Seumas Gallacher writes cracking crime fiction. However his latest publication isn’t fiction at all – it’s an autobiographical memoir going by the terrific title of Strangely, I’m Still Here. So what’s the link between Gallacher’s life story and his inclinations as a thriller writer? We had to find out – and grilled the author accordingly. Here’s what he admitted to, behind closed doors and under the bright lights of an MMM interrogation…
The answer is simple. We authors are constantly advised to ‘write what you know about’. So where does the ‘crime’ element come into my life? I assure you, and any law enforcement types who may be reading this, I am not a murderer, honest!
My thrillers involve guys who are ex-SAS officers, and who form their own specialised security firm after leaving the armed forces. They are tough, and they know how to ‘look after themselves’ thank you very much.
Part of my memoir covers my time as a corporate troubleshooter in the Philippines, where I was engaged in a turnaround situation for a ferry company. There was a lot of crime on the docksides, cargo yards and piers where we operated. In the first month of the assignment, I fired 600 trade union dockside workers as they were simple stealing and scamming the place blind. I began to get death threats, which my big bosses took seriously.
I was ordered to get an armoured car and a team of six armed security professionals, whom I used on daily rotational duty. I had to learn how to be piggy-in-the-middle during any potential armed threat while in transit from home to the office and the piers. When travelling outside of the capital, Manila, I had to wear a bulletproof vest.
The guy who owned the security firm, and who became a close friend, was ex-SAS, six feet, two inches tall, and built like the proverbial brick outhouse. The following excerpt from ‘Strangely…’ tells you a little bit more about him.
‘I’m also frequently asked if the characters in my crime thrillers are based on real-life people. The true answer for most of them lies somewhere between yes and no. However, for the main man, Jack, the ex-SAS officer, there does exist a gentleman, a true gentleman at that, and a man I’m pleased to call a friend, who fits most of his characteristics. He’s the boss of the security outfit I alluded to above, and is an ex-SAS officer. He would not thank me for naming him, but he lives in my books almost precisely as I’ve seen him behave in civvy street many times.
Without pinpointing the location in which the following event happened, let me describe one true incident which captivated me at the time. ‘Jack’, as I will continue to use his pseudonym, was owed some money by a guy who belonged to the local Hell’s Angels chapter. The debtor was slow to repay the obligation, despite several polite, and then not-so-polite requests.
One evening, on a late Saturday night in Manila, the English Premier League football was showing on live television. Some friends and I were watching the match in a local bar, in which there were also several of the Hell’s Angels, including the debtor. The place was crowded. The bar door swung open, like a passage in a movie. Framed in the doorway, the six foot, two inches of ‘Jack’ stood, dressed in his customary, black, muscle-bound T-shirt. He took his time to look around. The place hushed quiet. Only the sound of the television commentary was clearly audible.
He noted the bikers’ group and approached slowly, staring at the recalcitrant debtor. The group parted until ‘Jack’ came face to face with the man. Wordlessly, he stretched out an arm and opened the guy’s jacket and removed his wallet from its inside pocket. He glanced from the man, to the group, to the wallet, and took whatever money was inside, then threw the wallet onto the bar.
Not a word was uttered during all of this. Nobody moved a muscle, least of all the debtor. There were at least six of the Hell’s Angels present. Not one of them budged even as much as an eyebrow. ‘Jack’ backed off one step, and turned his back on all of them before taking his time to walk to the door and left, without looking back.
It was the darnedest thing I have ever seen. That’s my man, Jack!’
The lads who looked after me were trained by ‘Jack’, and they were superb. There’s a photo of one of them, Raffy, who was totally at ease with his firearm and without it.
If you feel like a realistic read, enjoy my memoir and my Jack Calder series of crime-thriller novels.
Strangely, I’m Still Here by Seumas Gallacher is available at Amazon
The Jack Calder series by Seumas Gallacher can also be found at Amazon
The author’s own blog is at https://seumasgallacher.com