A former RAF intelligence officer talks to Posted about his second novel Face Value which features many Huntingdonshire landmarks.
Ian Hooper, who uses the pename Ian Andrew, was born and raised in Larne, Northern Ireland, and now lives in Australia. He joined the Royal Air Force as a technician and was posted to RAF Wyton in 1989. He lived mostly in Warboys but also set up home in St Ives and Needingworth during his time here.
The main characters for his new book are Kara Wright and Tien Tran, former members of an elite intelligence gathering team active in Afghanistan, Iraq, and places still classified. They now make their living through Wright & Tran, a PI service that tracks errant spouses, identifies dishonest employees and, just occasionally, takes on more significant cases that allow them to use all their former skills.
When siblings Zoe and Michael Sterling insist that their middle-aged parents have gone missing, Kara and Tien are at first sceptical and then quickly intrigued; the father, ex-intelligence analyst Chris Sterling, appears to be involved with an enigmatic Russian thug.
Using less than orthodox methods and the services of ex-colleagues with highly specialised talents, Wright & Tran take on the case. But the truth they uncover is far from simple and will shake Zoe and Michael as much as it will challenge Tien and anger Kara.
Ian says he has always enjoyed writing, but it was more of a hobby until he retired and he published his first book, A Time to Every Purpose, which was released last year.
“I knew I would eventually write a book, but it wasn’t until I had left the RAF and relocated to Australia that I found the time to start my first novel. It took a few years to finish but in real terms, I suppose six-months of actual writing. A Time To Every Purpose received a positive critical reception and I found myself wanting to write a series of books that would allow me to develop characters over a longer time. Having always loved detective genres, it seemed natural to invent my own. I decided to take some time off work and start on the Wright and Tran series of detective novels, the first of which, Face Value is out now.”
Ian says his love of Huntingdon and the surrounding area inspired his writing.
“It was a great time spent in the company of great people and I was fortunate to be involved in a thriving local community that fully supported their local service populations. The highlights were too many to mention, but being able to arrange a major charity event for Spring Common School was certainly up there, as was my association with a multitude of local drama clubs. I think it was a foregone conclusion that some of that would make its way into my writing. My first book had a lead character that was born and raised in Warboys and for the opener of the new detective series I decided Huntingdon was going to feature prominently. It’s obviously fiction but I wanted it to have an authenticity, without doing a disservice to an area that I still care for.”
Ian plans to continue writing around his Wright and Tran characters and will release a new book in 2016.