Hampstead military captain, journalist and actor pens biographical thriller
- Credit: Archant
The year is 1987 and a language student on his 10-month placement has persuaded his KGB minder to take him on a six-day train journey on the Trans-Siberian Express. The destination is Khabarovsk.
Richard Lyntton, who grew up in Kentish Town, Hampstead and Primrose Hill, stepped off the train in the depths of winter and saw the “beautiful” Amur River with the Chinese mountains in the background.
“This would make a fantastic novel,” Richard thought to himself.
Thirty-three years later, this marks the location of the opening scene in his first book, North Korea Deception. It is the first in his three-part Deception series.
Now living in Philadelphia, having moved there for work as an actor, Richard, now 54, began writing in 2005.
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However, it was not until the coronavirus pandemic broke out that Richard decided to do something about the two completed novels that were sitting on his computer.
READ MORE: Photographer appeals for funds to publish book of stunning Hampstead Heath images“I had this epiphany. I’m depressed because of Covid, I’m depressed because of the news, I’ve got to do something,” he said.
An international-political-action thriller, the former William Ellis pupil has based the story on real-life events from his past.
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A language student, military captain, journalist and actor, there has seemed never to be a dull moment in Richard’s career.
Despite all the things Richard has done throughout his life, he refers to the process of being an author as “the most exciting thing he has ever done”.
This might seem surprising, given that 30 years ago you may have found Richard inside his tank in the Gulf War - Operation Desert Shield. Or, more recently, you may have found him with the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Michael B Jorden on the set of Creed.
Richard wanted to join the senior regiment in the British army as a young man in the early 1980s, excited by the prospect of tanks and horses in London.
“We didn’t really think we would have to go to war, but then the Gulf War broke out, and they needed fresh fodder,” said Richard.
He was then flown to Saudi Arabia and placed in charge of three tanks and 11 soldiers.
It was here that Richard first wrote “Bluey”, a letter to the Ham&High that reflected his uncertainty of entering the war.
“It didn’t seem to make sense the way we were meddling with another war,” Richard said. “I wanted to share this with someone and I just thought I’d send it to the Ham&High.”
When it was published, Richard said it was “a nudge of encouragement that made me think I can write something and people might read it.”
On the very first night in Saudi Arabia, a frightened Richard was instructed to change into their biological warfare suits and put his gasmask on.
He said: “I just got my head down, and then there’s a massive explosion in the distance. Everyone goes ‘Gas Gas Gas.’”
In the following period of Richard’s life, learning Bosnian while based in Primrose Hill resulted in more adrenaline-fueled shenanigans for Richard, and he was sent to Sarajevo for six months as a liaison officer with “1,500 shells landing a day”.
He later spent more time in Bosnia as a UN military observer and has a host of stories from this period which have been included in Richard’s second book in his Deception series, Sarajevo Deceit, which has not yet been released.
Spending eight to 10 hours a day “researching how to become an indie author”, Richard has embraced the process full on after being somewhat fed up with the acting profession.
“It can take a real toll on your mental health waiting by the phone for 20 years. As an actor you’re often depressed,” he said.
“There are 200 things on my to-do list, but I’m having the best time I’ve ever had writing this book and I’m going to make this work as a business.”
The business will be called Malchick Media, he said.
Meditation became a big part of Richard’s life in the US and he now also gives free meditation classes at his children’s school for parents and kids.
More information about Richard’s books can be found on his website, richardlynttonbooks.com.
North Korea Deception is due for release on Amazon and other platforms on December 5, 2020.