Q&A with Jack Leavers

Today iis my turn on the blog tour for Don’t Play Dead With Vultures. I’m sharing my Q&A with the author with thanks to Zoe O’Farrell for inviting me on the tour and to Jack Leavers for answering my questions!

Have you always wanted to write?

No, and I didn’t even think about giving it a go until my late forties. I was so frustrated with a deal in Iraq falling apart that I had to find some outlet for my frustration. Focusing on writing a book inspired by past experience turned out to be that outlet.

What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?

My writing is inspired by previous experience, so my past jobs have been crucial in the process. 

The list includes Royal Marine, Private Investigator, Debt Collector, Anti-Counterfeiting Investigator, Private Security Contractor, Risk Management Consultant, & risk-taking entrepreneur. One day I’ll figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

What was your inspiration for Don’t Play Dead With Vultures?

The book is inspired by my experiences in West Africa. I’d describe the story as fictional flesh on the bones of real events and timelines. Plus a big ‘what-if’ that was mooted at the time.

How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?

All the characters have traits of people I know and have worked or lived alongside. For this book I found I needed to fictionalise aspects of the characters far more than in my first book. It was the only way I could break the story away from what actually happened and how – and give depth to the fictional side.

What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I approach the story in a pretty similar way to how I would approach (or have approached) similar situations in real life. I have a plan but it’s probably going to fall apart and need constant revising. I do have an outline and know where the story is going, but it’s fluid with a lot of unknown unknowns.

How did you research Don’t Play Dead With Vultures? Did you enjoy it?

I was in the story locations during the time the book is set, and pulling up old photos, maps and documents and expanding them with fictional content was great fun. I have dozens of maps & route cards covering the events in the book.

Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?

Favourite writers include Steven Pressfield, Len Deighton, Cara Hunter, Gerald Seymour, Lisa Jewell, Geoffrey Archer, Mike Lunnon-Wood, Tom Clancy, John Le Carre and many more.

I don’t think I’m knowingly influenced by any individual authors. But reading well-written and enjoyable books can only help.

If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?

Dinner parties aren’t really my thing, but it would be great to get together with some writers for a boozy night where we could have a great laugh and swap some cracking dits. 

Ian Fleming – His stories would be great. 

Keith Moon – Famous for being The Who’s madcap drummer, but he wrote songs and probably wrote other stuff.

Mila Kunis – As the voice of Meg from Family Guy, I’m sure she’d be hilarious to have a drink with. And she must write stuff as well.

Well, I got at least one recognised writer in there.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

My wife. Whoever was there it would become a drama. But with your partner the gloves would come off real fast.

Who would play the main character/s in a film version of Don’t Play Dead With Vultures?

Well, the book is inspired by my experiences so it would have to be an essence, smooth-talking, witty stud-muffin, obviously.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Anything but write. I’m into football, gaming, running & reading of course.

What is next for you?

Although I have an outline for a third John Pierce novel, I might well write a third person POV stand-alone (with series potential) first. It’s a ‘what-if’ scenario inspired by an adventurous and unlikely proposal fired my way in 2020. Now that Don’t Play Dead With Vultures is finally out the door, I’ve got no excuse not to actually get started at last.


Book? Favourite read this year – The Afghan Campaign by Steven Pressfield

Film? Star Wars. I was 9 or 10 when it came out and blown away. 

Band/Singer? The Who

TV show? Family Guy/Inbetweeners/Blackadder/Band of Brothers/The Professionals

Colour? Black. What do you mean black isn’t a colour!

Place? The beach

Biscuit? Any except old ration pack Biscuits AB/Biscuits Fruit AB


Don’t Play Dead With Vultures is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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