I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for The Spy Who Chipped The China Teacup and to welcome its author Angie Smith to Linda’s Book Bag today. I love a thriller and I love travel so I asked Angie to write about both those topics for me.
Published by Bloodhound, The Spy Who Chipped The China Teacup is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
The Spy Who Chipped the China Teacup
Arms dealing. Murder. Corruption.
In Africa, Taylor Hudson reaches the stark realisation that she is in imminent danger. Time is nearly up when, out of nowhere, she is thrown a lifeline. Left with little option, she places her trust in a complete stranger. But who is this stranger and why the interest in saving her?
The answers lie 6,000 miles away, deep inside the British Secret Intelligence Service, where a former, disgraced, senior officer is attempting to work his way back into the heart of the organisation. But what are his real intentions?
What ensues is a deadly game of bluff, double-bluff and triple-bluff. Can The China Teacup survive this time?
If travel broadens the mind,
does travelling vicariously have the same effect?
A Guest Post by Angie Smith
(Photographs provided by the author)
Apologies for the title which sounds more like a journal article! Worry not – this is a light-hearted look at how my adventures inspire the storylines of my thrillers, the latest being The Spy Who Chipped The China Teacup.
Eyes wide, I look down from the helicopter at the azure waters surrounding the Bazaruto Archipelago (Mozambique). Are those colours real? I decide in an instant that this is where I want to bring my readers. I pull out my camera and wonder – could there be anywhere as beautiful to set a shocking and sinister story? The juxtaposition of that thought fascinated me.
Back in South Africa just days ago I stood by a waterhole, it was just breaking daylight and I had to be mindful of my surroundings, or rather the risk posed from the animals. My mind raced. Did she die here? Who was this woman, and what kind of stories could she tell? Who knows? I jump back in the Land Rover and ask my tracker if he could find a pride of lions. He’s a master tracker and within an hour we have located them, perched on rocks in a dry, sandy river bed. I make eye-contact with the lioness as she raises her head, clearly concerned for her young cubs. Beautiful. Through the binoculars I marvel at the detail of her shear soft fur, contrasting against the powerful ferocity of her white pointed teeth and sharp claws. A shiver makes its way down my spine. And then I hear it – the most terrifying thing I have ever heard in my life. Somewhere, nearby there had just been a kill. A leopard had brought down an impala. The noise of the birdlife squawking and immediately taking flight unnerved me, as did the sight of the herd of kudu standing stock-still on the surrounding hillside, too frightened to move, in case they too became prey. Something tells me all this is crucial to the plot. My camera clicks again. This time my mind fills with images of trucks loaded with ammunition and arms as they tumble into my head. And where is the woman? She’s bound and gagged in the foetal position not far from here.
Days later I step from the catamaran into the warm shallows and wade to the beach towards the tiny island of Santa Carolina (also known as Paradise Island). There it was – the derelict hotel. Back in the sixties this is where the wealthy and celebrities found hedonistic parties and romance. Locals talk of illegal gun trafficking. My permit allows access to the building, and within minutes I’m stood on the balcony where Bob Dylan composed the song ‘Mozambique’. The sound of the sea surrounds me. But above that noise these ruins tell tales and I’m listening hard.
When I switch from author to reader I become absorbed with the locale. The many books I have enjoyed evoke such powerful emotions and images for me. Coming back to the question, if travel broadens the mind, does travelling vicariously have the same effect? I believe it does. Clever authors capture the true essence of locations and make it feel as though you are actually there. Personally, this in turn makes me desperate to visit to see and feel for myself. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith succeeded in this. Botswana is nearing the top of my wish list! This is what I am striving to do for my readers. Travel vicariously and then in reality.
(Oh, I love Botswana – hope you get there soon!)
About Angie Smith
Angie Smith, having recently survived locally advanced breast cancer, discovered that her lifelong desire to write had been rekindled. Consequently, her love for international crime thrillers became the springboard to the creation of the highly acclaimed CXVI Trilogy.
Her passion for travelling to exotic places greatly inspires her work. A recent trip to Southern Africa inspired her fourth novel, The Spy Who Chipped The China Teacup.
Angie, born in 1961, was educated at Huddersfield University where she graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Education and Training. She was nominated for an award on her knowledge transfer partnerships work, during which she co-produced and presented a journal article at the International Social Work Conference in Durban.