By: Emily Bunn
Stephen Gillen is an bestselling author and established entrepreneur who has gained success with his biopic “The Monkey Puzzle Tree,” alongside various business, media, and film projects. Looking towards the future, Gillen is soon to release his highly-anticipated book, “In Justice, Love, & Honour.” He also recently signed a worldwide TV deal with Film Volt, in which his The Stephen Gillen Crime Files channel will be broadcast on all major platforms. 360 Magazine sat down with the author to discuss the creation of his latest text and other upcoming projects.
What has working with someone so closely related to in the historic incident, namely Joseph Loney?
It was great working with Joseph to get a real human feel behind this story of what the real-life fallout and struggles translated to for everyone involved. It can be the small or big things, it’s all relevant in such a massive, emotional, historic and trauma-driven story. I want to know, feel and understand what it was really like, and to pinpoint the details and exclusive parts of the story not known or perhaps published. That [way] I can not [only] do justice to everyone involved and the victims, but [also] translate it authentically and with the right information and emotion for my readers. For me, having a real expert experience of what it is to live lives like this and what these characters would have been feeling, was a fascinating expose of everything that went on. I understood the ‘humanness, challenges and fears’ of the people behind this unbelievable story. It was always a great privilege and each had an amazing story in their own right.
Did you always have an interest in history, or did something about the incident concerning Fredrick Sewell and his band of robbers particularly pique your interest in the subject?
The story actually came to me through Joseph Loney, who contacted me because of his great love of the story I wrote about my life, “The Monkey Puzzle Tree.” We started talking over time and the more I understood about his journey and his father’s journey linked with Fredrick Sewell and the history surrounding it, I began to see what a massive narrative it was. Not just because of the historic angle and what actually happened, but [also] how the journeys of the main characters were incredibly linked in paradoxical and emotional ways. There were unbelievable links in this story – like Fredrick Sewell, Joseph Loney Senior, and Gerald Richardson (the policeman killed) were all the same age, but [each] ended up in a way you would never imagine. Fact really is stranger than fiction, and as I crafted this story, I cared very much about [what] all the characters went through and how they all ended up. This is one of the many elements that makes it an un-put-down-able read, which at the moment is being highly desired by the world’s top publishers.
What has it been like signing with Global Aggregate Film Volt for your channel?
It was a great moment. We have always worked so hard, and I have such wonderful people around me, like Daphne, my partner, and the rest of the team. It was good to then be invited in to do the awesome work … together at Film Volt. Mark is a cool guy, well respected, and very influential in the industry. He has a very strong and talented work ethic. We’re very similar in ways, so for all of us involved in the partnership with such a connected and influential worldwide distributor, it offers us great opportunities for the future to do the fantastic work we are all focused on together.
I have a very unique history, skill set and experience/profile, so [I] am [an] individual in this space and for what we are shaping on the Crime Channel. My crime channel, called ‘The Stephen Gillen Crime Files,’ is now in the process of being on all major TV platforms around the world. We aim to consistently deliver raw, highly produced and coveted content that will really add value and make the difference to audiences and people’s lives around the world. We have a world class team behind us now to make that happen and [are] committed to really raising the bar in content creation. With such a massive reach to such vast audiences, the future is very exciting.
What do you plan to discuss on your worldwide crime channel? Are there any specific cases you want to shed more light on?
We have many great and riveting formats under development, [that are] really out of this world and well-formatted. I’ll be continuing interviewing my YouTube model ‘The Big Shift,’ which interviews big name global crimes [and] many high-ranking organized crime figures and mobsters. But, we have other out of the box enthralling shows [too]. They are being released very soon so can’t say too much. But what I can say is [that] they are very professional throughout and crafted to entertain a wide scope of audiences in the genre, [the show is] very gripping and appealing to all. Most are really emotionally charged, which will really pull in, shock, and excite audiences. Other are focused on redemption and atonement, real hard-hitting, true stories that are amazing. [These stories] aim to be targeted, [and] to bring light, learning, closure and information to people so [that] these awful events may not happen again and there is improvement [for the] next generations. Other formats will be cliff hangers and work with viewers ‘outside the box,’ in the way this genre usually works. We want to thrill, shock, inform, improve and entertain as much as possible, focusing on the unbelievable stories that people really want to watch and hear about. It’s going to be content not to miss, I promise you.
How long did the process of researching for “In Justice, Love & Honour” take?
Research for ‘In Justice, Love & Honour’ took around six months to research, but possibly longer as even when I was writing, there was other important bits of information I needed. It was a real emotional journey… My family tell[s] me [that] when I’m writing not only do they not see me, but [also they] can’t talk to me I’m just so immersed in the characters, story arcs, plots and narrative. It’s how I write and why the writing is always so powerful, it’s a[n] emotion process that is finely woven and really burned, translated and detailed in a masterful and human way on the page. I also feel a lot of responsibility, and really work tirelessly for it to be as cleverly-crafted as possible for my audience and readers.
What do you anticipate reader’s reaction to “In Justice, Love & Honour” will be like?
I know they’ll be blown away by the detail of the characters, the emotion, the masterful weaving and moving plots, the descriptive and well written writing structures and the burning humaneness carv[ing] right through it. It is not just a massively historic, true story, but an amazing and riveting character study as you are emotionally gripped by these unbelievable characters that jump from the page. Part of the allure and uniqueness of this book is, of course, I live deep in this world and [have] travelled through most of the things these characters did from a very deep angle. So, I have great value as experience [in] the internal things going on as a person goes through these unbelievably crazy and breathtaking events. It certainly is a path less trodden and my main goal was to go to the heart of it in a way no other author could as we can only go as deep as we have been before. This certainly adds a massive uniqueness to everything in this unbelievable story. The world’s top publishers seem to think so too, as they are excited and pushing hard for the chance to be the one to publish and bring it to mass audiences. It is a great privilege to do it and I’m sure it will be a roller-coaster ride for all.
Find out more about Stephen’s story and the opportunity to get a signed copy of his book HERE.
*Photos and book cover design: Daphne Diluce