Author Q&A

Are you an author or a writer?

Definitely a writer. An author implies I have authority over the meaning of my work, but I do not. I firmly believe the reader holds the power; the reader defines the values in the book. This is why I try to ensure I open up the story for the reader to make decisions about what happens after the story ends.

What or who do you enjoy reading?

My favourite novel writers are James Ellroy, Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett and Mickey Spillane, but Stewart Lee’s occasional columns in the UK’s Observer newspaper make me laugh.

Who is your favourite character in your WIP?

Every work in progress contains a main character who usually is morally suspect. I like them the most otherwise I wouldn’t bother wrapping an entire story around them. Each time, every time.

What is your biggest writing challenge?

I picture whole scenes and vistas in my head and there are times when I wonder if the words I use offer even a pale imitation of what I’m imagining. That said, all that matters is that the reader can create their own scene in their head. The fact the colour of their sky isn’t the same as the one I’d thought about is irrelevant.

How many WIPs do you have?

I have a pool of around ten or more stories in the pipeline. Some have a story outline and others have just a single sentence to describe what happens. That said, a couple are not crime stories: there’s a whimsical piece of science fiction and a tale set in Biblical times.

Generally, I focus on fleshing out and writing only one story at a time. If this slush pile of stories were ever to run out then I would be concerned. Deeply concerned.

How did you choose your genre?

Cliche alert: the genre chose me. The last twenty years I have found myself drawn to stories about the morally questionable. Watching people choosing between right and wrong makes for the most compelling tales in my head.

Which book do you wish you had written?

The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy. He takes a gripping and complex story and meshes it inside real and compelling events.

What is your favourite character of all time?

Winnie the Pooh. Wise words from a bear of little brain.

What should all books have?

A beginning, a middle and an end. After that, anything can happen.

What scares you most about writing?

Ghost stories.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

“Three in the afternoon is either too early or too late to do anything truly useful.” Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre.

The sheer futility of the human existent is summarised in a handful of words. Does it inspire me? Yes – I have to get an awful lot done in my day before mid-afternoon otherwise I wait until after dinner.

Who do you most admire?

Anyone who goes to work every day for forty years in a dead end job just to earn a crust. Or anyone who can’t get work but still tries to earn a buck, day in and day out.

Claim your number. Explain your choice.

Three-and-a-bit. This is a wonderful estimate but a canny number that refuses to be pinned down. Many people think I mean an approximation to pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference and diameter, but I do not. I am precisely saying three-and-a-bit. Eventually, when I make a guess with this number, I will be right. I’m still waiting.

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Enter your email address to get your free book delivered to your inbox. You’ll also be added to my newsletter and you’ll be the first to know next time I have some cool stuff to give away (you can unsubscribe at any time).

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