I have always been fascinated about the intersection of words, music and art. My first foray into music ownership, the multi-colored vinyl's, the double albums with hidden songs and stories to tell on their covers. The lyrics of Bowie, Morrissey, Brandon. The often rebellious messages prompting us to rip up the rule book and start all over.
As I started my own writing and creative journey over 4 years ago now, I wanted to tell stories that were worthy of being told. All of the stories a collaboration between the truth and fiction intended to leave the reader thinking and considering which parts were truth and which were fiction, "Are you ready for the truth?"
Specifically in the first two of the ARGUS series, Operation ARGUS and Bikini BRAVO there was an extra spin to this, and the strapline, Maskirovka, originally a Russian military doctrine of deception, the ultimate "things are never quite as they may first appear" approach that sometimes is just mind boggling to unpick the labyrinth and discern the blur between truth, and in some cases downright lies and mistruths. Unfortunately, this doctrine has been now adopted way beyond the walls of the Kremlin.
I wanted to tell the story of Sir. Ernest Shackleton's ill fated expedition of 1914, and despite its failure, the many lessons of leadership, of bravery, grit, sheer determination, and loyalty that came out of this epic tale. I wanted to bring the characters to life like never before, I wanted to set the story in the context of the two gargantuan battles, one on the ice fields of Antarctica, the other on the red field of France.
"All the while, as I am writing, I see each scene as if in the movie myself, writing from my own experiences, deep research but also folding in some artistic license - what would Shackleton actually have to say to his Right Hand Man, Frank Wild? Is it feasible that the Mexican cartels could team up with a bunch of Russian mercenaries to gain control of an oil-rich nation? What was it really like in the golden age of aviation, of Aviatrix Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart?"
It was writing Northern ECHO how I was remined that ripping up the rule book now and again is actually OK.
I worked hard on the book covers, I wanted to create a certain mode, a feel, a look, almost a brand, so no matter which book, you could know that it was from the same author. I realize that clearly many have done this, but for my books, I felt this was even more important.
Stephen King writes horror, Wilbur Smith about Africa, Grisham has his legal niche, Tolkien, and JK Rowling to name a few of the big guns. But I found that most of my indie contemporaries had chosen a specific swim lane, writing fantasy series, sci-fi, romance, and that was my part in ripping up the rule book - I wanted to tell individual stories worth telling and so far had already covered political thrillers, action, historical fiction in Antarctica, an almost biographical account of the punk rock revolution, another historical fiction about aviation and aviatrix, and my current work in progress, a murder mystery and a book of poetry in the works!
That was my journey, and I thought about how Bowie had morphed in his career and changed his content and his sound regularly over the years. I always thought that was cool about him, rather than having one thing to say, to talk about, to champion, there are many topics out there and that's the path I chose.
Separate to words and music, I have always been a great lover or art, of all kinds. I like the humor and character of Banksy, have always been fascinated with Turner, loved the great Impressionists, the Grand Masters, dalliance's with watercolors, sculpture, even the shelf of birdsong at the Liverpool MOMA was fun. As I started to build my gallery I found myself with landscapes that were worthy of the collection, from pictures I took in the Andes, Chile, to remastered photographs taken by my old school friend Deborah Huck in the Lake District.
Then the compelling portraits, both famous and infamous, some characters in the stories, but also many of them reminding me of people I have met or known in my own life.
Another school friend, Paul Giggle was kind and generous enough to provide me with the art work for Northern ECHO and the model in his photograph, Mind The Gap is a perfect front to the story of two boys growing up in the north of England during the punk rock revolution.
And for Gipsy MOTH, Aviatrix, the amazing and wonderful artist, Kathrin Longhurst provided me with her stunning and haunting portrait that perfectly depicts the story of aviation but also the alternative meaning of the Gypsy Moth.
I also started messing around with some tunes, musical compositions, trying to capture the mood of some of the scenes in my books. As I wrote the scenes in full HD technicolor on the backdrop of my own PLAYLIST, I started conjuring up my own sounds that brought the stories to life in my own mind.
Bells (and Whistle) of international travel and intrigue, Shanghai Night, as Mitch sits at the Long Bar in the old Shanghai Club overlooking the Bund. Maskirovka that portrays the mood of deep deceit and deception, and Night Launch, a journey into the unknown.
The most poignant for me Night Flight. As I wrote it I was thinking of Amelia Earhart on her last flight above the Pacific Ocean, Amy Johnson disappearing over the Thames Estuary, but also the Enola Gay on her way to Japan - all night flights, all ending in tragic circumstances. All deep in thought as they head to their own demises.
Most recently, I had the good fortune to collaborate with my friend Eric Drake on his musical experiment SUIT Vol.1: Birthday a wonderful collection of tunes recorded in his studio on his farm above the Pacific Ocean, Santa Cruz, California.
Not only is Eric very cool but I think you will agree that he has masterfully put together a collection of songs worthy of any long power drive, party, or just sitting people watching by the beach or the boardwalk.
I was very proud and honored that Eric asked me to pen the lyrics for one of his tunes, The Dog - a darker deeper addition to the album, the words based on the Black Dog as referenced by Sir Winston Churchill.
"It's been a great journey so far, I hope that you are enjoying it as much as I. It's not been since my youth I had the opportunity to be this free and creative and as long as I have readers, followers, people who have at least some level of interest in my work, then I will continue."
Thank you so much for all your support, you can check out my newly refreshed website at www.willymitchell.com and visit my Gallery and Music section to learn more.
Willy Mitchell is an indie author, writer, and storyteller. His first title was Operation ARGUS, and then the sequel Bikini BRAVO where a group of former Special Air Service operatives enter the dark and murky world of maskirovka and discover the lengths that some people will go for power and greed. Cold COURAGE tells the epic tale of Shackleton's 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition and all that was happening in those extraordinary times. Book four, Northern ECHO tells the story of two boys growing up during the punk rock revolution in the north of England, and how a dark secret keeps them apart until the end. Mitchell's latest installment, is Gipsy MOTH about his Aunt Nikki, her friend, and fellow Aviatrix, Amy Johnson, and Amelia Earhart on the other side of the pond during the golden age of aviation.
Up next? SS Indigo is the story of an eclectic mix of guests mysteriously invited to a cruise on a luxury steamship around the Caribbean. The only thing they have in common is their lust for power, advancement, and wealth.
All of Mitchell's books so far are novels, works of fiction, blended with real events. For further information or how to buy his books, visit his author website: