It is a pleasure to welcome Mystery Thriller Week author Stephen Bentley to my blog today! His work as detective and barrister in the UK greatly influenced his writing. His novel Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story is based on his role in one of the UK’s largest drug busts (and sounds like a fascinating read).
Stephen has also provided two Audible promo codes for an audiobook giveaway! Learn how to enter (it’s easy!) at the bottom of this post.
I hope you enjoy learning more about Stephen, his life as an expat in the Philippines, and his books.
Please tell me a little bit about yourself, your books and writing career.
I am from the UK but now live in the Philippines. I was a police Detective Sergeant and a barrister (trial attorney) in the UK for a combined total of nearly 30 years.
Whilst in the police, I was one of only three undercover detectives on Operation Julie in the 1970s. It is still one of the UKs largest drug busts. As a barrister, I prosecuted and defended in many serious cases including murder, rape, other serious sexual assaults, robbery, serious violence, and drug dealing and importation.
It is my background in law that drew me into writing. I have been a self-published indie author since 2015.
My three books to date are:
How To Drive Like An Idiot In Bacolod: An Expat’s Experiences of Driving in the Philippines and How To Survive – a ‘tongue-in- cheek’ look at the chaos on the roads of the Philippines as well as a snapshot of some of the beautiful locations in that country.
Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story – a memoir of my undercover experiences available in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook. I’m delighted to say it will soon be translated into Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. It has also been optioned for a film.
Who The F*ck Am I? is a crime fiction novella. My debut fiction book about a fictional undercover cop – Steve Regan. It is Book One of a trilogy.
Who would you like to sit next to on a long flight (up to two people, living or dead)?
My father and his father, both dead. There are many unanswered questions about what happened to their relationship. I would love to hear what they say.
My father rarely spoke about his father and I got to meet my grandfather on only one solitary occasion.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with background music? Why?
Silence. I don’t like distractions when I am listening to the characters I am writing about. My inspiration comes from inside me and I don’t need external stimulation.
Where do you do your best writing?
I write in one place only. I have a large(ish) bedroom with my office desk and laptop set up next to a large floor-standing fan (it is hot in the Philippines).
Why do you write the kinds of books you do?
That’s easy. I write mainly using my own experiences as material. Then add a twist, shake it up, and hopefully end up with a good read.
Tell me something about yourself that has nothing to do with writing?
I have a strong faith as a Christian.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Jamming on the stage with some musician friends where I live. They tolerate me and allow me to sing or at least try to.
What is the inspiration behind your latest novel?
Whilst undercover in real life, I met two Canadian drug dealers who wanted me to help them import huge quantities of cocaine into the UK. I always wondered about them. Who were they? Were they everything they said they were?
You need to read Who The F*ck Am I? to discover the answers.
What motivates you to write?
Pure enjoyment and the prospect of creating something others find enjoyable.
What are you passionate about, aside from writing?
Liverpool Football Club!
What makes you uniquely qualified to write your novels?
As one reviewer wrote, “Steve Regan can’t decide if he wants to go rogue or not. He has very good reasons to flip…and NOT to flip also, namely he is a good guy, just having a very hard time for reasons I won’t explain as it would spoil this story for you. I really enjoyed the idea that this was written not from research, but from real life experience, the author was an undercover cop and also a barrister (now how many of THOSE are there…let alone those who also write about it later ?) I really felt I was getting an inside peek into a world I have not a clue about. This novella is an introduction to the character of Steve Regan, undercover cop. I’m now off to see what else there is for me to read in the series. Cheers Stephen Bentley! Best of luck to you in your new career.”
I cannot put it better than that myself.
How important is setting to your novel?
Important. For me, it gives the reader a real feel for authenticity (if they know the location) or alternatively stimulates the reader’s imagination. In Book One of the Steve Regan Undercover Cop series, I write about both London and Miami. I know both places.
Book Two (WIP) it is set mainly in Thailand, a country I know well.
What are you working on now?
Book Two of the Steve Regan Undercover Cop Series.
Thanks for stopping by, Stephen! He has also generously provided two audiobook codes for a giveaway! Check it out:
For audiobook lovers, I also have two Audible promo codes (one for the UK and one for the US) for readers interested in listening to Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story – a memoir of my undercover experiences.
To win a promo code, please comment on this post (state your country of residence please) and Jennifer S. Alderson will choose the winners randomly on April 27. Thank you for your interest and happy listening!
Audible UK link: https://www.audible.co.uk/t2/title?asin=B07BBT7H2V
Audible US link: https://www.audible.com/t2/title?asin=B07BBT7H2V
**Tip: Audiobook lovers based anywhere can also listen for free by signing up for a FREE 30-day Audible membership. You can cancel anytime and keep the audiobook!
Social Media Links for Stephen Bentley:
AMAZON BUY LINKS FOR ALL BOOKS BY STEPHEN BENTLEY
Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story
Who The F*ck Am I?
How To Drive Like An Idiot In Bacolod