The following first appeared on the Goodreads ‘Shut Up & Read Q & A’ blog:
Friday, 3 February 2017
Q & A with Stephen Bentley
by Stephen Bentley
The author, Stephen Bentley, was one of four undercover detectives engaged on Operation Julie, one of the world’s largest drugs busts. The investigation was aimed at Britain’s 1970s LSD manufacturing and distribution network. Bentley, together with his partner, not only infiltrated that gang but also uncovered a plot to import huge quantities of Bolivian cocaine into the UK. The British LSD gang had connections way back to the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.
The investigation also received enormous assistance from the DEA. The drugs underworld knew him as Steve Jackson. This is his account of infiltrating and helping to bring about the downfall of one of the world s largest drugs gangs. How did he do it? Did he have to take drugs? How did ‘living a lie’ affect him?
Discover the answers and get inside the mind of Steve Jackson, undercover detective …
Operation Julie’s detective work, undercover skills and surveillance techniques are the stuff of legend – Obie Chambers, The Exigency Group, Washington DC
I can delay no longer … my admiration of everything about Operation Julie … the press and television coverage have rightly given tremendous coverage to the amazing detective work … Mr. Justice Park, Judge of the High Court of England and Wales
Paperback, 252 pages
Published August 7th 2016
Read It & Reap: February 12, 2017
Stephen is a former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop and barrister (trial attorney). Now a writer, author and Huffington Post UK blogger.
He now lives in the Philippines. That country and the local driving habits gave him the inspiration to write his first book How To Drive Like An Idiot In Bacolod: An Expat’s Experiences of Driving in the Philippines and How to Survive
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 is currently writing his debut novel 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.
Connect with Stephen Bentley
Q & A with Stephen Bentley
Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story is a non-fiction true crime memoir set in the 1970’s. It is about my undercover cop days on what is still one of the UK’s largest drug busts. Unsurprisingly therefore, the main character is me. Yet, the most important character is the drug dealer, Smiles.
He is a recurring character throughout the book and a man I liked enormously despite the fact we were on opposite sides of the law. I still feel a sense of betrayal to this day over the fact I deceived him and gained his confidence through duplicity on my part owing to my undercover role and “living a lie.”
That betrayal has been picked up on by some of the astute readers and reviewers of my book. Indeed, it is a theme that has attracted some solid interest from the film industry. Why? It is a story of human interest and conflicted loyalties. Film option? Watch this space!
Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
Anna from Fiverr has designed all my book covers. I know some folks look down on Fiverr but she is a gem and so talented. Anna has now set up independently from Fiverr and I believe she will continue her successes.
The process for me as an author is simple. I discuss the idea with Anna and she provides me with sample covers. I make the final decision.
Describe your ideal writing spot.
I live in the Philippines these days so heat and humidity goes with the territory.
I have a large master bedroom that accommodates my desk and laptop. So, with an electric fan and air conditioning, my office chair and keyboard in front of me, that is my ideal writing spot. It is also mostly distraction-free!
What is the best advice you have been given?
In life – work hard and don’t give up. That was my father’s advice and also advice I have taken on board from so many successful people.
In writing – pour your heart out, let it bleed, be honest to yourself.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
So many different things at different stages but at one time I wanted to be a writer – a journalist.
Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
No contest! I love a book in my hands so either hardbacks or paperbacks. Hardback, if I think I want to keep the book.
If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Tough, tough question. I would choose the power to heal people. Health is the most important thing in the world. I could heal myself and others of all sickness. Luckily, I am in good health but I know so many people who aren’t as fortunate. Yes, definitely! A supernatural healer.
What book are you reading now?
I have just finished Kimberley McGath’s Zodiac: Settling the Score and started Dup Departs by Gavin Mills. I am reading both to review in connection with Mystery Thriller Week 2017, an event listed on Goodreads.