Three books that inspired me to write a novel

I’m feeling very fortunate at the moment. A year ago I was working full time, counting down the days until the next school holiday and writing in every other moment available. Right now I’m on the plane on the way to Budapest for a few days, my first book is out and selling some copies and I’ve just reviewed the cover concepts for the second book in the series (they’re looking great, by the way, and I’ll be sharing them with you in the next few weeks).

I share pictures and thoughts from my adventures on Instagram and Facebook, follow the links below if you’d like to join me there.



I don’t say this to be boastful – please don’t think that – I say it to be grateful to myself for pushing for that change and to you for coming along for the ride. Thank you.

Here’s the link to read my first novel:

Some people go missing, others choose not to come back. My debut novel, KATHMANDU, is out now. Tap here to start reading.
Some people go missing, others choose not to come back. My debut novel, KATHMANDU, is out now. Tap here to start reading.

The books that inspired Kathmandu 

The more I’ve read and written over the last few months, the more I’ve realized that each book is actually the product of the thousands of other stories that went before it. That sounds slightly pretentious I know – all I mean is in my stories have hints and inspirations from countless others.

This has become even more apparent in the last few weeks as for the first time I’ve been able to talk to other people about what inspirations they see coming through in my writing. If, after reading this, you’ve got any ideas – I’d love to hear them too.

In truth, I must have read and heard many thousand stories over my lifetime – all and any of them may have crept into my writing. There are, however, a few that for me resonate through Leo’s adventures in Kathmandu.

Below are links to each of these books, so if you’ve finished Kathmandu and want another adventure you can dive straight in.

Dr No – Ian Fleming

Dr no cover

I’ve always loved the James Bond stories. Although I watched all the films countless years ago, it wasn’t until recently that I started reading the books. They’re fantastic, a poetic blend of majestic description and savage action. They also seem to develop Bond’s complex character, showing a weakness and vulnerability which is largely missed in the films.

With Leo, my own complexly flawed protagonist, I’ve tried to develop this perception. Although he’s pushed into desperate and difficult situations, like Bond, he always tries to do the right thing. The only problem is (I suppose) that it’s not always clear what the right thing is.
I also love how Fleming uses setting, which in the case of Dr No is a Caribbean island. I love how the sounds, smells and colours of that island transcend the page – this is something I aim for in everything I write.

Start reading in the UK
Start reading in the US


A Very Unsettled Summer – Philip O’Ceallaigh

Pleasant light of day cover

This short story is part of a collection entitled The Pleasant Light of Day.

It follows a nameless narrator over the period of a summer as he rekindles things with an ex-lover. The whole story is set against a summer of storms which ravage the city, mirroring the narrator’s illicit passions. Although the main character himself isn’t really like Leo, my protagonist, they are both shown to be weak characters at the mercy of their emotions. I also love the tone of voice O’Ceallaigh uses – it’s brutal, concise and in places filthy.

Although this is a beautiful piece of writing, it is very explicit in places so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone.

Start reading in the US
Start reading in the UK


Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram cover

Gregory David Robert’s Shantaram is a novel of epic proportions.

Following the story of an Australian convict escaping into the slums of Mumbai, it paints an incredible picture of one of the most densely populated and vibrant cities in the world. It’s a beautiful piece of literature which I read shortly after visiting India for the first time.

As the action unfolds, we get to know the different shades of the city, from its multiple dark sides to the glimmers of hope which transcend the abject poverty. It’s a book which is truly absorbing. If you love to travel (like I do), you will inhale as quickly as you can.

Start reading in the UK
Start reading in the US


If you have read any of these books, did you notice any hints of them come through in Kathmandu?

As ever, thank you, I’m loving sharing my writing journey with you and can’t wait to take you on Leo and Allissa’s next adventure in Hong Kong.

What books have most inspired you?



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