Meet the Author: Best Intelligence by James Gault

Today we welcome James Gault as we travel to Bize-Minervois in the South-West of France, discovering how the local social group, Emily Bronte, being tone deaf, and the Western Isles in Scotland add a different twist to James Gault’s life and writing style. Leave your superstition at the door and let’s get this plane in the air …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Scot who worked for some time in Prague and I now live in a little village called Bize-Minervois in the South-West of France, near the historic town of Carcassonne, retired from work and enjoying the sunshine and writing.

In which genre do you write?

I have to own up to this – I’m a bit all over the place when it comes to genres. My first fiction book was a comic novel for teenagers (Teaching Tania) then I wrote a philosophical novel (Ogg), but my last two books were political thrillers (The Redemption of Ann Petrovna and Best Intelligence), and the one I’m working on now is a tragic love story with some political content. I don’t recommend this scatter gun approach, but I write what comes into my head, based on what is concerning me, and making money or even creating a following is not a big concern for me.

How many published books do you have?

4 novels, one book on literature and several English Language textbooks

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

More than 60 years a ago, as a kid. In my previous careers I’ve always written something – letters to specialist magazines, articles, textbooks (as a teacher) or just reports on the work I was doing before that (It and management) When I retired, I found time to write more or less full time.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I have a kind of obsession about being DIFFERENT. I don’t see the point in doing just what others have done before you.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I’m not in any way superstitious – so I don’t have any idea. I guess that makes me a bit boring?

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A big big table where can I leave a mess but still find things – I’ve got a great ability to concentrate and shut things out when I’m working, so the actual physical environment doesn’t have much effect on me.

What are you currently reading?

Just finished rereading Of Mice and Men and started a detective novel by a Scottish author called William McIlvanney, who was a teacher at my old school and became a top name in Scottish Literature.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I’m on the committee of a local social group here in France for mostly ex-pats and do most of the IT for them.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Emily Bronte, and I would ask her if she really did have an affair with the Brussels professor on whom she based the character in Villette and to whom she wrote all those ‘love’ letters?

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

How hard it is to market yourself. I was brought up as a Scottish Presbyterian where the worst thing you could do is to boast, and I feel guilty talking about myself.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

??? I’ve had a quiet life. The strangest things happen in my head.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

No, I am lazy. I just trust that inspiration will always come when I need it.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Two very best things – my first published book and winning a prize for a short story I wrote. Sorry, that’s not a very imaginative response from a writer but there it is.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? What do you do to prepare yourself?

I’m tone deaf, so music doesn’t work so much for me. I just rehearse what I’m going to say over and over in my head, and then of course I say something completely different.

What do you miss about being a kid?

My gran. She was the one I would always go to with my problems ( and I had a lot then).

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I would be Dennis the Menace from the Beano – I like to stir things up and cause mischief.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

This is a total fantasy but I would choose the character Michael from The Redemption of Anna Petrovna. The novel is set in a post-communist country where corruption permeates all the business and ruling classes, and this character is the fixer who makes everything happen for the powers that be. He is also the one that gets the girl. He is nothing like me, but it would be nice to be so successfully manipulative and get away with it for just for one day.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

It was a recent Star Wars movie I went to with my grandkids – The reaction of the children was more entertaining than the film, to be honest.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

It’s too bloody hot in this country – Got any free space in your fridge, pal?

Do you believe things happen for a reason? 

I believe events are a result of certain preconditions which logically lead to them. I also believe that often we don’t understand these preconditions, but I don’t turn to fantasy to replace them. Like I said before, I’m a bit boring.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

The ability to concentrate although it drives my wife crazy.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

In my home country of Scotland, any of the Western Isles (on a day when there’s no rain) for their beauty and tranquility. Here in France where I know live, Avingon during the festival in July for the music and drama.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

I’d do something I used to do but I’m too old now. I’d take a little private plane from our local airport and pilot it myself to one of the Scottish Islands and enjoy a few days in the sun and on the beach before flying back.

Tell us about your most recent book.

The most recent is Best Intelligence. It’s political thriller with a big surprising twist at the end. The hero is a cynical Glasgow policeman who leaves his job and moves to France because he feels he is wasting his time. But he picks up a pretty girl hitchhiker and finds himself mixed up in a web of mystery and intrigue.

Thank you James for being a part of MTA. It was wonderful to learn more about you. I have a quirk about doing things different also and I, too, don’t say half of what I practice saying when speaking in front of others – HA! All the best to you! –Camilla

Where we can find it the book:

The e-book and paperback are available on Amazon at:

UK Amazon:

US Amazon:

My other novels are available at:

Author facebook page:

Amazon author page:

On-line literary magazine at

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

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