By BRUCE DENNILL
Eddie Must Die by Antonio Biggio topped Amazon Italy’s top seller list for 15 weeks. A literary first – a fictional thriller novel featuring Iron Maiden as a key component to the plot – Eddie Must Die also benefits from a playlist that ensures an immersive experience for the reader, with the book full of quotes from the band’s songs. It also features a foreword from Steve “Loopy” Newhouse, author, editor and former Iron Maiden roadie.
Thursday 28th October 1982. Hammersmith Odeon, London. Iron Maiden are about to play in front of a sold-out crowd. This engagement is crucial for the band, who have just changed their lead singer and are trying to face the protests against their latest album, The Number of the Beast. They have been accused of having links to Satanism. A tragedy is round the corner: Liam and Rose, who belong to a religious sect, are also there, armed with enough explosive C4 to cause a terrible massacre. Six weeks previously, the Thames returns the dead body of a journalist named Luke Wilkinson. Everything found at the scene suggests suicide, but Inspector Andrew Briggs is suspicious. He decides to investigate on his own, but the deeper he digs, the more complicated the mosaic becomes.
When, and under what circumstances, did the idea for your latest book come to you?
I was reading an Iron Maiden biography, and it came to my attention that during The Beast on the Road Tour in the United States, they were protested by a Catholic group. People were outside venues burning or destroying the band’s album The Number Of The Beast because they believed it was linked with Satanism. This was an erroneous interpretation, but the story was developing in my head.
Did it initially feel like something to commit to, or was that something that took time to develop?
At some point of my life, I wanted to pay homage to Iron Maiden, as I have been a loyal fan since 1981. But there were so many books about them – biographies, photo books and so on. When this story came up in my mind, I thought it was the right compromise to merge my passion for writing and my love for the band.
How did you conduct your research or other preparation before writing – was it more experiential or more academic or desk-based?
It was a mixture, and not always because of my choice. I researched a lot online, but also wanted to speak to people with expertise related to the plot. I tried to visit the Guardian, because the newspaper plays an important role, but if you are not a “name” or sponsored by big publishers, they won’t admit. I managed to speak to a couple of retired policemen, and I have also wrote to Iron Maiden’s management seeking help, which was politely refused. Going back to Google, I was enough lucky to find a book named Loopyworld, by Steve “Loopy” Newhouse, who has been a roadie right for Iron Maiden. He agreed to meet me and helped me a lot with patience, answering tons of questions especially about what is going on in the backstage. Then, we gradually became friends and he offered to edit the book in English once it was translated.
If resources (money, time, whatever) were no object, what additional groundwork would you like to have completed?
I would have loved to visit more places where the story takes place – the part in America comes from very old memories. And obviously, I would have loved to visit Iron Maiden backstage, and ask them a couple of questions.
When considering influence, do you find yourself wanting to write like someone (in terms of their style, tone or use of language), or aiming for a kind of perspective or storytelling approach you admire or enjoy?
I have always loved Ken Follett, and still find his style unreachable. I have read and enjoyed Dan Brown, Wilbur Smith and a couple of Italian writers who are quoted in my “thank you” list. I have my own style but I picked up something from those great writers.
What’s in your to-read pile – and what upcoming book (other than yours!) are you most looking forward to?
Too many books! I love reading but time is always short. And my idol, Ken Follett, recently published his new book, which I pre-ordered. Can’t wait to start reading.
Do you have a favourite character that you have created? Or if you’re writing non-fiction, do you have a specific topic that you find endlessly fascinating?
I worked a lot on the main character, Andrew Briggs, who is a mixture between myself and the person I want to become. But to some, Andrew can be difficult to admire because he is unpredictable. My readers love a lot the other main male characters Luke, and Rose, the main female character, whose stories are coming to a conclusion.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”default_sidebar”][/vc_column][/vc_row]