I’m delighted to welcome A.D. Flint to Linda’s Book Bag today as part of the blog tour for The Burning Hill as I am inherently nosy and I have a smashing set of 10 things to discover about the author! I’d like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of these celebrations of The Burning Hill.
Published by Unbound, The Burning Hill is available for purchase here.
The Burning Hill
On the run from unjust court-martial back home, a young British soldier gets robbed and shot on Copacabana Beach. The bullet in Jake’s head should have been fatal but, miraculously, it saves him from a previously undetected condition that soon would have killed him.
Jake doesn’t believe in fate, nor does he feel he owes anything to anybody, but he does hate injustice. Vilson, the teenage favela kid who fired the bullet, is a victim of injustice, in a deadly corner with a corrupt cop and a sadistic drug-lord after his blood.
With a turf war erupting in Vilson’s favela, fear stalks every narrow alleyway, and anyone dragged up to the notorious Burning Hill had better hope they’re dead before they get there. But it’s not just fear that shapes life in the favela: belief is also powerful, able to both save and destroy.
The Burning Hill is about the power of belief and one man’s desire for justice at any cost.
10 Things About A.D. Flint
- What if you weren’t a writer? I’d love to be a painter (a good one, I mean, as I have done some dreadful Rembrandt knockoffs). Otherwise, it would be amazing to invent something and build a factory to make it because I’ve always loved making things (although I hate DIY). My grandfather was a marine engineer (he made several voyages to the Antarctic on the Discovery in the 1920s) and he always made us grandchildren amazing toys and go-carts and scooters. I loved spending time in his workshop as a child.
- First pet? A monkey. A little un-PC, I know, but it was the 70s and we lived in Ghana. My dad used to let it out of its cage ‘for exercise’ and it would belt round the house, crap on all available furniture and (quite understandably) refuse to go back in its cage.
- Second Pet? When we left Ghana the monkey was taken on by the man who took over my dad’s job, but we brought a parrot back to the UK – it travelled in a cage on a seat next to my dad on the plane. Those were the days. The parrot was an excellent mimic but quite sweary and very mean tempered – it would whistle for the dog and then bite her nose when she came.
- Favourite opera? Faust. It isn’t actually my favourite opera, it’s just the only one I’ve ever seen. It was my 10th birthday treat with my friends. Seriously. I wanted to see Battlestar Galactica at the cinema but I suspect the tickets for the amateur production of Faust at the Cramphorn theatre in Chelmsford were cheaper, which probably tipped the scales for my mother. My friends were as baffled as I was mortified, and one of them, who has remained a friend to this day, still talks about it as the most memorable birthday party he ever went to.
- Any former sports glory? Erm, I managed to get a bronze medal in a minor jujitsu competition once – I took it up after seeing it and MMA (mixed martial arts) in Brazil when I lived there for a period. I never quite got to my black belt before rupturing my ACL and I haven’t practiced for a few years. MMA can be brutal but the fighters are skilful and I admire the courage that it takes to climb into the octagon. There’s a bit of jujitsu in the action scenes in The Burning Hill and one of the characters moonlights as a fighter.
- What do you do in your spare time now? For exercise, mostly running with my dog. I live near the coast so I love going along the tops of the cliffs. I avoid the beach these days as there’s a naturist section where my dog once became somewhat obsessed with the taste of the sun-cream that a rather large naked man had just rubbed all over himself. It was like some hellish comedy sketch hatched from the darkest corner of Benny Hill’s imagination. I suspect the man probably avoids the beach now too. My dog’s appalling lack of manners is an endless source of embarrassment.
- Inside or outside? Outside. Back in Brazil for the first time in some years over the summer, we took a trip to Bonito and the Pantanal. We saw an amazing variety of animals and birds there, fished for piranha and snorkelled in crystal-clear rivers (not containing piranha). We found an anaconda in a stream outside our room one morning and a capuchin monkey crapped on my head from a tree (I’m now wondering if it was the vengeful reincarnation of my first pet). But the simple things are also good: sparrows have staged a bit of a comeback in recent years in our area and it’s a joy to see them splashing about and arguing in our birdbath.
- Outlook on life? A fairly regular mix of sunny spells with occasional cloud, but I am fascinated with the darker side of human nature and that is what I generally find myself writing about. I’m also fascinated by the nature of belief, its power, and what we will allow ourselves to believe.
- Writing routine? I’m not much of a morning person but if I drag myself out of bed early I find I can hammer out a decent number of words. I’m not an avid Stephen King fan (although I think The Stand is great) but On Writing gives excellent advice on the writing process. Following his routine of hitting a target number of words each day works for me (when the day job doesn’t get in the way too much). Just hammering out that word count can get me through a sticky patch. I might be writing garbage for a few days but I find that if I just keep going the ideas start to flow again.
- Favourite books and films? How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn was my favourite childhood book and I was obsessed with the Hornblower books, passed on from my dad’s childhood. As a kid, I thought the key to success as a human being was through emulating the heroes in my books, and even now I think those characters probably have some influence on who I’ve become today. I love David Mitchell, particularly Ghostwritten, and I thought Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith was excellent – I’d like to think that The Burning Hill is similar in style. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry is the best book I’ve read recently – a powerful story with some beautiful writing. Film-wise, I love the movies from the 70s which weren’t afraid of a downbeat ending, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Deer Hunter and Ryan’s Daughter. I love the Cohen Brothers and Fargo is my favourite thriller (with a dollop of black-comedy and crime thrown in). There’s an amazing French film called A Prophet that’s a favourite too –a prison drama, very tough watching in places, but astounding and compelling.If you know these stories, you might recognise influences from some of them in The Burning Hill.
(Thanks so much for such an interesting set of facts! I loved finding out more about you. I always wanted a pet monkey too when I was a child – but I blame Enid Blyton for that obsession!)
About A.D. Flint
On a June afternoon in 2000 there was a robbery just a few blocks from where the A.D. Flint was living in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. It turned into a hostage situation. The teenage robber had survived a notorious massacre of street children outside a Rio church years before, and the tragedy that played out in the aftermath of the robbery on live TV news was an embodiment of the desperation of life at the bottom of the heap. An ugly thing in this beautiful city, shocking, even to a society inured to everyday violence.
As an Englishman new to Rio, the author was beguiled by the city, and found it profoundly disturbing to watch something happening just down the road that was so out of control and so wrong. The author spent a year in Brazil and now lives on the south coast of England with his Brazilian wife and two sons.
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