What everyday situation drives you mad?
Inconsiderate parking. People who take up parking bays intended for disabled or those with children, simply because they can’t be bothered to walk the few extra yards.
Colours you’d never wear?
Pink. Clashes with my eyes.
Name three contents currently in your fridge!
Ice, cold air and a suspicious dark mass at the back. I need to go shopping.
Three books that you read that made you want to become an author?
‘Cop Hater’ by Ed McBain; ‘The Juror’ by George Dawes Green; ‘The Bone Collector’ by Jeffery Deaver
It’s movie night – which films do you choose to watch with your friends?
Something dramatic, but not necessarily a thriller. Recently, I loved ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Mr Turner’
Your idea of a perfect holiday?
Somewhere away from crowds, but with beautiful scenery and things to do. Pembrokeshire is a favourite, especially when the weather is good.
Favourite literary or movie villain?
Your favourite Hitchcock movie?
Has to be Psycho.
Your novels with Callum Doyle are all set in New York. Did you want to honour your home base Liverpool with the new Nathan Cody series?
With changing publishers, I needed a new series in a new location, and Liverpool seemed the obvious choice. Curiously, perhaps, not much crime fiction has been set in Liverpool, which made it all the more appealing.
ATAMD starts with a quote by Edgar Allan Poe and his poems are mentioned again in the story. Are you a fan of his work and if so, which stories/poems are your favourites?
I do like Poe. I love The Raven, but he also wrote some terrifically scary stuff, including ‘The Pit and The Pendulum’ and ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’.
In ATAMD the killer has very limited appearance in general. Did you deliberately decide to put your protagonists into the main focus of the story and not give the antagonist too many pages?
It’s always a balancing act. I like writing from the villain’s point of view, but when you’re writing a mystery, in which the identity of the killer is unknown, it can be difficult to say a lot without giving the game away.
For me it was a welcome diversion to not being forced to read page after page of police procedural descriptions and fortunately you never do that in your novels. Do you sometimes get criticised for leaving those details out? Are you too lazy to do research 😉 or do you think that has been done often enough that you don’t feel the need to write about it?
Actually, I have found the opposite. Readers seem to appreciate the fact that I don’t spend too much time on procedure. In my books I prefer to concentrate on people, and what drives them. Besides, real police procedure can be incredibly dull.
If someone asked you to recommend places to visit in Liverpool – please, no much stressed Beatles this time – incl. restaurants or pubs, where would you tell them to go?
There are so many wonderful places and sights in Liverpool. I’d include the waterfront, the two cathedrals and the amazing Central Library. For pubs, I’d suggest the Philharmonic, famous for its urinals!
You work full time and have a family including a gorgeous cat named Mr. Tumnus. Despite all that you have managed to finish five novels so far and I guess a lot of aspiring writers wonder how you managed that? What advice would you give them despite a large amount of discipline and having an understanding family?
The best advice is not to try to find huge gaps in your incredibly busy day, because you’ll usually fail. Instead, make use of the small gaps. Everyone can find ten minutes here and there. Write like crazy in those times, and once you get going, don’t feel that you have to stop!
What would you say is the biggest difference between your daytime job and the task when you sit down to write?
It’s right brain versus left brain. I go from working scientifically and objectively to working with my more creative side. It’s refreshing to have that switch.
The last installment of your Callum Doyle series, Marked, left with quite a cliffhanger regarding the fate of one of the main characters. Do you have plans to go back to the streets of New York and write about Doyle again?
The next novel will be another Cody, but Bonnier has bought the rights to the Doyle books too, so I’m sure he will return soon. Watch this space!