The Momentum Blog
Posted December 1, 2013 by Chris Allen
You know, it’s with a deep sense of melancholy that I put pen to paper today while I reflect on the first twelve months of Hunter.
As any writer knows, much of our work is drawn from inspirations around us, people and things we know, admire or even in some cases despise. Of particular note for me today, I am remembering an actor whose portrayal of a tough, no-bullshit, hard hitting ex-soldier made such a lasting impression on me as a young man that his signature character eventually became the foundation for my principal protagonist, the tough, no-bullshit, hard hitting ex-soldier – Alex Morgan.
The actor I am talking about is Lewis Collins who played Bodie alongside Martin Shaw’s Doyle in that iconic British crime drama of the late 70’s/early 80s The Professionals. Lewis, a former Parachute Regiment reservist in real life, went on to play another incredible character, Captain Peter Skellern, in a film called Who Dares Wins in 1982 and also auditioned for James Bond after Roger Moore’s retirement. Unfortunately, the Bond producer’s found him to be ‘too aggressive’ and cast Pierce Brosnan instead. Bollocks, Personally, I would have much preferred Lewis Collins.
Sadly, I learned today that Lewis has died at the age of just 67 following a five year battle with cancer. So, in memory of Lewis Collins and the influence he had on my development of Alex Morgan I dedicate these few humble reflections on the first twelve months of Hunter.
A year ago today (pretty much), we pressed the green light for Hunter, the second Alex Morgan adventure.
Since then, both books – Defender & Hunter – have hit the best-seller lists, clocked up an encouraging 4.7 star average on Amazon US, UK and OZ, and my incredibly loyal readers – the ‘Defenders’ as we like to call them, have been hammering me over when book number 3 will be coming out. In addition, the film and TV rights to my Intrepid series have been optioned, I’ve been to Hollywood and London talking all things Morgan and Intrepid, I’ve spoken at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and the NSW Writers’ Centre, and I’m scheduled to appear at the Perth Writers Festival in 2014. There have been magazine articles, US radio interviews and even book signings on National Bookshop Day. Bloody hell, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m driving around in the latest model Aston Martin by now – complete with kids car seats for my two boys. Now, although we’re not quite there yet, I definitely feel like we’re heading in the right direction.
One thing I know for sure is that when you have a very clear view of what success looks like for you then you absolutely must remain committed to achieving it. At times, as with anything in life, various obstacles or distractions may get in your way or irritate you. The trick is not to become consumed by those things. The more I talk to other writers it is apparent that you just have to believe in your own work while supporting and encouraging others as they strive to achieve their personal goals. I have had the great pleasure of getting to know a number of incredibly talented Australian writers over the past year, including some of our own Momentum stars like Luke Preston, Nathan Farrugia and Kylie Scott. Everyone has their own journey to go on and it’s really been enlightening to share at least part of the trip with such incredibly supportive and talented colleagues.
The thing that has been most important to me has been building a strong team who share the vision I have for not only the Intrepid series but also an all new series I’ll be talking more about in 2014. Nothing ever happens overnight. There is inevitably a great deal of background and hard work behind every page and volume and, equally so, a great number of people behind the scenes who have been supporting and encouraging writers along the way. I have been blessed by an amazing team. I’m not going to single anyone out here but you all know who you are. Although, thank you doesn’t quite cut it. My gratitude is immeasurable.
Going forward, 2014 is going to be all about expanding the global reach of Alex Morgan and Intrepid. It’s a really exciting time and I couldn’t be more energised by it.
Meanwhile, I’d like to pay my greatest respect and thanks to my readers. If they say that in space no-one can hear you scream, the same could be imagined of a book that’s never picked up and therefore never read. Since the very beginning of this journey I’ve had some really hardcore supporters from around the world who have taken a chance on my work and, thankfully, loved it. I’m greatly indebted to everybody who has taken the time to pick up one of my books. It’s a real privilege for me to now be putting pen to paper on Morgan’s third and, to date, most challenging adventure, knowing that I have to surpass the expectations of those loyal readers who have been so vocal in their demands for me to finish it!
So, thank you everyone for joining in on the action over the past year. I’m so glad that you’ve enjoyed Hunter and, of course, Defender. I hope that they will remain favourites that you’ll pick up and re-read from time to time throughout your life.
Finally, thank you to Lewis Collins who, without knowing it, played such an important role in the creation, development and evolution on Alex Morgan.
I’m sure Bodie and Morgan would have been great mates and would have shared many a rowdy pint down at the Red Lion.
All the very best, Chris
 As we all know, despite beginning principal photography for the film that would become The Living Daylights, Pierce Brosnan was subsequently obliged to step down from the role due to his commitments to Remington Steele. The Bond franchise people eventually re-cast Timothy Dalton whose – short lived – portrayal of Bond was considered by many to be ironically ‘too aggressive’.
To celebrate a year of Hunter, we’re giving away five packs of Alex Morgan ebooks. Simply send your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Hunter’ in the subject line for your chance to win.
Posted November 17, 2013 by Mark
With summer just around the corner, it’s time to load up your ereader with some escapist reads! Here’s an excerpt from Hunter by Chris Allen, book 2 of the international spy series, Intrepid:
Finally, with just a gasp left in his rapidly failing lungs, blood streaming from a deep gash above his left eye and the physical exertion of the affray threatening to conquer him, Morgan reached for the SIG Sauer P226. The big man’s massive thumbs were closing down on the Intrepid agent’s windpipe with the power, precision and finality of a hydraulic press. A victor’s grin split the man’s battered features. Morgan could sense rather than feel himself lifting the SIG the last agonizing fraction of an inch clear of the thigh holster. But his fingers were numbing. There was no power in his hands. The oxygen supply to his limbs had depleted. He fumbled. The thumbs around his throat tightened more. The gun was slipping. His lungs were screaming for air. Every bit of the man’s weight was behind the squeeze. Morgan knew the gun was going. He felt his life draining from him. Then disaster – the SIG fell from his grasp. The grim reality that his last vision on earth was to be the hideous face of a gangland thug flashed through some still-functioning corner of his subconscious.
A surreal euphoria overwhelmed Morgan, taking control of the last moments of his life. Sight and sound were abandoning him. His body became a dead weight under the crushing assault of the bodyguard’s pressure.
The monster saw the transition washing over the face of the dead man in his hands. He’d seen it before – strangulation had been his signature and even though the exhaustion of this particular struggle had taken an equal toll, he had finally prevailed. This guy was done.
With a final, utterly exhausted expulsion of air, he released his grip.
Defender: Intrepid Book 1 is also available:
Tagged: Chris Allen, Defender, excerpt, Hunter, Intrepid, spy, summer reading, thriller
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Posted October 18, 2012 by Anne
Today we have the pleasure of unveiling the covers for the first two books in Chris Allen‘s Intrepid series. Starring the dashing Intrepid agent Alex Morgan – policeman, soldier and spy – Defender will be released on November 1, followed closely by Hunter in December.
You can pre-order both books by clicking on the links and choosing your favoured retailer. Defender is available for the excellent price of $2.99 and Hunter has a special pre-order price of $4.99 for a limited time.
Tagged: Alex Morgan, book cover, Books, Chris Allen, Defender, design, fiction, Hunter, Intrepid, soldier, spy
Posted October 11, 2012 by Anne
“When we served in the Paratroopers together, Chris Allen was always the most suave and entertaining officer in the Regiment: A natural storyteller, equal parts Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum, but with far better hair and teeth than both. Similarly, his Alex Morgan novels are a thrill a minute, and the aftertaste of blood and gunmetal makes it clear these books are written by a real soldier. DEFENDER is must read for literary action/adventure addicts, and I cannot wait for the release of HUNTER on November 1st.”
BTG kindly sent us a copy of his hilarious new book Curses and Blessings for All Occasions recently, and we can confirm that it is both blessed and occasional.action adventure, Alex Morgan, Books, Bradley Trevor Grieve, BTG, Defender, Hunter, Ian Fleming, Intrepid, paratroopers, reading, soldier, writing
Posted October 5, 2012 by Chris Allen
Today is International James Bond Day, which marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the first 007 movie Dr No – making it one of the most successful and longest-running film franchises of all time.
Equally significant is that we are currently in negotiation over the film rights to the Alex Morgan & Intrepid series with a well known and respected American film producer.
As we enter into this new phase of Alex Morgan’s journey it’s interesting to recall that Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, faced these very same milestones and challenges in bringing his character to a wider, international audience when he, too, was an emerging writer of escapist thrillers.
In fact, an early arrangement Fleming made, that would see Casino Royale reach the American market via a television movie, was a disaster. The character was re-written to become an American card-sharp called Jimmy Bond and the production was – to say the least – nothing like what Fleming had envisaged as a vehicle for his hero on his first mission.
The decision to sell the rights to Casino Royale at that time had consequences for the entire Bond franchise that took almost 50 years to resolve. As many of you would be aware, Daniel Craig famously entered the scene as 007 in Casino Royale in 2006 to great acclaim, rebooting the franchise within a more contemporary context. At one point however, it seemed highly unlikely that the film would ever be included within the long running franchise.
I’m beyond excited to be – in some small way – following in the footsteps of Fleming as I strive to bring Alex Morgan & Intrepid to a greater audience.
Hunter will be released on December 1.Tagged: adaptations, Alex Morgan, Bond, Casino Royale, Chris Allen, Defender, Hunter, Intrepid, James Bond, movies
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Posted June 7, 2012 by Chris Allen
I have to admit, there’s a certain ‘je ne sais quois’ about being so ensconced in writing a book that it permeates your thoughts, your dreams, and conversations.
As the new Alex Morgan INTREPID espionage thriller is due with Momentum Books at the end of this month, here’s 7, or should I say 007, cool and not-so-cool things about being on deadline.
Seven cool things about being on deadline
1. Another reason to stay in comfy clothes for the day – sure, Ian Fleming was photographed resplendent in bow tie and dinner jacket at the keys of his golden Royal typewriter, but in fact he’d normally be in shorts, a summer shirt and sandals at his typewriter in Goldeneye, Jamaica. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.
2. Tea. And Mint Slices. Both in abundance.
3. People who send well wishes and support (also known as likes) via the Facebook page, and who send vodka when supplies run short.
4. Watching the favourite scenes from old action movies for inspiration such as Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in Where Eagles Dare, again and again. And again.
5. Being excused from the housework and washing up, at least most of the time.
6. Family support crew available to bounce ideas off 24-7, friends to read fight scenes, and Facebook cronies who provide bona fide advice on important things, like the best way to orchestrate take-off and landing of a sea plane in southern Europe.
7. Watching the story come alive on the page – it’s cathartic to make these heroes, heroines and evil characters that have until now lived inside my head become real!
Seven not cool things about being on deadline
1. Two-year-old Captain Morgan stands at the stairwell, innocently yelling “Daddy! Come! Choo-choo! Hurry!” in a way that sends pangs of guilt straight to the heart.
2. After months being secluded in the writing room, drinking tea and nibbling delicately on tim tams and crushed easter eggs, your pants mysteriously become tighter.
3. You struggle to hold conversations with loved ones during meal times. When asked a simple question you exclaim, ‘there’s no time, must get to seaplane to save Charly before it’s too late’!
4. Being under self-imposed house arrest, friends forget what you look like, except from what they can recall from Facebook.
5. Every sound coming from above the writing room is amplified. Just making a cup of tea in the kitchen is like an orchestral sound check. Which means, a toddler playing upstairs sounds like the first brutal fight scene in Casino Royale.
6. Time seems to slow down to a snail’s pace but strangely, your hair grows faster.
7. An impending feeling of doom as D Day arrives – and knowing that once you’re through the first draft, the real work begins!
I wouldn’t swap the glitz and glamour of it all – that said, maybe Fleming had the right idea by squirreling himself away at Goldeneye in Jamaica when writing his novels for three months of each year…
Find more from Chris Allen here.Tagged: 007, Alex Morgan, Bond, Clint Eastwood, Defender, Ian Fleming, Intrepid, Richard Burton, writing