About Toby –

Toby Oliver currently lives in West Sussex, England, with his family and two dogs, a toy Yorkshire Terrier and a King Charles Spaniel. Before he started writing spy novels, he worked for many years as a Government administrator in London. He is the author of Codename Nicolette, Mission Lisbon and Dead Man Walking – A Spy Amongst Us and The Downing Street Plot – An Agent’s Revenge. Duty and Betrayal – The SS Brotherhood and the NASA connection is his latest spy thriller. He is currently working on his latest espionage novel.

Questions – 

1. When did realize that you wanted to be an author?
As a young child I was encouraged to write by my mother, however, it was reading Children of the New Forest, a story set during the English Civil War, by Frederick Marryat that truly inspired my imagination, and fostered my desire to one write a novel of my own.

2. How long does it take for you to write one of your books?
Once I have an idea, my research tends to take at least six months to complete. As for the writing itself, about the same timescale. Then it’s very much down to the first round of editing and taking onboard their feedback.

3. How do you balance your work schedule when you’re busy writing?
Balancing my work schedule can be extremely challenging, especially so over the last two years. I do have a home office, but my favourite place to write is a small island called Alderney off the coast of France. A week in Alderney, is worth a month at home.

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It’s an interesting question. My office is filled with bookcases and some of my favorite artwork, I suppose for me, it’s the perfect place to write, not only for research, but to be inspired. I also prefer to have music playing in the background.

5. How do you come up with ideas for your books?
Coming up with ideas for a plot can be quite random, maybe I’ve read something in a newspaper article, or perhaps an interview – could be the inspiration to give you colorful character.

6. When did you write your first book?
My first published book was in 2013.

7. What are your hobbies when you’re not writing?
I’m not sure if reading counts as one of my hobbies? Apart from that, I love researching my family tree. I’m a member of Ancestry and a variety of family history groups in UK.

8. What does your family and close friends think of your writing?
My family are really supportive, whether it be, the initial read throughs, or simply asking for their advice. I couldn’t do it without them.

9. What was one of the most interesting things that you learned about yourself when you published your first book?

Well, it’s certainly been a sharp learning curve. I suppose it was my lack of knowledge about marketing and the publishing world in general. What I have learned, is that networking with other authors has been invaluable

10. How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I’ve published 5 books. But, to be honest, I’m a bit torn about which one is my favourite. Or, maybe it’s to do with the characters. In the Downing Street Plot, Virginia Dudley, is based on Virginia Hall, a real life American spy who served with the British and OSS, later the CIA. But, I suppose it has to be my last one, Duty & Betrayal, set in the 1960’s it revolves around a former Nazi rocket scientist now working n the US for NASA.

11. What do you think makes a good story?
However great your plot might be, it’s your characters that ultimately sell your story, you’ve gotta make your readers believe and empathise with them.

On a slightly more personal note, as my books are loosely based on real events, it’s also about trying to weave in truth without seeing the join with the fiction.

12. Where do you like to kick back and write your books?

I’ve already mentioned the Alderney, apart from that, it has to be the Greek island of Lesvos. Maybe, it’s more to do with

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