Frequently asked questions:
Q: Do you write your own books or do you have a ghost writer?
A: I have written all of my books . When I was asked to write my auto biography, my first book, I hired a professional writer. But after reading the first chapter I decided I could do better. I was surprised when the publisher then asked if I would like to write a novel.
Q: How much of Stratton is based on you?
A: I'd love to be as cool as Stratton but alas I'm not. When writing characters it's a good idea to base them on someone real so that you always have a reference. I chose myself for Stratton just to keep track of certain traits and background.
Q: Most scary moment?
A: In Liberia during the war, driving into a checkpoint on a jungle road manned by 10 to 16 year old boys armed with AK47s, most of them drunk and high on weed. I was unarmed and had to find a good reason for them not to shoot me. It took me around 20 minutes and even then I didn't believe I had escaped execution until they were out of sight in my rearview mirror.
Q: What type of person makes it into SF?
People who are tenacious, very fit, can be single minded and manage pain, exhaustion and stress. I'm thinking of the main things that will get a person through the selection process.
Q: Did your underprivileged upbringing have an impact on your resilience?
A: I think it's true that people who have had a soft upbringing might find joining special forces a greater challenge than those who have had a tougher upbringing. For instance, South African boys who move to the UK and join Special Forces have a far higher pass rate than British boys.
Q: Your autobiography is full of humour - why, when the job was so serious?
A: I'm naturally a humorous type but being a Royal Marine only enhanced that. You won't need to hang around a bunch of bootnecks for long before laughing at something one of them says or does.
Q: Military or civilian life - which have you enjoyed the most?
A: Military life was filled with fun and excitement and I'll never have such mates or laughs. But nothing can beat a lovely wife and wonderful children and the journey through life together.