The thrilling Anders Kingsley
Anders Kingsley, author of the mystery/thriller The Secret of the Second Zeus, emerged from a childhood nightmare to live many of his dreams.
Cloistered behind the Iron Wall until his teens, he developed a natural passion for travel which took him to England and a career in tourism, while his experiences also fed a desire to write. Anders today is a supportive and welcome member of the writing community, with one book under his belt and several more on the way. Meet Anders Kingsley.
Welcome, Anders. Let’s start with a bit of an introduction. Tell us about yourself.
Hi Jo, thank you so much for having me.
I was six or seven years old when I peeked through a window that made my eyes double in size, just before tears started running down my face. It was a prison window and I was on the inside.
What I saw on the outside was another world, almost the opposite to the one I knew at the time — a world where people could freely move and express themselves without having to worry about prison guards watching their every step. For some people, the place I saw was home; for me it was just a dream. So close and yet so far away.
Instead I was locked up serving a 65-year sentence for the serious crime of . . . being born in the wrong country.
Growing up in the former East Germany sometimes felt like living in a huge prison and for as long as I can remember I had this strong sense of “Fernweh,” a longing for far-off places or places that were close in distance but unreachable due to the wall “protecting” communist countries like East Germany from the “evil” West.
Rome, London, Barcelona . . . those places were real and only a one- or two-hour flight away, but the chance to ever experience them myself was a fantasy.
But like with most great books, this story had an unexpected twist waiting for me. I was 15 when real-life magic happened. The Iron Curtain fell and suddenly I was allowed to enter this new exciting world that I had dreamed about all of my childhood.
I left home to go to England to study International Tourism. Not only did I want to travel all around the world but also work in an industry that helps others to explore different places and cultures.
What motivated or perhaps drove you to write your first novel, The Secret of the Second Zeus?
The story’s potential. I once gave a presentation about the political impact on the Olympic Games. During my research, I realized it was the perfect setting for a crime novel. It had planted a seed in my head that only grew stronger over the years, as I kept collecting more information about it until I reached the point where I had enough knowledge and inspiration for ten crime novels relating to the Olympics. All I had to do was focus on one particular crime and link it back to the Greek myth, the time of the ancient Olympic Games.
I had always thought that this could be a novel I’d love to read myself and I was surprised that I never came across a thriller linked to the Games. So I thought, right; if no one else wants to write it, I will.
What made you write in English?
I had lived in England for many years at the time and was constantly talking, thinking and even dreaming in English. I also realized I would need the help of a professional editor either way, no matter what language I wrote in. So I made the conscious decision to invest in the best editor I could find which was a blessing in disguise. Not only did she correct my English grammar and word choice, but also showed me how to improve my writing style. It was like having an advanced writing course and a book edit at the same time.
After I had finished The Secret of the Second Zeus, I also wrote a book in German. I call it an in-between project (in between writing thrillers). Since it’s written in German and a (partly political) satire book, I self-published it under a different pen name. But I am happy to stick to thrillers from now on.
Why are you writing in this genre? Was it a conscious decision, or are you a crime/mystery fan, or was there another reason?
Some say “write what you know.” Well, I don’t know much about murdering people or catching assassins. That’s why I say write what excites you and keeps you motivated during the long mundane writing process. I read a bit more widely now, but at the time I mainly read mysteries and psychological thrillers. And to be fair, those are still my favorites genres now. I want to guess what happens next or figure out who the villain is before it gets revealed by the author. And the more a character has to lose, the more likely I’m willing to cheer him/her on.
Which authors inspired you, if any?
The Secret of the Second Zeus has been compared by readers to Dan Brown and Clive Cussler, but I wouldn’t say I felt inspired by them. If I had to use the word inspired, it would be by a large mix of many authors, I guess. I liked the wordplay in some of the Dan Brown books, the suspense created by Harlan Coben, the character development by Stieg Larsson, the story flow by Ken Follett . . . I could go on and on, but the last author I’d have to mention is Chris Kuzneski for the way he combines a high level of suspense with a lot of dry humor, something I am trying to do as well.
What are you working on now?
I recently finished a psychological thriller set in Boston, Massachusetts. It will be a standalone novel but also the first in a two-book series. The second book will be a sequel with its own story, but you’d have to read them in the right order. I already can see the potential for a third one but I plan to finish the second book in this series first before thinking too far ahead. It’s a decision I can make later on.
Thank you so much, Anders, for your time and all the best with your new novels.
Finding Anders Kingsley: