Nick Spill interview by local Author and Private Investigator Laura Lanfield

I was interviewed by Laura Lanfield, author of Bail Bonds Babylon and a very successful private investigator. The original interview was published here in Laura Lanfield's blog and here in the Book Blog.
Here is her interview:
Laura Lanfield

So Nick, you transplanted yourself over here to the USA from New Zealand…very interesting. What was the attraction to Miami?

Nick Spill
I fell in love with Miami Beach; back in the 80’s it had a funky feel to it, a good school for my kids and it was 20 degrees hotter than Auckland, New Zealand!

Fascinating work, being a bodyguard and from looking at you, one can tell you are certainly well suited for the job. But, what got you interested in the first place? Did you begin your work here or in NZ?

Here in the US. But my first job was really getting some people out of Mexico who were trapped in a cult. I did not realize I was good at this until afterwards, when we were back in San Diego safe and sound. Since then I have been getting people out of trouble.

How long have you been doing it and have you worked in lots of interesting, exotic places and of course, without revealing too much, for lots of exotic, interesting people?

Since that first adventure in Mexico in 1980, I have returned to Mexico a couple of times. Each episode has been weirder. I have traveled to Nigeria to look after a group of lawyers who were prosecuting the biggest Nigerian 419 Scams ever. I looked after rappers in situations I would no longer consider wise and had access to people and events I would not have been able to experience as an ordinary guy.

I have described some of these incidents in my book The Way of the Bodyguard, available for download on Amazon.

Nigeria was one of the more exotic locations, though I am using the word exotic rather loosely. As bodyguards, we hired the local military to look after us, or least provide weapons and transportation. We moved around in an armed convoy. Lagos has at least 14 million people and one traffic light, so driving there is a little chaotic. Makes you appreciate Miami drivers! There were several incidents where there were spontaneous riots, masses of people breaking out into violence, pushing over cars and attacking anyone they did not like. We had large plastic bags full of local paper currency we could throw up in the air. We called them Dash bombs, Dash being slang for their local money. If we caught the wind it would fall over the rioters and they would be distracted enough so we could escape in our vans without the army having to shoot their way out, which would have made the situation much worse. There were not enough bullets for some of these mobs. It’s hard to imagine how many people were in these riots, thousands and thousands.

And being exposed to so much wealth and privilege spoils you. Traveling on a private 737 or a private Jumbo jet, armed, can make flying in economy really unpleasant. You just drive up to the plane, walk on and make yourself comfortable and fly off. No annoyances. Once you know how the other 1% lives, it’s a little disconcerting. For every good story like that there is a horror story. I had to stand on the tarmac one endless August afternoon while Police K9s sniffed every piece of luggage our entourage had. There were over 1,000 suitcases. We exhausted quite a few sniffing dogs. Meanwhile I am standing under the beating sun, overseeing this with a lot of hostile Police. This is where tact, charm and patience come in handy and a few friends from the local embassy.

I think living in 5 star hotels for long periods of time is the best situation. Months of not making your bed, stacking the dishwasher, putting out the garbage, looking after the house and garden while living in luxury can be attractive. Then you remember the 18-hour days where you never have any time for yourself and you constantly have to think ahead for every contingency and you can never relax. Then it doesn’t sound so good.

Have you ever felt threatened or afraid for your life…or limbs? How did you handle it?

This is a part of the job. You are hired because someone if afraid for their safety, or is concerned about something bad happening to them. If you were not concerned for your safety you have an unrealistic approach to the job. The secret is not to show fear, but to exhibit confidence and competence.

There is a descriptive episode at the end of my book The Way of the Bodyguard, that lays out a dramatic escape and evasion plan we had rehearsed and executed after an internationally televised Awards ceremony. Our client still talks about this episode. It could have ended badly, especially for him, but nothing tragic happened, but he was close enough to know he narrowly escaped with his life. It was sobering experience and worth the read.

These are the types of stories you would never read about in the media. What you do read in the media is when something goes terribly wrong, usually for the bodyguard. Do a search on your favorite news search engine and type in “bodyguard”. They are usually attacked, jailed or killed. You never read headlines like: “Bodyguard saves life of famous person. Nothing happens. Everyone happy.”

I was in a new nightclub once and I looked around and thought, hello, I am the only white guy here. This is interesting. I usually am color blind in social situations but here I must have stood out. And I was the only man in a suit. I must have looked like I was armed and wearing body armor. I was, and heavily armed. So I stood next to the stage and the singer I was protecting and tried not to be annoyed by the super loud music. Everyone kept away from me. Respect can be a two way street.

That is what I teach, show respect, be low key, if you can, and make friends not enemies. And above all do not show fear. I was once waiting outside another large nightclub in an alleyway. I stood casually, waiting for the rest of the bodyguard team to exit with the client. The alley was packed. There were drug deals going down next to me, just about every type of mean looking gang member you can imagine, undercover cops prowling around and one very scared looking uniformed Police officer with his Taser out ready to shoot anyone who looked at him the wrong way. That was definitely the wrong approach. Seeing the fear in that young man’s eyes made me laugh, but not in a good way. Fear shows weakness and attracts predators.

Now, about this utterly intriguing book you have just published. What made you decide to write it, and at this time? Are you still doing this bodyguard work? If not, what made you stop?

That’s too many questions Laura!

I had been trying to write the book for over ten years. I had to figure out how to write about my adventures without breaching any confidences or laws and give away too many secrets.

Seriously, we have a tradition in this country in giving back, spreading what you know so others can follow and improve on what you have done. This is part of professionalism, sharing, being a mentor, and promoting standards in our profession.

I could only publish this once I was out of the actual bodyguard business. I took a State job as an investigator. I sleep in my own bed now. No more private jets or extended stays in 5 star hotels and I am looking after and protecting my wife, my number one Protectee. I also travel Economy and it sucks!

Do you feel that you have a lot of important information in your book to assist someone who would like to pursue this line of endeavor? Is it, at least in part, a self-help, or how to do it book? Are there certain requisites that a person, male or female must have in order to do this kind of work? Mental or physical requirements? And along the same lines, are there many women who pursue this type of work? Do you talk about them in your book?

The Way of the Bodyguard is a how to book. I describe what it takes to be a bodyguard, what you have to do to get a job, how to select a good bodyguard school and what the physical and mental requirements are for a good bodyguard.

There is a big demand for female bodyguards. A good female bodyguard can find long-term corporate protection work. I describe several excellent women bodyguards I have worked with. They all have particular skills and in some situations, advantages over male bodyguards that give them an edge. There is a big future for competent and highly trained women bodyguards.

Is there anything in the book that you would like to share with our readers as a main point of interest?

Bodyguards have been around forever, since Biblical times, as I explain in my book and there seems to be more a demand for them now as the World becomes more dangerous and unpredictable. I wrote the book for people who are curious about what it is like to be a bodyguard as well as men and women who want to enter the profession. I hope this goes beyond the headlines and the superficial coverage bodyguards get in the media.

There is a lot to our profession, I trust this book contributes to a greater understanding of what it is like to be a bodyguard in today’s society.

Nick Spill’s The Way of the Bodyguard is available for immediate download from Amazon for $4.99.


The making of the cover for The Way of the Bodyguard

The Way of the Bodyguard

Book covers sell books

If you are publishing your e-book independently and  want a book cover that sells, you do what the big publishers do. After a lot of research, you create a concept of what you want to see in your cover then you hire a photographer and an experienced creative designer. You find the right models. Combining all this talent, you create the cover that will sell your book like digital hot cakes

I loved the poster for the film The Bodyguard because it evokes strong feelings about a bodyguard who is protecting a beautiful and threatened woman. I was working with a client at the time when the film was being shot at the Fountainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. My client was such a challenging person, I judiciously left any mention of him out of my book. But I wanted to use the poster imagery to present a bodyguard carrying his Protectee to safety, like the fairy tale about the damsel in distress and the knight who rescues her.

The Book Cover
There is a scene in The Way of the Bodyguard where I run along a beach carrying my Protectee in my arms just before dawn, with paparazzi out of range. I managed to get the Protectee back to her hotel room, safe and sound. You will have to read the book to find out the hilarious and sordid circumstances. It was this image that inspired the book cover.

The Photographer
I have a good friend Leon Smith who is a photographer. He agreed to shoot the cover. I showed him sketches and photos I had researched as well as the poster from The Bodyguard. We worked out what we wanted to show in the cover and the limitations and advantages of making a compelling e-book cover. Leon knew the cover had to create an impact in just a 100 pixel thumbnail, so composition was critical. We found an excellent location, and Leon experimented with dressing and lighting the set.  Next we had to find the right talent.

The Talent
We live on Miami Beach. There are so many beautiful people who live and visit here. So it was easy to find the right models. I did not have to look far. A client whom I have known for years, who is beautiful and in great shape, agreed to be the damsel in distress, though you cannot see much of her body. "I guess my butt is all that shows," she said, after looking at the proofs. "And it's a great butt!" I replied. My younger son whom I'm told is the handsomest man in Miami Beach, volunteered to be the bodyguard. In real life, he is a developer and real estate broker.

The Shoot
I have been on countless bodyguard details for photo and film shoots, but it was different to be in control of my own book cover shoot. Security was tight! But there was no Green Room.

We worked though one humid Miami Beach evening to get the perfect image. Leon is a master at painting with light. Included here are some "making of" snapshots I took. We ran through countless variations in poses, props, clothing, guns and boots. There were discussions about whether to use a gun or not. Running with a Glock along a beach when there was no clear deadly threat was not true to the spirit of the book, even if it looked, to the uninitiated, sexy. We nixed the gun. Then there were all the different outfits our damsel in distress had brought with her. What were the correct boots? We did not want to copy the original film poster, but there was an element of homage. A strong handsome man carrying a beautiful young woman to safety is iconic. And to me, it captured an image from the pages of my book. We had several great shots in the can. Leon now had to prepare the best photographs and process them for the book designer.

The Book Designer
After more research and interviews, I discovered a book cover designer who had an exciting portfolio, could deliver on time, at a reasonable price. I wanted a romantic and dramatic image that would capture the imagination, but not look like either a romance story about bodyguards or a textbook on security. The cover had to stand on its own as a compelling image. And if I conjured up Caravaggio and the poster from The Bodyguard, I was serious. (Note to accountant: Is that trip to Rome where we looked at all the Caravaggios, tax deductible?)

Damon from provided three different design options. He delivered these in the promised time. Provided the same image and text, Damon used color, typeface and design elements to produce different visual effects. I sent out the three designs to friends, bodyguards, clients, lawyers, anyone who would look at the cover designs and render an opinion. This was the design the majority, including this writer, liked the best.  

The Book Cover

If the book cover works, you can buy the book here: on Amazon The Way of the Bodyguard, available on PRIME or own it for digital eternity for $4.99.


Andy McNab's latest thriller RED NOTICE

A new novel from the SAS solider who wrote Bravo Two Zero and the Nick Stone Mission series.

Reviewed by Nick Spill

It has been 20 years since Andy McNab left the British SAS, and wrote the bestselling nonfiction epic Bravo Two Zero. He has written non fiction and fiction books, including 14 of the Nick Stone Mission series, as well as worked with Computer Game companies, and acted as consultant for the bank robbery scene in Michael Mann’s HEAT, the most intense and realistic US based firefight on film.

A busy entrepreneur who has parlayed his warfighting experiences and expertise to promote literacy and continued care for wounded warriors, McNab stands as a unique writer of chillingly accurate military and spy fiction.

RED NOTICE is his latest novel. He introduces a new current SAS character Tom Buckingham, who is in marked contrast to the orphan working class lad of Nick Stone who has struggled and triumphed through 14 blood-curdling missions around the world.

Tom Buckingham finds out the hardest way what happens when you try to juggle a new found love, Delphine, with a fully committed SAS career and a distinctly entertaining, almost likeable villain, Lazlo.

The story starts like most McNab adventures with an action filled flashback, this time, a ruthless extermination campaign in Georgia where we are introduced to the villain and his team of warriors, or mass murderers. And like most McNab stories the fast paced opening provides a deep and twisted backstory that informs the rest of the novel, a meticulously executed seizure and planned explosion of the Channel Tunnel.

Perhaps that is why McNab still maintains his nom de guerre/plume and never reveals his true identity and face despite exhaustive publicity. He has a backstory that could still catch up to him. The Irish, Columbians and assorted terrorists he has engaged as a SAS soldier and a MI-6 deniable operator, similar to the Nick Stone in his novels, have long memories.

McNab fans will want to read the next Tom Buckingham story. McNab can describe compelling radio communications and make them sound dramatic and suspenseful but the third person narrative is in distinct contrast to the first person Nick Stone novels and not as convincing. There is a lack of humor as well in this new novel. Upper class soldier Tom is in stark contrast to working class Nick Stone. 

McNab has been criticized for the lack of authenticity with the Channel Tunnel descriptions, but he still has to submit all his work for security clearance to the Ministry of Defense. Why give away secrets about how the Tunnel is really laid out and maintained and what security features there are in the Tunnel?

As I referenced in my new non fiction book: The Way of the Bodyguard, in the Must Read List, Andy McNab novels rank right up there with the best military and action fiction. There is a distinct difference between writers who have experienced warfighting, direct action, extreme violence, death and destruction and those writers who are just researchers.

In honor of my Father "Reluctant Q" coming soon to Amazon

George Henry Spill 1910-2009

Reluctant Q

The quartermaster's tale of survival in the Burma Jungle in WWII.

My father was conscripted into the British Army in 1940. He was 30. He came back from Burma in 1946 to his wife and two children. All his mates in fact everyone he knew, had been killed. As Quartermaster and the highest ranking N.C.O., he had survived every officer from Sandhurst that had been shipped out to him. On the boat returning home after the war, tough battle hardened men jumped overboard, unable to handle what lay ahead for them.

My Dad saw his son for the first time in 6 years when he returned to England in 1946. His son and younger daughter had no idea who this older man was. His home country was grey, cold and bleak and under many ration restrictions.

My Mother had brought up two babies during the war. She had endured getting bombed and had to move all the time. She survived like most single mothers whose husbands were at war off meager rations and very little money. On his return my Father suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and my mother had her own PTSD as well. They fought a lot.

In the late '50's, my Father started to tell stories about the War. After the Sunday roast he would begin by saying,“when I was in Burma.” He was a great storyteller. I planned to record all his wartime stories but he wanted to tell them his own way. He wrote a book, then he rewrote it again and again. Eventually he had a manuscript “The Reluctant Q”. Its a gut wrenching story of how an ordinary Englishman survived jungle warfare in Burma, told with a sense of humor and history that understates the horrors and degradation he along with all his lost comrades endured.

No publishing house or literary agent was interested in a riveting, well spun and realistic story about a war very few people knew about, especially from an older man living in a small town in New Zealand.  A man who had endured bloodthirsty suicide charges of Japanese in jungle trenches and was almost the last man standing in some of the most horrendous battles of World War II.

He was the Battery Quartermaster Sergeant for the Royal Artillery Regiment, (BQMS, or Q for short), and one of the few English survivors who walked out of the Burma Theater after VE Day from the Forgotten Fourteen Army.

Despite all the hardships he suffered, he rebuilt his life, raised a family and bought a passage for us to New Zealand, where we started a new, better life.

Before he died a few weeks before his 98th birthday, he gave me permission to publish the book. and he dropped a few bombshells that will rock our family. (You will have to read the book to find out what they are).

I am in the final process of editing  “Reluctant Q” and it will be published on Amazon, in his honor.

The book will be released in October 2014 as an e-book on Amazon as well as a paperback.


The Way of the Bodyguard from Amazon e-books

from Amazon Digital Publishing. 

Just received a review from Over The Net blog - from down under:


The Way of the Bodyguard

Available now exclusively on Amazon: The Way of the Bodyguard. $4.99.

To be a bodyguard is unlike any other job.
It is the oldest and most dangerous profession, with great rewards and the ultimate risk, death.

Nick Spill takes us on an action-packed and at times hilarious journey inside the world of bodyguards where he protects the famous, the infamous and the anonymous.

Written for those who are curious about bodyguards and protection professionals present and future, The Way of the Bodyguard reveals the skills and techniques to be a consummate bodyguard while Nick Spill recounts his experiences that soar from the mundane to the volatile and violent.

More than a manual or a textbook, the book explores in human terms what it takes to be a winning protector in a dangerous world.

The Way of the Bodyguard explores how to be a bodyguard and protect your client and the mental and physical skills Nick Spill describes so deftly, translate to all professions. He provides strategies for success for everyone, whether they want to become an excellent protector or live their life to the fullest.

If you are curious about what it is like to be a bodyguard, want to become one or seek to escape into a world of unknown threats and logistical challenges, there is much to learn from the entertaining stories in The Way of the Bodyguard. 


The Palace in TriBeCa

In New York I met and befriended an extraordinary man. An artist and lawyer who was a cross between Marcel Proust and Freddie Mercury, Gary was completely outside my ordinary frame of reference. He died young from what was then an unnamed epidemic. His story became “The Palace in TriBeCa”.
60 pages including a bonus sample from "The Way of the Bodyguard".

Dolphin Kicks and Cactus Pricks

I traveled with a group of Californian psychics to swim with dolphins in the Sea of Cortez.
Instead I witnessed the psychics turn psychotic. I barely managed to escape Mexico with the wife of a Navy SEAL, a Greenpeace activist and a hippie left over from Haight-Ashbury.

65 pages including a bonus sample from "The Way of the Bodyguard".



1. What can possibly go wrong?

2. Don't worry, it won't take a second.

3. Trust me, it won't hurt.

4. Just act natural, they'll let you in.

and the last,

5. How hard can it be?

All these phrases ran through my mind during my adventure in Mexico as recounted in the short story available on Kindle for 99 cents:

Dolphin Kicks and Cactus Pricks [Kindle Edition]