JD: First, Paul, thank you for including me in your Short & Sharp series. I enjoy reading it, and if you’d ever like to guest-post at my blog, Asia Hacks, the floor is yours. What’s going on now…Cowgirl X is out from publisher Crime Wave Press. It’s a sequel to my debut thriller, Gaijin Cowgirl, and picks up the story of Val Benson, former Tokyo bar hostess turned treasure hunter. She has to track down a runaway Japanese porn starlet, chasing her from LA to Angkor Wat.
PDB: How did you research this book?
JD: The porn-industry element has made this everybody’s favourite question. Imagination, mate, imagination. (There actually is no pornography in the book.) The Angkor stuff I drew from my having written a non-fiction book about its history, The Story of Angkor, which was published by Silkworm Books. Other aspects of the story, such as a World War 2 scene at Guadalcanal, required a bit of reading.
PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?
JD: Cowgirl X was probably the hardest to write. I had never done a sequel. Sequels throw up all sorts of problems, and Cowgirl X required intensive restructuring. I’m proud of how it’s turned out, and if people have a fraction of the fun reading it that I had creating it, I’ve done my job.
PDB: What’s your favourite film/book/song/television programme?
JD: I loved “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Charlize Theron would make a great Val!
PDB: Is location important to your writing?
JD: Yes. Like you, I’m an expatriate, and I think there’s something about living abroad that makes you want to share your experiences in the form of storytelling. Of course, throwing in a few action scenes atop Bangkok skyscrapers and Cambodian temples is 100% authentic. I also enjoyed portraying Los Angeles, the home of noir fiction – I even managed to pay homage to Raymond Chandler.
PDB: How often do you check your Amazon ratings?
JD: And here I thought we were having a nice friendly conversation.
PDB: What’s next?
JD: For the time being I want to promote Cowgirl X. I have another thriller in the works that should see daylight next year, and I’ve completed a manuscript for another non-fiction book, this time about the ancient temple city of Bagan, in Myanmar. I’m starting to think about Val Benson’s next move; I can’t say when, but she’ll be back.