I am delighted today to be joined by author Neal James. His new novel is available to purchase now and I thought it would be a great opportunity to have him on my blog for a quick Q&A. Enjoy!
When vengeance calls, death is its shadow
Billy Robertson is out for revenge and the target in his sights is Dennis Marks.
Holding the DCI responsible for the death of his younger brother, Jack, Robertson seizes on the opportunity given to him by Harold Shaw – another violent criminal falling foul of the skill of one of the Met’s finest detectives – from the confines of his cell at HMP Wandsworth.
After his run-in with the IPCC, Marks is plunged into a murder case involving the death of a teacher at Lainsford Grammar School in Edmonton. Without the services of Home Office pathologist, George Groves, and with the prospect of his own team breaking up, Marks’ abilities are tested to the limit as he follows a trail of false leads, lies and a wall of silence.
Three Little maids is available to purchase from Amazon (Please not that link used is an affiliate link)
Which of your books is your personal favourite and why?
It has to be ‘A Ticket to Tewkesbury’, because this was the first full-length novel that I wrote back in 2007, and came out of a short story of some 3,500 words. I got such a thrill out of turning that into a 66,000 word piece of work, and to have it accepted by a publisher was a real buzz which still comes back to me each time I look at the cover.
Which was the hardest one to write?
Without a doubt this was ‘Two Little Dicky Birds’, because the plotting and characterisations were so complex and detailed. I used travelling football supporters to conceal the killer’s movement up and down the country, and over the period 1975 – 2002 that presented quite a challenge.
When did you realise you wanted to become a writer?
My father-in-law dies in 2001, and during a session of reminiscing with my wife’s mother, Joyce (my mother-in-law) suddenly commented – ‘You could write a book about that!’. The more I thought it through, the more I became convinced that she was right. The manuscript for ‘Talk About Laugh’ (another one of her sayings) took six months to complete, and set me off on a course of short story writing which culminated in the completion of ‘A Ticket to Tewkesbury’ which was published in 2008.
What advice would you give the younger you, knowing what you know now?
Never change a thing – grasp the opportunity when it comes along, because there may not be another day when you feel that pull to do something out of the ordinary,
What is your favourite and least favourite part of being a writer?
Favourite: seeing one of my books in someone’s hands, in a book shop window or on a library shelf.
Least Favourite: the endless reading, re-reading, and polishing of a manuscript before presenting to a publisher. I’m basically impatient, but have to temper that with the need to be correct and professional about getting the book into the best condition that I can.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Dancing. My wife and I go to dance classes and dances at least three times each week. The exercise is perfect, and it’s an inexpensive way to spend an evening with people who have become our friends.
What would your perfect writing space be like?
A single room (I have one) with a desk, a filing cabinet, a set of drawers, a PC and printer, and an easy chair. No phone, no TV, no radio… no distractions.
Which authors or books inspired you?
Authors: Isaac Asimov, Thomas Hardy, James Patterson and Val McDermid.
Books: all of the Foundation series, ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles, all of the Alex Cross novels, and ‘Place of Execution’.
Would you ever co-write with someone and if so who would you like to write a book with?
I have tried this on a couple of occasions, and have found it unsatisfactory. My style did not fit well with that of the other authors involved in the collaborations, and I found my time taken up by waiting for other people to finish their writing to complete the projects whilst my own books had been put on hold. It isn’t something that I would do again.
What have readers got to look forward to from you in the future?
More crime, two more volumes of short stories, a paranormal thriller (‘Dreamkiller’) and a scary tale ‘Trick or Treat’.