As seen in the January issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.

Uncaged: You were a former police sergeant and an attorney in the U.K, and now retired living in the Philippines. Have you always had a passion for writing?

“Always had a passion” is perhaps the wrong phrase. I now have that passion but owing to my former careers, my liking for writing took a back seat for many years. One of my first career choices while still at school was journalism. However I ended up as a police officer instead.

Uncaged: Your background in police work obviously influences your writing, but can you give readers an overview of Who the F*ck Am I? – the Steve Regan Undercover Cop series? Is there a set amount of books for the series or is it open-ended?

Let me answer the last question first – it is the first in a trilogy. I really do not anticipate Regan to last beyond three books but one never knows.
I have wanted to write fiction for some time so the Steve Regan series was a natural for me because it is a spin-off from my undercover cop memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’
Back in the 70’s, during Operation Julie, which is still the UK’s biggest drug bust, I met two real Mafia type gangsters who wanted me to help them import huge quantities of cocaine from Bolivia, via Miami, into the UK.
‘Who The F*ck Am I?’ is a figment of my imagination where I explore the possibility these two gangsters were in fact undercover law enforcement agents one of whom was a “dirty cop.”
Though fiction, the book also deals with a theme of the real temptations to “cross the line” by undercover cops and the identity confusion caused by this type of infiltration work. Hence the title ‘Who The F*ck Am I?’

Uncaged: As a reviewer, I’m always curious as to what authors can take away from the reviews, do you read them and what do you take away from the reviews?

I do read them and I always get a little excited when a new review appears. Sometimes the excitement is short-lived if it is a bad review but I am lucky in that the overwhelming majority of my books have received either four or five stars.
I never mind constructive criticism, in fact I welcome it. It is the silly criticisms that are hard to ignore though I now laugh at them.
Let me give an example to illustrate my point: one Amazon reviewer gave my memoir only 2 stars. He said he liked it but it was badly written owing to the fact it had not given a “flavor of the times.” What the reader failed to take into account was it was a true story about me and my undercover role. It was not a book about “the times.” It was not about hippies, free festivals, and the changing times. The book was never intended to be a social commentary.

Uncaged: Can you tell us what you have coming up next?

I am still writing Book 2 in the Steve Regan series. I hope to finish and publish it by March 2018.
I also have a full autobiography as a WIP that deals, among other issues, with my days as a barrister (attorney) as a criminal trial lawyer in London. Then I plan to write some historical fiction based on true events during WW2.

Uncaged: How long on average does it take you to write a full book? What is your writing process?

On average I would say 9-12 months from conception to publishing including all the stages such as editing. That time span could be shorter if I was more disciplined in my writing. Most of the time I write when I feel like doing so not because I feel I must.
My writing process starts off with an idea for a book then the hard work begins. I am a plotter not a pantster so I plot it all out in great detail. Once I am satisfied the extended outline is right, I write. That is often when the story changes as I write because sometimes the characters take over or an unforeseen plot twist occurs to me.

Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite?

Favorite is seeing the final product listed on Amazon especially when the first review appears.
Least favorite is marketing! It is so time-consuming.

Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I enjoy the beaches of the Philippines with my family. It is a tropical climate so a cold beer is also “mandatory.” I also enjoy reading and occasionally watching British sports on TV. Oh! And I love karaoke 🙂

Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest?

The start of the book is the hardest for me. I need to get that hook in early and keep the reader’s interest.
Dialogue is the easiest for me. I love writing dialogue.

Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?

I would say a huge thank you to you all for taking an interest in my writing, for buying my books, and a huge shout-out for those who left a review.

Stephen is a former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop and barrister (trial attorney). Now a writer, author and Huffington Post UK blogger. Stephen’s memoir Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story was published in September 2016 and rapidly became an Amazon UK #1 Best Seller in two categories. It tells of his undercover role in infiltrating one of the world’s largest ever drug rings. Keeping in tune with the undercover theme, Stephen has now published the first book in a trilogy based on his undercover cop days. When he is not writing, Stephen follows Liverpool Football Club from afar and enjoys the beaches of the Philippines. He is often to be found on the beach with a book and a cold beer.

stephenbentley.info