Monday, 6 June 2016

Author Interview ~ SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand #booksgs @OldManinHelmand

Military author, Chris Green is on the blog today.
Let's take a quick look at his latest book!

SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.

Content Rating:

MY: Hi, Chris and welcome to the blog. Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

 I can walk on my hands.

MY: What made you want to become a writer?

When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow, we gave our today

I returned from Helmand province with this epitaph carved into my memory. It was used to conclude each Vigil service to honour our fallen comrades and was to be read out 37 times before I returned home. For all of us who were there, I believe these are not just words but a lifelong obligation and they inspired me to set about writing this book.

MY: What does your typical writing day look like?

I’m a fanatical off-piste skier so a typical writing day for me is a day when there’s no snow on the ground. In fact I’ve discovered an inverse correlation between snowfall and writing productivity which I’ve plotted on the chart below:


MY: Do your characters ever hijack your story? If so, what do you do about it?

My book is a true story so it’s not really possible for the characters to hijack the plot-line but one of them, a gentleman called Haji Gul, is rather dramatically kidnapped by the SAS.

MY: Authors are often portrayed as being cat owners who drinks a lot of coffee. Is this true for you?

I guess I don’t really fit the stereotype. I’m a real coffee snob, so I only drink good coffee rather than lots of it. In Helmand I worked with the Danish Army who drink coffee the colour and consistency of crude oil. I never got used to it. I don’t own a cat but I do co-habit with a dog called Sweep. I’m pretty sure he thinks he owns a human. And he’s probably right.

MY:  What does your ‘perfect’ day look like?

Exactly like it does in the photo below:

MY: What is your biggest vice?

Snow covered mountains

MY:  If you could meet anyone from the past, who would it be and why?

Legendary French extreme skier, Patrick Vallençant who defined extreme skiing. Patrick lived by the motto si tu tombes, tu meurs. If you fall, you die and coined the term “no fall line”. In the lexicon of off‑piste skiing this is an imaginary line drawn on any descent above which a fall may lead to serious injury, but will more probably result in death. Sadly, but perhaps inevitably, on 28 March 1989, aged 43, he tragically succumbed to his own axiom.

MY:  What were you like at school?

I was a complete dunce at school. Even after I was kept back a year I was still bottom of the class. I was rubbish at everything apart from story-telling. My history teacher enraged my father once when he wrote in my end of term report: “Chris writes very creative history.” Even so, I still couldn’t spell or punctuate. Thankfully we now have Microsoft Office (other word processing packages are available).

MY: Using one word. Describe yourself.

Where can I purchase this book?

About the author 

Chris Green joined the British Army in 1988 and saw service in Gulf War 1, Northern Ireland and the Balkans before resigning his commission to pursue a successful career in the advertising industry. Along the way he acquired a beautiful wife, a trophy house, a powerful SUV and several designer suits.

It was a seemingly perfect existence. Except that it wasn't. After 15 years growing rich and fat, Chris attends the funeral of an old army friend and is inspired to abandon his life of comfortable consumerism and go in search of adventure in the service of his country.

It's a decision that takes him on a revelatory journey into the Taliban Heart of Darkness.

Chris now lives on the river Avon and spends his winters in the Alps indulging his passion for off-piste skiing.

 Useful Links
Twitter: SpinZhira@OldManinHelmand
Facebook page: SpinZhira. A true story.
LinkedIn: Chris Green, Author

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