Thursday, September 15, 2016

Inside the Mind of Stephen Bentley

Welcome to Inside the Mind where we here at The Faerie Review interview authors and creators.
Our guest today is Stephen Bentley, the author behind Undercover: Operation Julie - The Inside Story.

Lily: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Stephen, we really enjoyed reading Undercover: Operation Julie - The Inside Story. The insight into what you’ve lived is just stunning. I know that it covers a rather controversial topic: an LSD sting in the 1970s. Are you worried about any backlash from the pro-LSD and pro-drug communities?

Stephen: No, I don’t worry about it at all. Most sensible people whether “heads” or not will understand what I wrote in the book - there are divergent views but let’s have a healthy and respectful debate. Additionally, I would ask people to understand that my undercover role also ended up in me infiltrating a US/Canadian gang involved in trafficking huge amounts of cocaine and heroin. So, for me, Operation Julie was not only LSD.

Lily: I hope people read the book and take it as I did - a true account of your time undercover, and not something that's meant to preach about drugs. How have you dealt with negativity in the past?

Stephen: In terms of my role as a former undercover cop, not well initially owing to some
vitriolic comments posted on my author website. They were in response to an April 2016 article about me on Then I rationalized my thoughts on those types of reactions along these lines: “You can’t please all of the people all of the time!”

Lily: That's very true. Something I wish I'd realized sooner. How do you feel now that the book has been published?

Stephen: I feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s another milestone in my journey both as a writer and as a person.

Lily: Awesome! What made you decide to publish this instead of just writing it down for yourself?

Stephen: A need to share my experiences to anyone who cares to read about them. There was also a gap in the literature about Operation Julie which is still one of the world’s largest drug busts. The two previous books purported to have been co-authored by police officers were unsatisfactory mashups. They were rushed into publication shortly after the massive publicity purely to capitalize on that media frenzy at the time.

Lily: Which unfortunately leaves them missing some of the deeper truths contained in your book. Is there anything you hope your readers take away from the book?

Stephen: An insight into the truth about working undercover including the stresses and strains associated with “living a lie.”

Lily: Going undercover certainly takes on a whole new level of stress than the mask most people put on when they go to work everyday. Ok, enough shop talk. Let’s talk about you: the man behind the story. What’s your ideal lazy day look like?

Stephen: Beach, beach, beach with book in one hand and a cold beer in the other.

Lily: Sounds delightful. Do you have a favorite meal/food/drink?

Stephen: Too many to list but here goes in no particular order: Curries, any Thai food, a good old-fashioned English roast dinner, slow-cooked meat especially lamb shanks, feta cheese and olives, good red wine and Guinness. I could go on and on ad infinitum :)

Lily: They all sounds delicious. Movie night! What’s your choice?

Stephen: Hmmm. If I have to choose one - High Noon. I’m going to cheat and add Reservoir Dogs.

Lily: Both are great movies. Suddenly, you can travel anywhere in the world, right now. Where would you go and why?

Stephen: Spain to see my old undercover partner, Eric.

Lily: I hope that would be a fun reunion! If you could talk to anyone, living or dead, right now, that you either never talked to or haven’t in a long time, who would you talk to and why?

Stephen: That’s tough for reasons I will explain. If you had asked me that only yesterday I would have immediately answered my brother, Peter. He died suddenly at the age of 53 and it was such a shock. We were close. Of course my parents and a beloved grandmother, all now dead, would also be under consideration. But the one I would choose is my paternal grandfather who I only met once when he was alive. He is the subject of my next book and there are so many questions I have to ask him. I also would ask him about the difficult relationship he had with my own father.

Lily: I think it would be amazing to be able to get those answers you're missing. If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Stephen: To talk to the dead, to all the people I have loved and are no longer with us.

Lily: I'd love to know what some of my ancestors would have to say. Do you have a hero? If so, who is it?

Stephen: No. I don’t believe in heroes either in the old or the new sense. What is a hero?

Lily: Now there's an existential debate we don't have time for here hehe. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Stephen: Just thank you for this opportunity and to tell you about the book about my grandfather. He served in the British Royal Navy from the age of 16 years and in WW1 and WW2. He survived the sinking of his ship, HMS Prince of Wales, by the Japanese. It will be written using the device of “chatting to him in Heaven.” It was always my intention to make it a “faction” book and I have now stumbled on the device for me to best enable the telling of the story. In light of your previous question, Lily, I would love to give you credit for inspiring my use of this device. Alas, no. It was symbolic to me that you asked me the question and a good sign!

Lily: I hope you'll let me know when you finish it. I would love to read it! How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Stephen: On my website, Amazon author page, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. You can buy Undercover: Operation Julie - The Inside Story at Amazon UK and Amazon.

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