Carol’s ‘Close Up’ with Author Harry Dunn!


My ‘Close Up’ today is with Caffeine Nights Publishing Author Harry Dunn.

Harry, I promise you all is just as lovely as his smile in his photograph suggests, and  he has a rapport that makes you feel instantly at home. So without further ado let’s find out more about him, before we ask him what makes Harry tick…


Harry Dunn

Harry was born into a journalistic family in Aberdeen. Educated at Robert Gordon’s College, he went on to work in newspapers in several UK locations within the Thomson Organisation.

In 1967 he joined the BBC’s Publications Division and was involved in their fast growing business of book publishing. When based in Leeds, he accompanied many celebrity authors on promotional tours throughout the North and this encouraged his love of reading during the many hours spent in hotels. His genre of choice was always crime and he carried a picture of the type of character he would one day have as a private investigator.

Thus was born the endearing character Jack Barclay and to quote Raymond Chandler:

‘In everything that is called art there is a quality of redemption…..but down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.’

Jack Barclay qualifies as a man who can walk these mean streets.

Harry has drawn on countless life experiences to help create a tense, fast paced and highly entertaining novel.

He is married with two grown up children and lives with his wife in Berkshire where he is a member of a thriving local writers group.

 Widely travelled, he is also a frequent visitor to London’s theatres and galleries and enjoys wandering around observing life in the Capital. This is balanced by visits to the sea where he loves to write. His golf handicap remains stubbornly in the high twenties.

Hello Harry!

Thank you so much for taking time out to talk to me and on the day of the release of your first crime novel ‘Smile of the Viper’. How exciting!

So let’s start with an easy question. How would you describe Harry Dunn to the readers?

Tall,slim,athletic build then I’d be a little more honest and say, actually I’m 5’8”, grey  hair but plenty of it, a good sense of humour and glass half full.

I told you didn’t I? This charismatic man has the knack of making you instantly smile…

What do you miss about your work organising book tours for leading celebrities?

When travelling with the cookery celebrities, we were always given the best available table in the restaurant. The really big household names were always a pleasure to be with. I was very fortunate. Mind you, having to film at North Shields Fish Market with Keith Floyd in the bleak mid winter at 6am after a ‘robust’ meal the previous evening/night, was a challenge.

Tell me about an amusing experience you had along the way? Shhh… Is it true they’re all divas?

I had a map of the UK on my office wall courtesy of a national hotel chain. I arranged to meet a VIP at one of their new hotels outside Liverpool. Unfortunately it hadn’t been built yet! The VIP (non cookery) was not amused. Difficult at the time but of course amusing now.

Why choose to write a crime novel, was it just a flippant comment from someone or was it always an ambition?

I had wanted to write a crime novel for many years. Being on the road so much, I devoured novels by Elmore Leonard, George Pelecanos, Ed McBain, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, John Grisham and others. I actually started Smile of the Viper about five years ago but after writing a few thousand words, stuck it away in a drawer. I always had a picture of the lead character, Jack Barclay. Tough on the outside but an endearing personality.

Who do you admire in the literary world or who do you consider your mentor?

Reading Ernest Hemingway always gave me so much enjoyment.

Nearer home, my writing mentor is the published author, Judy Bryan. She has been wonderful to me. Taught me the craft of writing. She also edited and proof read my novel – many times. I will never be able to thank her enough for her unswerving encouragement, patience and friendship. 

Where do you write, do you have a regular pattern or routine?

I write in my little study, on a bench by the River at Henley on Thames and by the sea when I can.

I try to write 1500 words per day. I’m a bit of a night bird so my light is often the last to go out in our street.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Never too late to rock and roll.

What are you writing now that ‘Smile of the Viper’ is finished, published and released? I love the cover by the way, can’t wait to read it and it’s actually out today.

Yes,  September 3rd.  The cover was conceived by Mark (Wills) Williams at Caffeine Nights. It is wonderful. I am so indebted to him for coming up with it. Very striking indeed.

I’m a third of the way into book two. Jack Barclay is on the trail of identity thieves and this time he visits (so far) Helsinki and Mumbai. Danger round every corner of course so Jack has to keep on his toes. Once I get into a story, I do find it addictive.

Share something with us that nobody else knows about Harry Dunn?

I think I’m the only member of my golf club to have had a hole in one and shattered the clubhouse window. (On different occasions.) I don’t play a lot!

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

A waistline about 4 inches smaller than the one I seem to found myself with. I need to step up my ten year diet plan

How do you relax?

I’ve been known to have the odd glass of wine and a few beers. I love cooking with a glass of wine. This could be the reason my diet plan is creaking. I blame it all on the TV chefs.

Who would your ideal dinner/party guests be?

My wife and family. We have so much fun round the table. And Jack Barclay.

If you won the lottery what or who would you spend it on?

I usually forget to play but I would be very generous to those I love. I would also help fill the coffers of some favourite children’s charities.

Are you a savoury or sweets type of guy?

Oh my goodness. Both, I think. I cook a mean curry but am not averse to a little piece of dark chocolate. Supposed to be good for you.

What’s your earliest memory?

Sneaking out of the house when I was five and getting on a bus in Aberdeen to Auntie Mabel’s. She kept sweeties in a jar in the sideboard. Boy, did I get it when I arrived home.

What has been your favourite year and why?

1976 and 1978. My children were born.

What was the last thing you laughed or cried at?

My Mum died recently. A terrible shock which one is never prepared for. I cried that day with my twin brother Euan.

I’m so sorry for your loss Harry. Losing someone close is never easy no matter how prepared  for it we think we are. My dad’s sister died recently too, and like your mum it was expected but still came as a shock to us all when it actually happened.  

What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

Smile of the Viper was originally set in Los Angeles. A very successful published author asked me how well I knew the City. When I said I’d passed through once, Margaret Murphy said, change it to somewhere you know. LA became London.

I’m very new at writing so don’t feel to qualified to dispense advice. All I would say to anyone thinking of trying is – read as many books as you can, join a writing group, find a writing buddy you can trust and start writing. Oh, and finish!

What’s your favourite book?

Tom Wolfe’s ‘Bonfire of the Vanities.’ The brilliant and timeless novel of the eighties.

If your book were to be made into a film who would you like to play your protagonist or indeed any specific role?

Daniel Craig as Jack.

Hey, good choice Harry. How about a cameo role when it happens? :)

What would you like to be remembered for?

Just to be remembered would be fine.

Harry, I promise once seen you will never be forgotten! It has been so lovely conversing with you over the last few months and speaking to you today. Thank you so much for answering my questions. I want to wish you all the very best with ‘Smile of the Viper’ and all the best with its sequel too. I’m sure this is only the start of Harry Dunn as an Author. I’m off to get my copy right now!   

Thank you for inviting me to answer your questions Carol.

It’s been an absolute pleasure Harry and for anyone who wishes to buy ‘Smile of the Viper,’  like I said it’s out today!

Caffeine Nights Publishing has free postage and package on all their books @

And ‘Smile of the Viper’,  is also available on Amazon and all good book stores!

‘Smile Of The Viper’

London private investigator Jack Barclay is on the trail of financier Tom Stanton who has disappeared with £1million of clients’ money, leaving his desperate wife and children behind.Stanton’s Parisian mistress, Danielle, is also involved with the boss of a drug smuggling cartel and Stanton is seduced into laundering money for them. When £4million of drugs cash goes missing and Tom is the suspect, he and Danielle go on the run.The stakes are raised with the kidnapping of Stanton’s daughter, and Jack finds himself in a race to find Stanton before the mob do. As he hunts him down, he uncovers a nightmare world of torture, betrayal and murder, putting his own life in danger.Jack quickly realises those who enter the netherworld of the Russian mafia may not get out alive.






  • I loved your blog.Thanks Again. Will read on…

    • Thank you very much for your feedback Corbin! I hope you continue to enjoy the posts. Hope you’re having a nice day! Carol :-)

  • What a great Scenario, if Jack Barclays needs help we have immense International expertise, Fantastic Harry

Leave a comment