Q&A

How did you find yourself writing a book? What’s the story behind your career? I have always been an avid reader and have always secretly wanted to be a writer. I finally decided to do it when a wonderful divorce presented me with a fifty-fifty split on having my three children and thus awarded me time to work at writing without children swinging from my limbs.

What makes your subject interesting? I have been fascinated by the idea that some criminals can have better moral codes than other’s who have high social standard within society. Creating a protagonist who is both a violent criminal and likeable makes my story interesting.

What makes you an interesting author? Having over a decade’s experience as a stand-up comedian has helped me to develop a dark sense of humour and a confidence in my abilities as a writer that helps me inject humour into situations that may be off-limits to others.

How many times have you wished you’d started writing earlier? Never. I’m glad I waited till I was able to focus properly and have enough life-experience to give my work credibility.

Who are your favourite authors? Tough question. As I start listing them, more come to my mind. Stephen King, Harlan Coben, Orson Scott Card, Brandon Sanderson, George Orwell, Michael Connelly, Lee Child.

How much time do you spend writing? I have periods of time where I don’t write anything for a few weeks, but then when I have a project or book to write, I write everyday for at least 4 hours. I usually average from 2500 to 6000 words per day in those periods.

What are you reading right now? George Orwell 1984 and Stephen King Doctor Sleep

What’s the biggest hurdle to getting words on the page and how do you overcome it? Social media. I have an addictive personality and if I’m on facebook the whole day can be lost. I deactivate all social media before I start writing a book, right until I finish it.

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print? I need to be able to hold a real book in my hand. I love the feel and smell of books and always have done.

If you could work with any author who would it be? Stephen King.

Night owl or early bird? Early Bird. I cannot write anything of value after 6pm. I really can’t. The earlier I wake up, the better I write.

Other creative outlets? Stand-up comedy.

Favourite books from childhood? The magic faraway tree. The lion the witch and the wardrobe.

Three favourite movies? The Green mile. Shawshank redemption and Crash.

Favourite type of hero? I like my heroes flawed, addicted and hapless.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from? I guess from childhood. I remember using books as a form of escapism. If going through a troubled time I would pick up a book and escape to a different world for a while. I still do that now.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.? I think that writers can allow a reader to experience a side of life they might not usually get to. When it comes to understanding different cultures or just understanding how others live, there’s no better way than to be immersed in that world in imagination.

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book? The rank structure of UK police. I think because of the number of American books and movies I have watched and read, I had to shake a lot of Americanisms in my writing and to keep my references accurate.

What do you think most characterizes your writing? Boldness and confidence. And humour, I hope.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? The hardest part was trying to keep the threat of death or destruction in every chapter.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? I loved how absorbed I became in my book. I played out entire events in my imagination as if I were watching it on a screen.

Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Define some of those. The concept of being released form prison after serving only half of a jail term might be a new concept to any reader outside the UK.

What inspires you? Death inspires me. Mainly that I don’t believe in an afterlife and that I think existence is ultimately futile. When I sit and think about that, I am inspired to write whatever I feel and not be stifled by conformity, because even if people are offended by my writing or if my book fails, one day I will be dead, and nothing will have mattered.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd? The brutality of the imagery and the pace of the action.

What are your plans for future projects? I plan to continue at least three of my characters and turn this into a series. I’ve also written a children’s book called what to do with grandad’s body that I hope to publish. It aims to help deal with grief from a none religious way so that’s exciting to me.