David Roy – Q&A

The Lost Man by David Roy, was published by Hobart Books on 24 May 2021.

David kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about The Lost Man.

The Lost Man is a soldier from Belfast called Ted Dexter who finds himself left behind in France after the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. With the help of two friends he has made on his journey to the coast, he makes a daring escape to Britain where he comes to the attention of the PM. Impressed by Ted’s exploits, he decides that he will be his personal agent, hitting back at the Germans.

2. What inspired the book?

I started out with the name and created a character around that. I didn’t know that Ted Dexter was actually a famous cricketeer. Equipped with the name, I put him in the Army and packed him off to France in 1939. As I began writing I had no idea how his story would end.

3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

Definitely the latter. When I started writing many, many years ago, I would try to plan but the story always got away from the plan and I realised that this method didn’t work for me. Often, I have only a very vague idea of how the story will develop but I don’t suffer from writer’s block and I always end up with a story.

4. Is there anything about the publishing process that still surprises you?

I think what surprises me is the sheer number of aspiring authors out there. It is a crowded market. There are literally millions of books on Amazon Kindle for instance. The advent of the personal computer and the ability to endlessly edit has spurred on a surge in writing. Also when I began writing it was still possible to send your manuscript directly to the publisher. The role of the literary agent is much greater now.

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

I run or go to the gym. If I didn’t have to write and edit etc. I would just read all day long. I also have two teenaged children to nag endlessly about everything. In the evening I watch Netflix, especially crime dramas with subtitles. I wish these detectives would crack a smile now and again.

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

That’s the toughest question but I have an answer; The Magic Army by Leslie Thomas. It’s funny, engaging and tragic all in one. He’s a great writer.

7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

‘What made you become a writer?’ I attended university straight after leaving the Army and I had a yearning to write about my experiences in the First Gulf War. With university behind me, I wrote Sun, Sand and the Sergeant-major. It was terrible but it got me started!

About the Book

France 1940

The war is not going well and the Allies are in full retreat. The Belgians have been vanquished and the French fight rearguard action after rearguard action. Amongst this, the British have assembled the fleet of Little Ships to extract their exhausted army. Separated from his unit, one man heads for the coast to join the evacuation and get home. But it’s a troubled road: on the way he picks up a downed RAF pilot and a lone soldier who’s survived the massacre of his platoon.

They reach Dunkirk a day late.

Everyone has gone.

All is lost…

…or is it?


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