Since that fateful day, computer expert David Hayes has been consumed by his need to learn more about his past. Frustrated at every turn, his search seems destined to fail until the sudden arrival of a photograph from his past " a photograph that shatters everything.
With his past revealed as a lie, the photograph becomes David's only lead in uncovering his true identity. But as David's hunt for answers takes him across Europe, a hidden adversary is already moving against him. For the truth involves the Company and its chief of security, Eva. Driven by her own demons, she will stop at nothing to ensure the Company's secrets remain hidden. For Eva, the stakes are personal.
Severed Past is the engaging debut thriller from Melbourne-based author Anthony R. Jansen, with wide appeal to adult fiction readers.
Anthony Jansen holds a degree in Science and a PhD in the field of Cognitive Science. For as long as he can remember he has been fascinated by science and technology, and in particular the impact, both intended and unintended, they can have on the way we live our lives. Having spent the early part of his career in academia, Anthony now works in commercial IT, but the one constant in his life has been his love of books and learning. He is an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction, and is willing to pick up a book on almost any topic or genre. Anthony lives in Melbourne with his wife and twin daughters.
Author: Anthony Jansen
Question: What inspired the story of Severed Past?
Anthony Jansen: For some time I'd been thinking about the question: to what degree is our personal identity tied up with our memory of the past? It seemed like it would form the basis of a great story, but it needed something more to make it work. At the same time I was also intrigued by the notion that, for all the benefits it provides society, technological progress can so easily be used for nefarious purposes. When I started bringing these two ideas together I realised there was great potential to create a compelling story, and that ultimately led me to write Severed Past.
Question: What do you enjoy most about writing thrillers?
Anthony Jansen: I think thrillers are fantastic. They allow you to combine the suspense and intellectual characteristics of a mystery novel with the excitement, danger and action you typically find in an adventure story. When done well, it leads to an enthralling experience for the reader. It's that challenge of doing it well that draws me as an author, inspired of course by the many great thrillers that have been written in the past.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the character of David Hayes?
Anthony Jansen: When you start to create a character for your novel you get to play god, which is great fun. You can give your character any physical traits you want, any habits, personality defects or whatever. But for me that is only half the story. One of the most rewarding aspects in creating a character is the journey of discovery that it takes you on. While initially I will dictate many traits of my characters, there are just as many aspects that are not planned, but rather are revealed by the situations the character comes across during the story. This certainly happened with David Hayes, and as a writer it's fantastic when your characters come alive in this way.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Anthony Jansen: Real life and real people provide an important level of inspiration for my writing. But rather than just looking at the world as it is today, I'm also intrigued by the question "what else is possible?" So real life and real people provide the foundation for my writing, but I'm always trying to go beyond that foundation when it comes to the details. The connection to the real world is important so that readers can easily relate to what I've written, but I'm also keen to leave my readers with thought provoking ideas that go beyond their typical day-to-day experiences.
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring writers or artists?
Anthony Jansen: For aspiring writers, especially those who want to attempt a sizeable piece of work like a novel, one of the keys is consistency. You need to be writing almost every day. This not only allows you to continually improve your skills, it's also the only way I know to produce a manuscript of sixty, eighty, or even a hundred thousand words. Another key point is not to get too hung up on the quality of the first draft. Ignore any desire to be a perfectionist at this stage as you can always improve your work when you rewrite. The first draft is all about getting down your ideas. Refinement of your prose should happen later.