What was your inspiration?
The original inspiration for ‘Sequence’ became the phrase which best describes the
follow-up: ‘[Sequoia]’ – If you could travel back in time, knowing that you could not
change one single event, just how far would you go? I wanted to write a time travel
novel in which the science was accurate, the ramifications were believable and the
end result seemingly pointless but ultimately shocking. I also wanted to create a
change one single event in history. Why somebody might even bother intrigued me
and I think that readers will find the reasons very surprising indeed.
How long did it take to write?
The planning of ‘Sequence’ took a couple of years, in amongst other writing.
Because nothing about history – actual history or the fictional history of my
characters – could be altered in any way, the novel became an extremely complex
puzzle with diverse threads which needed to work together. I also wanted two of the
stories to cross paths not only at the end, but also at a very specific point in time
mid-way through the novel. Getting two sets of events timed to perfection took a lot
of planning. I also had to take all existing theories of places like “Rennes-le-Chateau”
and completely rewrite my version of them, which meant creating puzzles even more
complex than those already in existence. I used paintings I found on the internet,
composed my own Latin texts and created a series of complex clues.
Approximately how many words is it?
It’s 158,997 words long. Exactly. Though I must point out that not all words are
unique and I have chosen to repeat certain words – words such as ‘the’ – at various
points throughout the novel.
Who is your favourite character?
I needed a background character, whom I called ‘Tina’. She was autistic and
mute and started life simply as a means to an end. By the time the novel was fully
plotted Tina was the lynchpin to everything that was, is and will ever be. She has a
devastating event thrust upon her toward the end of the novel and we discover that
her inability to communicate with others is a result of her being so far ahead of the
average person that the rest of us are, in effect, ants. We make no attempt to talk
to ants, so why should Tina make any effort to talk to us? She is so phenomenally
astute, whilst oozing the quiet confidence of somebody like Andy Dufresne, and that
makes for an amazing character.
Are any of the characters based on people you know?
Not at all. Some are named after people I know, but not based on them in any
way. I think more about who would play the role in the film version when I’m trying
to find a character’s voice, mannerisms and modus operandi. For example, the
two main characters in the present timeline are LAPD Detective Nick Lambert and
archaeologist Sarah Fiddes... when I wrote them, their characters, their nuances,
I "saw" Robin Williams and Natalie Portman.
When did you realize you wanted to write?
I really don’t know. I’ve always written and, as a creative by day and musician in
my spare time I’ve always been a ‘blank piece of paper’ kind of guy. Give me a
blank sheet of paper and I will fill it with something – a story, a song, a design or an
illustration. I’ve done that for as long as I can remember.
How do you feel about the amazing response to your book?
Vindicated. I had so many publishers rejecting ‘Codex’ because they felt it was
like Dan Brown - despite it being accepted by the UK’s largest literary agent in
1999 (four years before ‘The Da Vinci Code’ appeared) - that I worried that I might
be seen as little more than a Dan Brown clone. The fact that people can find
similarities on a very basic level but accept that in many ways my work is completely
different, is what I’ve been saying for years. If you like ‘The Da Vinci Code’, you will
enjoy ‘Codex’ but it’s not ‘The Da Vinci Code’. To quote one very well respected
reviewer: “…the market targeted here is clearly the straightforward one colonised by
Dan Brown, but in actual fact, Adrian Dawson is a better writer (if anything, closer in
style to Michael Crichton).” I can live with that.
What is/are your favourite book/s?
‘Hannibal’ by Thomas Harris for its poetic prose, ‘Rita Hayworth and Shawshank
Redemption’ (from the ‘Different Seasons’ collection) by Stephen King and pretty
much anything by Philip K. Dick. So, all similar genres then…?
And finally, the book is a phenomenon, so will there be a film?
The last report I received from my publisher indicated that a couple of film
companies are currently looking into ‘Sequence’, but we’ll have to see what
happens. There are no firm offers yet but if they come, and Robin Williams is
available to play Nick Lambert (with Robin in ‘Insomnia’ mode) then… yes, please.