Author Q&A For The Secret Bunker: Darkness Falls

Spoiler Alert!

The Secret Bunker: Darkness Falls

Q: First things first, where did you get the idea for this book?

A: The book is inspired by a visit to Scotland's Secret Bunker at Troywood in Fife.

Check out their website at:

We made a family visit to the bunker in 2011, when my children were a lot younger.

In many respects the family scenes in Darkness Falls are based around our own experiences.

We were all struggling without wi-fi, praying that the bunker would have some connectivity and disappointed when we arrived and all we could see was a cottage.

However, having gone below ground and explored the bunker we were hooked, we all loved it.

I like it even more every time I go back, if you're able to visit it yourself, please do so.

I never meant to write a book about it, it wasn't for another 3 years until I started writing the trilogy.

Q: What made you start writing the trilogy?

A: I never intended to write a book about the bunker, but it did make a huge impact on me and it must have been perculating in my mind over that time.

In early 2014, I'd put a bid in for a tender related to my ‘day job' (digital marketing) but I got a knock back when I wasn't expecting one.

That meant I had some time on my hands!

I'd seen a competition (Run by Chicken House at which I had passed on to my wife, my sister and my eldest child, as they'd all expressed
an interest in writing.

I decided to give it a go myself.

I'd woken up early one morning and all of a sudden the idea came to me whilst dozing in bed.

I got a very strong image of somebody being caught inside the bunker whilst their family was trapped outside.

I was struck by how terrifying that would be, so I jumped out of bed, rushed to my study, and started typing out my story.

Initially, the competition was just to write the first 5000 words.

I wrote that text, polished it and sent it off.

It was only then that I spotted the small print.

If I had any luck in the competition, I'd need to have the full book written for submission by September 2014.

So I sat down at my desk and got writing!

To be honest, I got deeply into the story and couldn't stop writing.

I wrote the entire trilogy of 154k words in 8 months, and absolutely loved being immersed in the story.

Q: How do you go about your writing?

A: I still have to work a ‘day job', so I have to fit my writing around family time and work.

I found that I could easily write 5000 words in a day once I got into my stride, so that's how I do it.

I write on days when the house is quite – the kids are at school and my wife is at work – and the minute my wife steps out of the door, I sit at my desk and I write.

The phone is unplugged, the internet turned off and I don't stop until it's done.

This is what Stephen King calls ‘the vomit draft', where you just get the story down on paper.

I have found that it takes me ten writing days to get a 50k word ‘vomit draft' of a book completed.

My wife reads along as I write, spotting the spelling mistakes and plot holes which I fix as soon as she feeds back to me.

To reach the final version, the books have through six or seven reads now, plus a total overhaul from a professional proofreader.

Q: Who designed the cover?

A: All of the covers in the trilogy were designed by Peter O'Connor from

I've been delighted will all of the covers, he does a great job of taking what's in my head and making it look amazing.

The Secret Bunker: The Four Quadrants

Q: Why did you choose to self publish?

A: I'm new to this publishing lark but I do know how to do things like building blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter sites and so on.

In fact I'm really lucky, I love all the tech stuff that has to be done.

In addition, I wanted to get my books out there as soon as possible.

I will be seeking agents and publishers, but I didn't want to wait around in the meantime, it makes sense to me to start building an audience as soon as possible.

Q: What's all this about ‘transmogrification'?

A: I was amazed as you to discover that there's a word for this!

I needed a word that was more evocative than ‘transformation'.

I can't even remember how I found it now … but transmogrification it is!

And yes, it does really exist … check out this web page.

As Dan quite rightly says, ‘This has the sound of something unpleasant that might happen to a cat.'

Q: Can we ask questions about what goes on in book 1?

A: It's better if I do that in the Q&A following book 3, I don't want to give anything away!

Q: Have you written anything else?

A: Yes, I also write ‘how to' guides on geeky topics like setting up WordPress blogs and creating Facebook business pages.

I write these as P Teague and they're part of my Stuff Made Simple series.

I love tinkering around with websites, so it's great to share all these practical tips in my guides.

Q: What are your writing plans after The Secret Bunker Trilogy?

A: At the moment, I'm planning to write another YA/crossover trilogy called The Grid

I'm plotting this out at the moment and hope to get writing July 2015.

Q: Can you give us a sneak preview of what happens in book 2, The Four Quadrants?

A: I can't tell you why, because I'm proud of all of the books in this series, but book 2 is my favourite.

I think it's because we get to meet so many intriguing characters in this book, and the story pivots in a way that you wouldn't foresee in book 1.

There are just as many plot twists – and yes, of course it ends on a cliffhanger – but I think that you'll really love meeting all the new characters in this part of the story.

Paul Teague signing books at Scotland's Secret Bunker