans.
London Underground can be purchased through all major on-line book stores as well as with as an ePub, Kindle or Print edition at:

Welcome to Writing Daze Chris,

            It’s a pleasure to be a guest on Writing Daze. Every chance to make contact with my readers is a valuable opportunity and always a learning experience as well. I learn something every time and it helps to inform my writing.

Q: Who or what motivated you to write the book?
            I fell in love with London a very long time ago. I first visited the city in 1963 with my parents. The highlight of that visit was getting to see the just released movie Cleopatra on the big screen in central London. Liz Taylor’s bath scene made a big impression on a thirteen-year-old! I also vividly remember how much I enjoyed riding on the tube and especially on those long, old wooden escalators down into the depths. That was my first exposure to the underground. London has figured greatly in scenes in many of my books, but London Underground was my first attempt to have an entire novel centered on the great city.

Q: What types of books do you read and how have they influenced your writing?
            I read a great many science journals and also a lot of history. I think we are living in one of the most active periods with regard to the development of scientific knowledge. It is endlessly fascinating. I got this interest from my mother who wrote a series of murder mysteries in the 60s and 70s. She was a university professor of English but had a very inquisitive mind. She was interested in everything but especially the sciences. She used archaeology, anthropology, physics, astronomy and oceanography. It all went into the mix, and I always loved that about her work. It gave the usual mystery/suspense novel a whole new dimension. I’ve never stopped using that formula. It keeps me interested and I think that interest is telegraphed to the reader.

Q: Are there any specific things in your past, which influenced London Underground?
            As I said, my early love for London and history were major influences on the book. I’ve long been interested in the history of World War II. Nowadays, wars often seem to take place in tiny, remote countries. World War II encompassed the entire globe and many nations. The character of the British people is endlessly intriguing, how they managed to take their tiny country and influence much of the rest of the world. How they fought back against the forces of tyranny, even when they were virtually alone. London is a city redolent with history. One finds it around every corner, and I can walk for weeks and weeks and never tire of it.

Q: What have you learned about the writing or publishing process and how has it helped you as a writer?
            This can be a frustrating industry. It has been changing quickly as a result of the digital age and the consolidation of publishing houses. Things move glacially. It’s a tough way to make a living, so you want to keep your day job while you figure it out. You have to stay positive and keep moving on to the next project. As soon as I finish a book, I begin the next one and try not to think about the one just finished that has gone out into the ether of editors and agents and publishers.  I have writer friends who never learned to do this. They have spent a decade or more on one book, rewriting endlessly, going to workshops, seeking out people to critique it, etc., etc. Just get on with it.

Q:  Describe your book in Five words or Less?
            A chilling romp through historic, subterranean London.
           Oh well, that’s seven words.

Q: What makes your main character impatient or angry?
            One of my main characters is Carmen Kingsley, in charge of London Projects for the British Museum. She suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism that makes it difficult for her to read the emotions of other people. But it can also be a strength by helping her to focus intensely on things that seem important, to the point of obsession. She has been successful in museum hierarchy, which never ceases to amaze her, since being able to understand people is a big part of what an administrator does.

Q: Now that London Underground has been published do you have another book in the wings?
            I have two other historic thrillers out this year. The Last Titanic Story tells an incredible tale of previously unknown Titanic survivors, lost treasure from the depths of World War II and a chase across the frozen ice fields of Greenland. Flypaper concerns the search for the mysterious origins of a pandemic that begins in China and sweeps the world). I have two other thrillers that are now complete and I’m working on another.

Q: Have you ever met any famous authors?  If so, how did you react?  If not, who would you want to meet?
            I don’t tend to seek out famous people generally. They probably don’t want to hear from me. That said, I have corresponded with many authors whose books I enjoyed. As my mother used to say, “It keeps the mails interesting!” I’ve corresponded with Barbara Tuchman, Edward Abbey and John McPhee, among others. My parents produced five anthologies that they wanted to use in their college courses in the 1960s and 70s. When I was cleaning out their house after they died, I found a file filled with letters from authors they had written to ask for permissions to use one of their stories. It was a treasure trove for a writer. Handwritten and signed letters on many interesting topics from the likes of Saul Bellow, Wright Morris, Heinz Huber and Thomas Pynchon, among others. I still have them, carefully preserved.

Q: Do you have any hidden talents? 
            I like to believe I have a few talents, but I had to put on my thinking cap to come up with one that is hidden. Usually if I have a talent, I don’t mind…ahem…other people knowing about it. I’m pretty good with a Yo-Yo, and I can juggle, but few people know about these, as I tend to only do them at home as a way to avoid sitting down at the word processor.

Q: What are three things that your fans would be surprised to find out about you?
            You mean beyond the Yo-Yo?  My father was Canadian, and I consider Nova Scotia my second home. We have a cottage there where I have spent parts of every summer since I was a baby. It has some of the best sea kayaking in the world.
            I never write anywhere except my desktop computer. People often ask if I write in exotic places I have visited. The answer is no. When I am someplace exotic, I want to focus on experiencing the moment. I admit to taking notes, however, if I learn something that fits well in whatever book I happen to be working on.
            I began writing fiction over thirty years ago, but my early writing successes were in non-fiction. For years, I wrote a newspaper column about outdoor and environmental subjects, which was later expanded into my first book.

About Chris Angus
"Chris Angus specializes in writing suspense thrillers/mysteries within a historical context, with subject matter ranging from mysteries surrounding the Titanic, World War II, new DNA discoveries, the threat of mutating pandemics and the debate between the world views of creationism and basic science.       
Chris is also the award-winning author of several works of non-fiction, including Oswegatchie: A North Country River (North Country Books--2006), The Extraordinary Adirondack Journey of Clarence Petty: Wilderness Guide, Pilot and Conservationist (Syracuse University Press—2002), Images of America: St. Lawrence County (Arcadia Press—2001), and Reflections From Canoe Country (Syracuse University Press—1997).

While London Underground is a work of fiction, much of Chris’ precise writing style he showcases with his nonfiction comes through. Chris released earlier this year his first fiction novel, The Last Titanic Story, also available from Iguana Books, followed by his second thriller Flypaper, from Cool Well Press. London Underground is Chris’ third novel for 2012.

London Underground and The Last Titanic Story are available from Iguana, Amazon and Barnes and Noble on-line book stores. Flypaper is available from Cool Well Press."

Chris' author site is:

London Underground can be purchased through all major on-line book stores as well as with as an ePub, Kindle or Print edition at:

His first novel, The Last Titanic Story, can be purchased through all major on-line book stores as well as with as an ePub, Kindle or Print edition at:

Chris Angus can be found on Goodreads and Facebook at

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