Swapping the Maple Leaf for the Cork Oak Leaf

John P Gibson is a Canadian author who settled in the Algarve in 2012. He had planned a year-long trip around the Mediterranean countries. Then, being mesmerised by the spectacular views of the Algarve and the (European) Atlantic coast, he never left.

I have heard some authors say, “Oh, no, I don’t read. I write…” The question is: Do you read, John?

Yes, I do read. My mother taught me from a young age when I used to pick up a book to look at the pictures. I still read today, having up to three novels on the go at any given time. Of course, there is also the proofreading of the books I write. 

When did you start writing?

My first attempt at writing would have been when I was about 11 years old. One of the teachers had asked me to direct a play we were all involved in. As we went through the play, acting it out on stage, I figured there should be some changes made. I cannot remember the name of the play, but back then, I didn’t realise it was a famous work and could not be changed. 

You have published 25 books in 10 years! That means more than 8,000 pages. How did you achieve this prodigious performance?

I made a commitment early on that I would write every day, and I have held to that rule (apart from a few days over the years.) I originally set a goal to write 20 books before I passed on, and the target is now up to 50 – as I have completed 36 to date.

How many do you plan to publish this year?

To keep on schedule, I need to publish five this year; as, on average, I go for three books per year. 

Do you think writing is a gained skill rather than a natural talent? What’s your dream project?

A gained skill: the more you do it, the better you get at it. That is why I write every day. My dream is to write the perfect novel. I am not sure what that might be, but sometimes I think, while writing some of my books, that I am on the right track. As many of my books tell, it would be about the way we live on this planet and how this affects everything.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I very much like to walk. It is something my father instilled in me when I was very young. While I have two legs that are still working moderately well, I will continue to walk. The furthest hike I have done in one go was 22 kilometres. 

What advice do you have for an aspiring author?

I think everyone has at least one book in their brain. So, start writing; pen to paper makes it come true. Once the book has been read by several friends and family, their input will help with further editing.

Thank you for sharing with us bits of your worldly-wise experience. Is there any question you would have liked to answer but never had the chance because I didn’t ask?

Yes: how do I feel writing will be in the future? I am concerned –seeing so many cell phones being looked at on my ventures. I occasionally get a sense of relief spotting young people reading books.

What is your message to the readers of Tomorrow Algarve Magazine?

Enjoy what you read and see in the magazine, as it is a very good publication when it comes to our beautiful home, the Algarve.

Photos: ©John P Gibson

Crime Paradise, by John P Gibson

After reading a ton of British mysteries and professional police procedurals, all of them full of constables, sergeants, inspectors, DIs, DCIs, superintendents, commanders and commissioners, Mr Gibson’s book came like a breath of fresh air in the smoggy atmosphere.  I realised how much I missed them – all those broken, messy, sarcastic, often addicted to bad things, sometimes tough, but always brainy private investigators who seem to be invariably handy when needed.

“I am a private investigator that has a hard time paying even the smallest of my bills. (…) I am going over some paperwork while I do my best to get my caffeine rush off the lousy coffee in front of me. I can only pray some great looking young woman passes by me and gives me a smile. Not that it has ever happened, of course. Not to a nerdy looking forty-something year old guy with greying thinning hair and a crooked nose.”

Meet Jerry Domino, an American hard-boiled private eye hired by a rich entrepreneur to find a couple of bad guys who fled to Europe, choosing Lisbon and Venice as their destinations. And, of course, you will also bump into a likeable great-looking young woman teaming up and assisting him for more than boring paperwork; being fluent in Portuguese and Italian is one of her important assets. Our friend Jerry never left the USA before and, of course, apart from loving the combo pizza-beer, he cannot speak any foreign language – but, as I read it, it’s less a feature of the detective character, but more an aspect of society in general.

Furthermore, it is a universally accepted fact – in fiction, anyway – the more twists and turns, the better the detective story. And Crime Paradise is one brilliantly engineered example. A light book, two days for a slow reader, with the large print and generous line spacing formatting that definitely make reading easier. The language is casual and spontaneous and unquestionably appropriate for young adults (16+) and up.

If I were to assess the book as a whole, on a scale from 1 to 100, I would say 99.98. It is more a matter of gustibus than anything else: first, to be honest, I do not quite like the front cover design. In my eyes, at least, using four different font types/sizes and three colours for the text is too much; it damages the appearance. “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” so the saying goes. I usually don’t, but when a 5-star book doesn’t have a 5-star front cover, I cannot keep my mouth shut. 

Then we have -0.01 for the title: in my view, Crime Paradise sounds a bit too cold and far from the storyline. I know, I should never ask Leonardo da Vinci why he titled the painting Mona Lisa and not Lisa del Giocondo or any other Italian name; that’s only my two cents’ worth and an entirely subjective opinion on the chosen title.

About the author:

Born and raised on the western coast of Canada, John P Gibson is now settled in Portugal. In his last ten years here, he has published twenty-five books. When he isn’t writing, John is hiking or taking long walks somewhere in the Algarve.

If, after this wordy consideration, you want to discover JOHN GIBSON’s CRIME PARADISE by yourself, find it on Amazon.es for 9.49€ (paperback), or Amazon.co.uk for £7.47 (paperback).

Dan Costinas: “As far as I’m concerned, there are no good or bad books. Some resonate more with certain minds, while others resonate with others. Therefore, I am not entitled to tell anyone what they should and shouldn’t read. What I do is invite you to ponder whether this or another book resonates more with your mind. It’s as simple as that.”


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