Nick Winter is a former SA Secret Service agent and consultant to MI6 in Iraq. His contract: Find Khan, an Indian terrorist running loose with cell phone detonators in the great metropolis of Mumbai. Half British, half Kashmiri and living in South Africa, he first had to find himself. Suspecting foul play in the Khan contract, he decides to investigate. That’s when Winter becomes the prey.
Nick is a fair man, a solid human being. He is essentially a loner, quiet and soft spoken. Being a victim of racial discrimination as a child has defined his character in his fight against those who oppress others. Nick loves the finer things in life, like expensive clothes and fancy cars, but sometimes it’s all just part of the different personas he has to assume. Today, we’re pleased to bring you an interview with Nick. Enjoy!
1. How did you feel when you first heard that your contract to find the terrorist Khan in Mumbai was changed at the last minute to an assassination?
I was ticked off at the inconvenience, but preparing for the unexpected was part of the job.
2. How do you think things would have ended if you hadn’t involved your old friend and IT genius Ray Desai?
He was a critical link in finding Sh Salafi and doing the data mining to follow Chandrasekhar’s money trail. Ray was also a key witness in identifying the group who kidnapped Jasminder Singh. Without him, it would have taken a lot longer to unravel the case. When he was shot during her rescue, it was hard to accept that I may have been the reason that he could have been killed. Ray knew the risks though, and he is a professional if nothing else.
3. When you first met Khan’s niece, tennis star Jasminder Singh, what was your first impression of her?
Besides the fact that she was absolutely smashing to look at, it was her honesty and decency as a person that shone through the most. She was easy to talk to and had no pretences about her, despite being an international tennis star.
4. What’s the worst part of your job?
Lying to people I know.
5. What’s the best part of your job?
There’s a special satisfaction in finding the killers that have become our stock in trade. The knowledge that they won’t be able to hurt any more innocent people is reward enough for me.
6. If someone met you for the first time and spent only five minutes with you, what are they most likely to remember about you?
Hopefully nothing; in my business, it’s not good to be remembered for anything. Those are the things that get you killed.
7. If you could pick any skill that you don’t already have, which would you most like to have?
Being able to use a computer to find out people’s deep and dirty secrets, but I suppose that’s why I have Ray, right? Problem is; he’s not always around, so it comes down to old fashioned leg work most of the time.
8. What quality/trait do you find vital in a fellow spy on the same team?
9. What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told, who did you lie to and why?
The biggest lies are the ones that hurt the most inside. Knowing that I killed her uncle, and still expecting Jasminder Singh’s co-operation and affections was a killer. If she finds out, do I kill her? See what I mean.
10. Is there anything you tend to carry around with you everywhere you go? If so, why?
These days it has to be a cell phone. It has become the most important communication tool around. Weapons are not a problem; one can fashion a weapon out of most things.
11. As a spy, it’s obviously vital that you know if someone can be trusted or not. How do you decide if someone is trustworthy?
That’s one of the hardest things in this business. A lot has to do with gut feel. Sometimes you can look into someone’s eyes and tell straight away he’s not trustworthy. There’s a lot that people give away in their body language, how they avert their eyes when lying, or how they manipulate a conversation to steer it away from probing enquiries. Others have become so adept at lying that it’s almost impossible to determine their honesty.
12. What do you tend to notice first about people you’ve just met?
Their eyes; so much is communicated in just one look. Most people are so absorbed with themselves they forget to observe others really closely. Where they keep their hands is also important. If someone goes for a weapon you have to be prepared. Watching their hands will give you a good clue as to what comes next.
13. What’s your greatest strength?
Observation. The San Bushmen trackers taught me a lot about the power of observation, of knowing your prey, learning its traits, strengths and weaknesses. This allows you to think like your enemy and ultimately defeat him.
14. If you could shape shift into any animal, what would it be and why?
Mountain lion – power, speed, stealth and grace.
15. What would give you ultimate peace and happiness?
Now there’s one for the books. At some point, you have to down tools and say enough is enough. Peace and happiness, there’s a thought. Contentment, that’s something else, though. A small cottage by the sea or at the foot of a mountain, some paint and an easel would be nice, assuming I manage to dodge an assassin’s bullet.
From the Author:
One of the great challenges to a writer is to draw believable characters that readers can identify with. Doing this interview has been like putting on a familiar garment again. The Winter Deception was written completely in the first person. That in itself was really challenging as you have to live through every breathing moment of your protagonist. The questions posed brought all of that back again. Writing from Winter’s viewpoint forced me to pour myself into the character and feel, smell and think as he does, and that makes him real.
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