Today, as part of the tour for Kisses from Nimbus, we’re joined by Captain P.J. ‘Red’ Riley, who is going to tell us about his autobiography, covering his time in the SAS.
So, tell us, how did you go about constructing the book?
I didn’t really. At first I just wanted to leave a few details of my life for my children and grandchildren, then someone came up with the suggestion that I should write a book. Now, I have been called many things during my long and often less than illustrious career with Her Britannic Majesty’s Government, but never an author. Nevertheless I decided to get started. I was introduced to a ghost writer but after only a couple of sessions it became clear to me that I wasn’t going to like what was being produced so we parted company. I then recalled the profound words of my dear departed father. ‘If tha wants owt doin, do it tha Sen’.
A new Poundland shop had just opened in Oswaldtwistle, a village not far from Accrington, so I decided to pay it a visit. I purchased a packet of twenty pens for a pound – yes that’s right – a pound! They used to cost more than that for one, for goodness sake! Sorry, I digress. But it just doesn’t seem to be possible that anyone can manufacture twenty pens, package them, ship them half way around the world and make a profit for only five pence each. I don’t know how many US cents that is, but it can’t be many. Where was I? Oh yes. Constructing an autobiography.
I simply sat down with my packet of pens and five note books ( I am now fighting the urge to prattle on about how much the note books cost and where I got them from), and started to scribble. I quickly learned the importance of double-line spacing and only writing on alternate sheets. The amount of amendments and insertions rapidly made the pages indecipherable.
But slowly, memories turned into written words and the words became a story, which then became Kisses From Nimbus.
I spent most of my time writing, on my own, in my small villa in the mountains of Spain. I transposed the manuscript on to my iPad and sent a few hundred words at a time as an email to my wife Carol. She would then correct the grammar and the appawling spelling (see what I mean ?) and knock it in to some sort of shape acceptable to a literary agent or publisher. I was determined not to create another military history or an expose of the British Secret Intelligence Service, concentrating instead on the more personal side of my career. It wasn’t long after I started to write that I was contacted by the Government’s legal department and warned that I should not write ANYTHING, be it autobiographical or even fiction. And that if I did then I was likely to be indicted and possibly prosecuted under the Official Secret Act. The view of my lawyers is that my human rights take precedence over any other law, and I therefore decided to proceed towards publication.
I have been careful not to identify any individuals or give details of any on-going operations which could endanger the lives of agents or their families and aimed to build a vagueness into the details of any operations that I have mentioned.
One element of the book which was particularly hard for me to write was the sex scene, and I apologise unreservedly for that. I succumbed to pressure from my wife and daughter who were adamant that any secret agent worth his salt, simply had to have the raunchiest of sex lives.
I am well aware that, by writing every word myself, I have made it unlikely that I will be in line for any literary prizes apart from perhaps the annual ‘bad sex’ award.
About Kisses from Nimbus:
Shot at, bombed, imprisoned and arrested for murder. His is the story the establishment doesn’t want you to read.
Captain P. J. “Red” Riley is an ex-SAS soldier who served for eighteen years as an MI6 agent.
Riley escaped internment in Chile during the Falklands war during an audacious top-secret attempt to attack the Argentinian mainland.
He was imprisoned in the darkness of the Sierra Leonean jungle, and withstood heavy fire in war-torn Beirut and Syria.
In 2015, he was arrested for murder but all charges were later dropped.
In this searing memoir, Riley reveals the brutal realities of his service, and the truth behind the newspaper headlines featuring some of the most significant events in recent British history. His account provides startling new evidence on the Iraq war, what Tony Blair really knew about Saddam Hussain’s weapons of mass destruction before the allied invasion, and questions the British government’s alleged involvement in the death of Princess Diana.
Chaotic, darkly humorous and at times heart-wrenchingly sad, Kisses From Nimbus charts the harrowing real-life experiences of a soldier and spy in the name of Queen and country.
Buy the book:
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kisses-Nimbus-SAS-MI6-Autobiography/dp/1911525778/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503073113&sr=1-1&keywords=kisses+from+nimbus
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kisses-from-nimbus-p-j-red-riley/1126980681?ean=9781911525776
About the author:
Born in 1946 in Lancashire P.J ‘Red’ Riley joined the British Army at the age of eighteen. After basic training he volunteered for Pilot Training and qualified as an operational helicopter pilot going on to service in Germany, Northern Ireland, Canada, Belize and Cyprus. He was later appointed Flight Commander SAS Flight Hereford. At the age of thirty-six years old he left the Army Air Corps and transferred to the SAS. In 1989, when Riley left the army he was quickly recruited by Mi6 where he served until 2015. Now retired Riley splits his time between the UK and Spain