Thursday, 14 February 2013

An Amazing interview with Rags Daniels read on...




Page Count: 300

ISBN: 9-780957-406711


Cost: £9.95

Can you tell me something about yourself Rags?

I was Born into a working class family, the second of four children, in Salford  1944. We migrated South in 1956. Wild and curious, I ran off to London where I met the majority of the characters I write about.  The swinging sixties and early seventies played a major roll in my insatiable thirst for adventure, and against a backdrop of mini-skirts, mod’s, rockers and Muhammad Ali, bore witness to an era of crazy fads, culminating in Britain’s first ever woman Prime Minister in 1979. And of whom Lord Acton said, ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely,’ and by the end of her era, Thatcher was case in point. And while the Nation paddled through rubbish, bodies unburied, strikes, power cuts, spiraling inflation, limited working weeks, abysmal production, etc, etc, the real money was going into the pockets of fraudulent corporate boards and City Yuppies.(Groomed to Kill), my first book was written against a backdrop of inner city poverty and tells of a lad who  became a government assassin.


I worked in Norway on timber frame construction where I met John Millen a naval architect who designed Pearl Harbour  after the war. I became a ‘minder’ for his mother-in-law, both on and off his motor yacht. in which he and his wife toured the world. I returned home, attended Brunel University and passed I.O.C.W.(GB) inc,exams. After that I worked for Borough Architects Dept. I resigned, got married, built my own house while running several companies, then constructed a steel mill in India and a tiger compound in Nepal for the World Wild Life Trust. When widowed, I returned to writing and investigative journalism…It is information from my diaries from the 60’s and 70’s that informed my writing of POLICY, creating a fictional account of one such tale of political intrigue, which led to me being by MI6. My latest book Lallapaloosa is ready for publishing and is currently being scripted for the silver screen. I now reside with my son, an A level English teacher, and Roxzan, my 12 year old adopted daughter. 


Now that is one fascinating life!

What inspired you to write?

This particular book?  I was trawling through my book-shelves, when I came across a copy of a young  medical students book titled; ‘Motor cycle Diaries.’  by Ernesto "Che" Guevara. As the world knows, he later became a Marxist and the world’s most well-known revolutionary. Several ideas crossed my mind and I began to make notes of how to handle his last days being hunted by Bolivian crack rangers. It ended up as two stories, with one told in flashback of his final days spent with a band of mercenaries employed to assist Che escape, and two, thirty five years later, of the murders of the mercenaries who assisted him.

Who are you favourite authors?

Nicholas Monserrat...John Grisham...Mario Puzo…Robert Lewis Stevenson... J.D. Salinger...Brendan Behan...  

Can you tell me something about your latest book?

October 8, 1967, 'Che' Ernesto Guevara was executed... Or so the world believed. 
     Inspired by a true sequence of events, ’Lallapaloosa’ tells in flashback the story leading up to the betrayal and 'capture'  of the world’s most famous revolutionary and master of disguise.
     Original,  fast moving, and atmospheric to the last whiff of  a Partagas cigar, it begins thirty years after the event with a series of sinister murders against a fraternity of retired mercenaries who, having fought alongside 'Che' in the Congo,  grouped for one last mission in the jungles of Bolivia.
     For thirty years, Richard Strang, thought he shared the world’s best kept secret with no one.  Then one summer evening, the tap of a blind man's cane, and a nose for the toasted Cuban leaf, changed all that.

Wow! How long did it take you to write it?

Approximately, including the research, one year.

Can you tell us something about the writing process, do you have a set time for writing, did you do any research or anything else of interest that was involved?

Yes, loads of research, even down to the entries he made in an old German diary he carried are displayed in the book, along with his campaign maps. I usually write early in the morning, facing a blank wall so as not to be distracted by anything. And take the occasional break for a puff of a cigar and a coffee.

What do you think readers will come away with when they have finished your book?

The ones who have read it want me to do a sequel. Material is not a problem, though a prequel would be easier. Every review to date has been positive, though there aren’t many, but it was well received.


Would you share an interesting paragraph or two from your book?


(Tania’s 2nd Interrogation)

Chapter 12


It was playtime ...

Ray Kinsella lazily scratched the side of his jaw. He was in his element; his broad Irish accent, soothingly monotone, was marinated with menace. “February 25th. You leave Sao Paulo, Brazil, travelling on a tourist card in the name of Laura Gutierrez Bauer.” Tania’s eyes dilated with fear and beseeched me to stop the madness. “April 13th: you arrive in Mexico.” He prodded Tania’s temple with the snout of his 9mm and went on. “That’s sixteen days. Sixteen days of postcard writing and sight-seeing. First question, who did you meet in Sao Paulo? And remember ...” He lowered his voice, “lie and my friend will taste it on your breath.” Tania’s lips quivered, childlike, her answer barely audible. “Speak up, Miss Bauer. I’m deaf in one eye.”

“Werner Metzel.”

Kinsella let out a long low whistle. “A Russian national, promoted to major in the KGB six months ago, now acting as Moscow’s front line sandbag in Brazil. Precarious choice of playmate, wouldn’t you say? Why?”

“Why ...? Why what? I ... I don’t understand.”

“That’s because us Irish are the most misunderstood race on the planet. Sixteen days. It didn’t take sixteen days to sabotage Ché’s guerrilla movement in the interests of Moscow. In fact, it wouldn’t have taken you sixteen minutes.”

Kinsella reached for a cigarette and borrowed mine to light it. “Did you?” he asked.


“Play one way conversation with Metzel.”

“Is that question two?”

“Why do I get the feeling my arse is about to choke?”

No comprendo.”

“Don’t give me any blarney. You understand all right. Now answer the question before I give your eardrum lead poisoning”

“Metzel passed on the information about Zone Red.”

“And in return, you gave away the location of Ché’s guerrilla camp.”

“That was Marcos.”

“Forget Marcos. You severed communications between Nancahuazú and La Paz and gave away the location of the guerrilla camp.”

“That’s not true.”

“I’ll be the judge of what’s true and what isn’t, Ms. Bauer. Question two. Compared to the men in Ché’s group, the men you befriended, you’d enjoyed a sophisticated existence of which they knew nothing. You treated them like ignorant savages and tantalized them with your superior knowledge of the world. In turn, they entrusted you and you betrayed them—transmitted everything that happened, every move Ché made. Again, why?”

“Metzel promised money, arms ... the help we needed to succeed.”

Kinsella fell silent. It was a lengthy silence, the sort that conceives and gives birth; the sort that gives the victim hope. In my book, skilled interrogators never fall silent, because once they do they lose command, their psychological edge is blunted. There was a script. A script we’d gone over and over. Suddenly his jaw moved, and a pole of ash fell from his cigarette and disintegrated on his sleeve. “Does that answer taste right to you, Rick?” he asked. It was an admission he was stumbling.

“If I was a snake, Ray,” I said. “My tongue wouldn’t bother flicking out a second time.”

“Okay then, ask why she risked using her fake Argentinian passport to gain entry into Mexico.” He was straying off beam, losing thrust. Tania was no fool; she would pick up on it and use it to her advantage. Of course, it was important to know why she’d risked travelling on false Argentinian papers when she had genuine documents of Bolivian citizenship and a Bolivian passport in the name of Alvarez, both obtained through a hasty marriage of convenience, dissolved within weeks. I let things rest a moment. Tania’s mind would be racing in circles, searching for tell-tale signs of a bluff, a way out, a finger hold she could convert to an eight lane highway. I took the spotlight off her, placed her firmly in the stalls, and went into an Amos and Andy routine.

“Forget all that, Ray. Question is, would anyone miss her if I ordered you to pull the trigger?”

“Soviet Intelligence might.”

“As in Castroland,” I said.

“As in the Caribbean Kremlin,” Ray added.

“Same thing.”

“Then there’s the East German MFS,” Ray said, continuing with the game.

I let out a long sigh. “I wonder what it’s like to be without friends.”

“Just say the word, Rick, and I’ll put her out of her misery.”

“Some might construe it ideological sabotage.”

“You British wouldn’t know ideology if it crawled up your trouser leg and chewed your balls off,” Tania snapped defiantly. She’d sensed a bluff, attained her finger hold, and was fighting back. Either that or she hated being sidelined. I analysed her eyes for that telltale flicker of cock-sure insolence. Nothing. She was good, very good.

Ernesto Guevara viene del monte pa’ la ciudad. Ya tienen los guerrilleros un jefe a quien seguir,” I said in a low voice, quoting from the song Che’s men used to sing about him coming down from the mountains. She suddenly stiffened; her eyes grew wider and the colour drained from her face. Ya pasa por las montanas y hasta en las selvas y se Ie ve. Porque Ernesto Guevara, luchando, vive y se va ...”

“But Ché has yet to come down from the mountains to the city.” Kinsella interrupted.

“He will.” A sudden rebelliousness flashed in Tania’s eyes. “If not him, it will be another like him.” Her rash display of bravado seemed genuine, but it was also part of an agent’s profession to be a good actor.

“But not Ché,” I said flatly.

“Because Fidel wants him back in Cuba,” Kinsella said matter of factly.

I shook my head. “No he doesn’t, Ray, at least not by choice. Moscow’s ordered Fidel to take him back. Bolivia was a mistake. Central America was a mistake. Question two ...”

A look of bewilderment flitted across Tania’s face. It was genuine; genuine enough to mentally record.

“I don’t understand,” she said.

“Question two ...”

“I’ve already answered it.” There was a tinge of anxiety in her voice and her slender fingers fidgeted erratically with the gold and silver bangles on her wrist. “Metzel was my link with the KGB. It was Metzel who organised the weapons shipments into Sao Paulo and supervised the cash transfers.”

“We know all that, Tania. It’s not why we are here. ‘Our Man in Havana’ type vaudeville espionage techniques went out with black fedoras, white shirts and dazzling ties. The question was why did you deliberately set out to sabotage Ché’s guerrilla movement?”

“I didn’t.”

I threw her a lifeline. One I could let go the second I concluded her answer unconvincing. “Didn’t deliberately, or didn’t sabotage it?”

“I made a mistake.”

“You disobeyed orders, flushed two years work down the toilet.”

“Let me shoot her, Rick.” The frustration in Kinsella’s voice was intentional.

I shook my head. “We play out the game.”

“Fuck the game.” He thumbed back the hammer, leaned back in his chair, and turned his face away to avoid blood spatter. “I’m bored and I’m tired and I don’t want to play anymore.” Tania’s shoulders dropped and her face went slack.

I said: “Let me ask her one more question, and then we’ll call it a day.”

“She’s lost. She’s lied twice already. Let me shoot her, Rick. This place is beginning to depress me. The coffee’s crap, the beer’s crap and ...” He sniffed, wrinkled his nose, then turned and looked at Tania through half closed eyes. “I can smell crap.”

“Now you’ve made her cry.”


“If you pull that trigger, I’ll never speak to you again.”

“Not ever?”

“Pull the trigger.”

“I thought we were mates.”

“Trouble with you Ray, you have no faith.”

“I might not carry a rosary, but I do wear a crucifix.”

“I’m not talking about the kind of faith you have when you go for a bank loan, Ray. I’m talking faith in human nature, the cosmic force kind, the kind our friend here has.”

“But the lady’s gone and crapped herself!”

“That’s because she had faith in you.”

“You mean she really believed I was going to shoot her?”

“She was totally convinced.”

“Can I just clear up one thing?”

“Go on.”

“Were you serious when you said you’d never speak to me again if I shot her?”

“Were you, when you threatened to shoot her?”

Kinsella sighed and relaxed his position. “Ask her the final question.”

I threw her a ‘perfume tester’. If her answer came up aroma of roses, I’d give her a break before moving on. “The ‘journalist’ Roberto Benigno, you contacted him in February this year, invited him to a clandestine meeting held here in Bolivia. Benigno was a sympathiser who helped in the collection of funds for the revolution and was connected with the group arrested in Salta. After the meeting in La Paz, you, a Belgian travelling with dubious press credentials, and Benigno, caught the bus for Cochabamba. You arrived at dawn and took another bus to Sucre. Benigno and the Belgian stayed at The Gran Hotel. The next day you hired a jeep and the three of you travelled to Camiri. Two days later, you met up with Ché. Give or take the odd three point turn and breaks for bodily functions, am I right so far?”

“No. The Belgian was a Frenchman. His name’s ...”

“Regis Delacroix?”

She nodded. I smiled. She was almost back on track. I lit two Astorias simultaneously and passed one to Tania. She took it between trembling fingers, drew on it, and inhaled deeply.

“Break time,” Kinsella unexpectedly announced, bolstering his gun and getting to his feet. I followed suit and stretched my legs in the direction of the bar, scanned the shelves for anything palatable, and grabbed three bottles of American champagne. “Pepsi, Pepsi, or Pepsi anyone?”

“What sort of piss-hole is it when you can’t get a decent cup of tea?” Kinsella moaned. He was over by the window peering out.

“You shouldn’t have shot the barman, Ray.”

“Are you saying I should’ve had faith in him as well?”

I glanced in the direction of Tania. She was slumped like a bruised and battered flyweight living in dread of the bell that would signal the next round.

“Maybe Tania’ll make you a nice cup of tea.”

“I doubt she’s in a fit state to make a decent corpse.” Chair legs scraped the tiled floor and Tania got to her feet. She was gutsy if nothing else. She ducked under the bar-flap and came up the other side waving Rodolfo’s shotgun in her hands. “Vamos, both of you back to the table!” Her lips were a thin line of pent up aggression, and the cock-sure insolence I’d noted earlier blazed in her eyes.

“Cut the blarney, bitch, and make the tea,” Kinsella said, glancing at her as he made his way back to the table.

“Sit! Put your hands on the table, Irish, palms down. You too, Mister Strang.”

“Are you going to shoot us?” Kinsella asked.

“Stupid Irish,” she hissed. She cocked the hammers and pressed the butt against her shoulder. “You’re first.”

“And you’re adamant a pot of tea is definitely out of the question?”

“I wouldn’t spit in your mouth if you were dying of thirst.”

Kinsella shrugged resignedly. “So shoot.”

“Hang on ...” The dull thump of a hammer cut me short. A second thump followed. Tania cursed, hurriedly re-cocked the hammers and repeated the action.

Kinsella grinned broadly. “That’s what I call faith,” he said, taking two shells from his pocket and standing them side by side on the table. “Now put the gun down and make the tea, there’s a good girl.”

Any other links of interest: None to speak of.


Thank you so much for sharing this with us Rags.  It is all really fascinating and I wish you well with any future work.



  1. I love Diane and I love Rags so this is perfect for Valentine's Day! Thank you for sharing the interview today.

  2. Great interview and fascinating excerpt! Best of luck with this, Rags!

  3. Thank you, Jules. Not everyone's cup of Earl Grey, I hasten to add, But after six months of research, the dialogue between Tania and her interrogators (although this is just a small clip), is more an informative piece of those times.

  4. I was extremely impressed by this book and by Rags's writing ability from the moment I first read the opening lines; and I continued to be impressed as I read on. If James Patterson is a major bestseller, why is Rags Daniels not? He certainly should be! Get it and read it, everyone!

    (Post shared and tweeted.)

  5. Thank you for your kind comment, Gerry. It is very much appreciated, though face-blushing. Thanks again, Rags.

  6. A fascinating interview - an insight into the world of Rags Daniels. I wish you every success with this, and your other works, they deserve to do well

  7. Rags has certainly led an interesting life.
    Loved the excerpt, brilliant snappy dialogue and characters who would definitely be at home on the big screen.

  8. Hi, Babs...Nice to hear from you...I've been a bit of a Howard Hughes recently...But the old confidence is slowly returning...Thanks for your kind comment...Rags.

  9. Very interesting life you have had Raggsy. Lalla is a great book and well worth the look.

  10. Wonderful interview both of you! Great to learn more about you, Rags.

  11. This Interview provides a privileged & rare opportunity to peer inside the life & past of Rags Daniels . Not one to ever flaunt or flirt the intrinsic & interesting history of his life , with anyone , so grab this glimpse with both hands & be Very grateful for the invitation . Equally ... as intriguing , exciting & enchanting , as the characters in his novels . You will be left with an insatiable appetite that can only be satisfied by the sanctuary of his novels !

  12. Thank you, Bedazzled. Have you ever thought of co-writing my next one?

  13. Loved reading that! As Diane said - a most interesting life! I've put you on my to-read list, as what you've written interests me - I've stopped making promises re time, though, as my list is so long these days. Good questions, Diane :)

  14. Thank you, Terry...Welcome words from an accomplished author.

  15. Hi Great linking it to my review of his latest at Book Readers Heaven...

  16. Hello, Glenda!..Well, what can I say...Your review came as a most pleasant surprise, and I and many others enjoyed reading it. May I take this opportunity of thanking you for the time you spent putting it all together, including the film snippets. Thanking you once again....Rags.