A former regional press journalist who has spent most of his career working in Asia has had his second novel published.
Nick Macfie, who worked at the Sussex Express then the Cambridge Evening News before moving to work overseas, has based his second novel Kiss Me Hadley in Hong Kong, following the success of Hadley which was published two years ago.
The comic thriller is the second in a series about a hapless reporter, who fancies himself as a bit of a James Bond, but quickly finds himself out of his depth against a backdrop of exotic locations and illegal gambling.
After working at the Sussex Express and Cambridge Evening News, Nick moved to work at the Sydney Sun in 1982 before working in a number of roles in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Beijing and is currently a Reuters journalist in Singapore.
The book’s protagonist Hadley Arnold shares obvious similarities with Nick – both are Brits working in the Far East as journalists – but the parallels may well end there.
“A lot of the stories he goes on overlap somehow with stories I did but Hadley, I would have to say, is more feckless and accident-prone,” Nick told HTFP.
“He’s good at what he does but he finds events overtake him rather than he overtaking events. He gets surprised by things rather a lot. Events are not as he expects them to be. He’s frequently confused.
“There’s a great deal of adventure in the novel but there are also many surreal moments. It’s a very visual, colourful story.”
As a foreign correspondent Nick had his share of hair-raising moments – from being shot at by rebels in Sri Lanka – where his office was also blown up – to having rockets fired at him in Afghanistan.
But his most frightening experience came in Sri Lanka when he was forced to stop his car at night on an isolated road after he came face to face with a small group of wild elephants.
“I had only ever seen elephants in zoos but this was something else entirely,” he added.
“The trick is, you don’t make a noise. Otherwise you can trigger a stampede. I was all for opening and slamming the door and offering them bananas. One of the cameramen I was with told me in language I can’t repeat here to shut up. And I was his boss. He almost put his hand over my mouth to make sure I didn’t make a sound.”
Yet despite his adventures Macfie is keen to dispel the myth of the swashbuckling foreign correspondent.
“My job is a desk job. But if the phone rings you have to be ready to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice and go anywhere,” he said.
Macfie’s influences include John Fowles, Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, John le Carre and Conan Doyle.
When asked who would play Hadley on the big screen, Nick added: “It’s a tricky one. Hadley in a way wishes he was Bond but he’s too hapless to pull it off. Rowan Atkinson perhaps, or Hugh Grant. Or it could be the perfect first screen roll for Michael McIntyre. It would stop viewers complaining about him all the time. As for the lovable old Chinese gangster, Jackie Chan would be perfect.”
Kiss Me Hadley is available to buy at www.amazon.co.uk.