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Chris Moore Author of Hidden Casino & Dark Casino

Interview with Chris Moore - Author of Hidden Casino & Dark Casino

You have been writing recollection articles for Casino Life for a few years now. Is there a connection between your recollections and your thrillers?

My recollection articles have been factual. My thrillers are purely fictional. A famous author advised me some years ago that the thrillers I wanted to write should never be anecdotal.  He said it would limit my imagination, he was right.

How long did it take to write your first novel?

I started writing my first book over twenty years ago. It has taken me this long to develop the structure and writing style to create a viable thriller. For me it has been a long and challenging learning curve, but I am very happy that I am now able to create what I originally set out to achieve.

Your book subtitles say ‘A Ryan James casino crime thriller’. Do your readers have to be into casinos or gambling to enjoy the books?

Not at all. I believe that anyone who enjoys crime thrillers will like Ryan James. Having spent forty years in the casino world, it seemed sensible to use my experience as a platform for the thrillers. However I guessed that in the long term the majority of readers would not be from the casino world. Therefore there is no requirement for them to understand anything about casinos, gambling or poker to be able to follow every part of a Ryan James’s thriller.  I also hope that the people who have worked in the business enjoy the books and can relate to the stories.

You say you have encountered a selection of dubious characters over the years.  Who was the most dubious?

One of the most stimulating elements of working in casinos around the world was the variety of characters I met. Some were extremely charismatic, others highly dubious. In Dark Casino the villain was very loosely inspired by a character I encountered whilst dealing dice in London in the seventies. He was the nastiest, most intimidating customer I was ever subjected to. He dressed like a film star and smoked huge cigars.  When playing at the tables, to the maximum, he always had a massive minder towering behind him. He whispered venomous threats if you made a mistake and glared at you like you were about to be physically assaulted.

Do you enjoy gambling?

I used to.  I played poker almost every night when I worked in Iran. When I worked in Amsterdam we were paid daily, and I gambled almost every night in other casinos. I eventually gave up gambling when the agony of losing raced way ahead of the pleasure of winning.

Many people are against gambling.  What would you say to them?

Many people are against many things. I agree with Ryan James that everyone’s life is based on gambling on everything we do every day.  I remember having an argument with a highflying insurance executive at a dinner party in London. When he found out that I was a croupier he started ridiculing casinos, accusing them of being dishonest and disreputable. I responded by informing him that the major difference between casinos and his type of company was that casinos offered much fairer odds and always paid out.

What has been the biggest change to casinos since the time you started in the business?

Surprisingly there have not been too many radical changes in the past forty years. Slot machines, gaming software and online gaming have developed dramatically, but traditional casino games are still practically the same. Live casino customers are a very rare breed who demand total integrity and random luck? They need to know that they can win as often as they lose. The live casino gaming margins are thin compared to many of the newer gambling options, but the casino’s real advantage is still that players rarely walk away at the summit of their luck.

Ryan James seems a little like a modern day James Bond.  How did you develop his character?

Twenty years of editing and the belief that he could become a character that people would like to follow. The encouraging thing is that the first ten reviews rated Hidden Casino as a five-star book. It will be interesting to see what the reaction will be to Dark Casino, which is slightly more complex. The biggest advantage of working within this type of genre is that the casino world remains fascinating to most people, even those who have never gambled.

Hidden Casino is set in Dubai.  How do you think the Emiratis might react to the book?

I cannot guess what their reaction will be. I feel sure that some of them would enjoy the plot line.  In the book I am extremely positive about Dubai as a destination.  I have received numerous responses from readers that have never been there, but are now considering making a visit.  The book is purely fictional so I hope it is well received for what it is.

Are we going to see more of Ryan James?

The first two books are published online. Book three is now being drafted. The story lines for books four five and six are already complete with their chapter plans in place.  All of them will feature Ryan James.

Do you hope to become a bestselling author?

Becoming a bestseller is as probable as spinning the same number on a roulette wheel three times in a row (although I actually did it once in Africa).  My reason for writing the books is that I wanted to create casino thrillers that would appeal to readers like myself.  Writing books is a long, lonely, dedicated process, but finishing them is hugely rewarding. I now have two books published on Kindle. If people keep reading them, I will keep writing them.

Where are your next books set?

Las Vegas, the Caribbean, Canada and at sea. Those locations are likely to change if I am convinced to focus on different locations, casinos or cultures.

Not everyone has a Kindle, so how can they buy your books?

The link to the Kindle app is available on my website. It can be downloaded free onto your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Are you going to publish your books as paperbacks?

Self publishing is the first step, but real publishing is my ultimate objective.  If the Ryan James thrillers become popular online, there is a chance that they might become attractive to one of the big publishers. That would make it all worthwhile.

Do you consider your references to casino crimes to be negative?

Everything I have written is totally fictional, but inspired by a reality that we all know exists. There have been casino thieves embedded from the very beginning, as there has been in every other industry. Of course I have embellished the crime concept to enhance the thriller element. We all know that the casino world works tirelessly to prevent theft, but it is unlikely to ever disappear entirely.

Is Ryan James based on anyone from the casino world?

If you used all the positive traits and idiosyncrasies from the characters I have worked with over the years to create a new character, then Ryan James would be the result.  He will continue to grow and emerge as a character that will hopefully provide fictional escapism for anyone that is in the casino world that enjoys this type of thriller.