Today, I’m pleased to welcome David Khara, author of The Bleiberg Project, a new conspiracy theory action thriller from France.
The Bleiberg Project is an adrenaline-pumping conspiracy thriller and the first in the Consortium Thriller series by the French writer David Khara. Are Hitler’s atrocities really over? This thriller full of humour and humanity was an immediate sensation in France, catapulting the author to the ranks of the country’s top thriller writers. It is now available in English.
Before we get started with the interview, here’s a little taster of the book (please note contains strong language):
“Besides work and getting high, what do you do all day?”
No answer. You’re out of luck, pal. I’m pig-headed. “The journey will seem shorter if we talk, don’t you think?”
He sighs. “When I’m not on an assignment, I paint.” I can’t help laughing. “You think that’s funny?”
“I’m picturing you on a stool with your palette and brush, gazing at a green valley or a snowy mountaintop. Sorry, but with your look and build, it’s funny!”
“If you’re just going to make fun of me, the trip is going to seem very, very long.” He clams up.
“There’s no harm in a little fun. OK, I’ll stop,” I snort, laughing even louder. Why do giggling fits always hit at inappropriate times?
“What about you? Besides driving home from clubs dead drunk, what do you do?”
Bastard. That’s below the belt. On second thought, I guess I deserved it. “I try to survive. I thought about blowing my brains out, but I’m too much of a coward. So I drink. I smoke like a chimney. Every day, I destroy myself a little bit more.”
“Suicide isn’t a sign of bravery, but of giving up. We all make mistakes. You don’t judge somebody by the number of blows they can give.”
“What do you judge somebody by, Mr Freud?”
“The number of blows they can take.”
His words hit home. “You’ve taken a lot, right?” I ask. A long, long beat.
“More than you can ever imagine.”
Why am I not surprised? This guy’s been around the block. I’d bet my life on it. “How do you do it?”
“Blowing guys away like that. How do you do it?”
“Who said it was easy?” He sighs heavily. A long awkward silence.
(Excerpted from The Bleiberg Project by David Khara. First published in French as Le Projet Bleiberg, ©2010 Editions Critic. English translation ©2013 Simon John. First published in English in 2013 by Le French Book, a digital-first publisher specializing in best-selling mysteries and thrillers from France.).
And now, for the interview
So David, your new book, The Bleiberg Project, is a thriller with links to World War II. What was it that inspired you to write a novel along that theme?
The whole idea for The Bleiberg Project idea came while I was driving to my office, listening to the news. A pharmaceutical company was doing research on an orphan disease that touched fewer than 100 kids in Europe. A man said that the study was being ended because the budget was 50,000 euros short. I was stunned. These companies make tons of money, amazing profits, and 50,000 euros is a drop in the ocean. When I got to my office, I started looking into the subject and found articles establishing links between Nazi and Japanese scientists during WWII and pharmaceutical companies. I also found information about how Allied governments were interested in the results of immoral and incredibly cruel human experiments. Through my research, I realized the world we live in rose up from the ashes of war, and was built on the corpses of 60 million victims. I wanted to write about it, through entertainment to make it more bearable.
What research do you do to ensure the atmosphere, locations and characters feel authentic?
The answer is pretty easy: 1000 hours listening to survivors, watching documentaries over and over again, and reading biographies. The point was not for me to merely tell the stories. I needed to get in the minds of both victims and criminals. I wanted to be there with them. This inspired many of the characters of the series, even those set in the present day. And everything that happens in the past is, at one point or another, is based on the truth.
Tell us a little about your writing process, do you plot out the story events before sitting down to write, or do you drive right in and see where the story takes you?
It is a very delicate mix of both. I’ve got a few dots I need to link together to get the whole picture. I do not use notes, nor do I write an outline. I know what I’m going to write, and since the novels are built as puzzles with chapters taking us back in time, I have everything in mind before starting. That means I constantly think about it. There is just no day off when I start working. Still, the absence of a written script gives the characters some space to explore unplanned directions. My job is then to make sure they don’t stray too far from the plot and my goals.
How do you organise your writing day: do you have a favourite time and place to write?
My writing day is a well-established ritual. I write in my garden, a cup of coffee on the left side of my computer, and my cigarettes (bad, I know) on the right side. I put sunglasses on, then headphones because I need music to keep me in the mood of each chapter. With that, I’m ready for 6 to 8 hours of intensive writing. I usually work from 10 in the morning to 6 in the evening, with a break for lunch. When I’m not in the mood for writing, I go back to my research.
And what’s next for you, are you planning your next novel, or already well into the writing of it?
The Morgenstern Project, the third book in the Consortium thriller series, was just released in France, so I’m traveling a lot for book signings and interviews. My next novel is planned, and I’ll start writing it pretty soon and it is about time because I’ve had it in mind for three years now and lots of readers ask for it. The Bleiberg Project movie production should move to a new phase soon, which will have a direct impact on my schedule. 2014 will be a very busy year, believe me.
A big thank you to David Khara for dropping by to talk to us. To find out more about David and The Bleiberg Project, you can check out the link below:
Web page: http://www.thebleibergproject.com
The Bleiberg Project is out now and available via Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.