Author interviews

James Knowles is the author of ‘Back Where We Belong’ which looks at Stoke’s promotion into the Premiership last season complete with plenty of photographs detailing our historic return to top flight football. It is another ‘must have’ for any self-respecting Stoke fan.

 

How did you come to support Stoke City?

 

It was all my Dad’s ‘fault’. I was born in Lancashire but, thankfully, rather than being taken to Old Trafford, I was taken to the glorious Victoria Ground. My lifelong supporting Dad kept his fingers crossed that I would follow in his footsteps and having seen us beat the mighty Mansfield Town 4-0, I was hooked!

 

What have been the highlights and lowlights during your time supporting Stoke?

 

The highlight came on 4 May 2008 when we gloriously gained promotion. The joy and pride as I stood on the hallowed turf that day is a moment I shall cherish for the rest of my life. As a Stoke fan, there are always low moments. The 7-0 defeat at home to Birmingham was awful and the second half of the season under the one dimensional Brian Little was appalling.

 

How did you go about writing ‘Back Where We Belong’ and have you been pleased with the reviews & fellow Stoke fans reactions so far? Any chance you may do a follow-up covering this season?

 

At the start of the 2007/2008 season I began writing 150 words as a ‘fans view’ for The Sentinel after every match. In January (on the way back from Charlton) it was suggested I should write a book on my experiences of the season. I accepted the challenge and decided that whatever the outcome of the campaign, I would publish the book. Thankfully (and memorably) we obviously won promotion.

 

Sales of the book have been steady so far and the feedback I have received has been positive. Due to extortionate shipping costs, no shops currently stock the book so it has been down to me to entirely self promote the publication. A book signing in Hanley alongside Denis Smith, Alan Hudson, David Lee (who has organised it) and David Johnson on October 18th will hopefully accelerate sales.

 

Will there be a follow up? I am currently writing a sequel but whether it will be seen by the eyes of others depends on what the lads on the pitch do. If we fall through the trap door I can’t imagine too many people queuing up for it!!

 

Back Where We Belong is available (signed) for £12.99 (plus P & P) through 07840 591493 and jtwknowles@aol.com

 

What do you think of Pulis’s new signings so far and do you think we have a strong enough squad at least until the January transfer window?

 

Abdoulaye Faye is rapidly turning into the steal of the summer. He has been a rock so far. Despite a shaky start, Sorensen is beginning to put in displays that show why he has been at the top level for so long. The big summer signing, Kitson, is playing too deep (whether that is the manager or the player remains to be proven). If he is given a run as an out and out striker I think we will see the best of him.

 

The other new boys have slotted in well but we need to strengthen in January. We lack any pace in our side and are far too reliant on Delap’s brilliant long throw. If Rory was to pick up another bad injury then you fear that our season may well be over.

 

Has our start to the season met your expectations or been worse than you expected?

 

There is a lot of doom and gloom at the moment but I think that is more to do with the fact we are competing so well. We have been ever so close to every team on the pitch (perhaps with the exception of European Cup runners up Chelsea). Another win could well set us on our way. The league hasn’t been quite up to the standard I was expecting and I am confident we can stay in for at least another year.

 

Your top five best and worst players you have seen in a Stoke shirt and why…

 

Best:

Mark Stein- He truly was the ‘Golden One’

 

Peter Hoekstra- Although we didn’t see much of him, he was clearly blessed with tremendous talent. If he wasn’t so injury prone he would never have pulled on a Stoke shirt

 

Sergei Shtaniuk- I loved Sergei. Nothing got past him. He could have easily cut it in the Premier League.

 

Ricardo Fuller- He frustrates the hell out of me at times, but the skill Ric possesses is a great weapon to have in your team.

 

Kevin Keen- A great player who was a tremendous servant. The best thing Megson did in his short time was re-sign Keeno.

 

Worst:

Where do we start?!

Gordon Marshall- Thankfully only lasted ten games but he was a truly dreadful signing

 

Jeff Whitley- A panic signing by Pulis and his terrible performances left me panicking every time he went near the ball!

 

Keith Scott- How we swapped Sheron for him is anyone’s guess. Cheers Mr O’Neill!

 

Paul Williams- After a couple of decent outings it soon became apparent that Willo was past his sell by date. A decent fella but sadly that doesn’t make you a good player.

 

Lee Collins- The centre back signed on a free from Villa and only made four appearances. The fact his debut game in a 2-0 loss away at NINE man Millwall says it all!

 

How did you feel when we won promotion into the Premiership and which were your player(s) of the season?

 

To be honest, it was the best moment of my life. Even if we only last one season up here to say we did it is a magnificent achievement. What does seem rather surreal is the amount of media attention we now attract.

 

The players of the season? Hmmm, Lawrence swept the board with the awards but for me Delap’s contribution (not just with his long throws) in the second half of the campaign was pivotal. A special mention also for Mr Fuller.

 

 

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Fellow Stoke supporter and now an author, David Johnson, whose new book ‘Tie Me To The Mast’ (my brief review is here) is one not only for Stoke fans but any lover of football (plus it has side issues such as how to stack a dishwasher and why is TV so carp nowadays).

 

How did you come to support Stoke City?

 

We moved to North Staffordshire from Liverpool when I was two. When I was three and four I kept going on at my dad to take me to a game. In a last-ditch attempt to convert me, he bought me the complete Everton kit and a “casey” ball for my fourth birthday, but it was no use. He caved in and the first game I saw was a nil-nil draw at the Victoria Ground against Birmingham. My dad says it was the worst game of football he’s ever seen, but I was hooked. We sat in the Butler Street Stand and my dad used to make me bring a bright orange, flowery cushion with me. He said it was so I could see over the people in front, but I suspect it was punishment for not supporting Everton.

 

What have been the highlights and lowlights during your time supporting Stoke?

 

I would expect to be able to reel off a list of football-related triumhs and tragedies, but I find it really difficult. Humiliating defeats against Birmingham and Liverpool of course stick in my mind, as do victories over Manchester United and Chelsea. But I’m not the sort of fan who obsesses about statistics. For me the unique beauty of football is the human drama and the camaraderie, and some of the most special memories I have come from awful, dire, depressing seasons or from games against teams I can no longer remember.

 

How did you go about writing ‘Tie Me To The Mast’ and have you been pleased with the reviews & fellow Stoke fans reactions so far?

 

I can’t tell you how much the good reaction from fellow Stokies means to me. The people closest to me have been remarkably tolerant as well, bearing in mind the mick-taking they come in for. It’s a good job, really, othewise I’d be friendless and in the divorce courts by now.

The reviews so far have been great, even from a national broadsheet like the Telegraph. I’d like to be all cool and nonchalant about it, but in truth it makes me really proud that people from every walk of life seem to like it. It’s an incredible relief after months of uncertainty.

It’s my first book, and, sticking to the cliched advice to write about what you know, I’d made some notes the season before. But, as often happens in my life, chronic laziness overtook me and nothing came of it until I needed an excuse to go to the first game of last season away at Cardiff. I told my wife I was writing the book so I had to go, and from then on my fear of Alison overrode my motivational crisis.

At Anfield last week a complete stranger stopped me and said: “Loved the book, mate.” That one moment made it all worthwhile. 

 

What do you think of Pulis’s new signings so far and do you think we have a strong enough squad at least until the January transfer window?

 

I think Kitson is struggling in the system that we’re playing and I’m sure Pulis expected to have added another genuine wide player before deadline day. As it was we missed out, leaving Kitson a bit adrift at least until January. On paper, even with the new signings, we should be doomed, but how we gel as a team is the really critical thing.

 

Your top five best and worst players you have seen in a Stoke shirt and why…

 

Top Five, in no particular order.

Mark Chamberlain – something exciting seemed to happen every time he received the ball on the touchline.

 

Mark Stein – goals, goals and more goals.

 

George Berry – commitment and a real one-off.

 

Denis Smith – broken leg? Felt nowt.

 

Alan Hudson – where sport meets art.

 

Bottom five, in no particular order.

 

Lee Chapman – I still can’t understand how he scored so many goals.

 

Dave Brammer – thought he was David Beckham but was actually David Brent.

 

Vincent Pericard – it’s a shame, but he seems to have completely lost his way.

 

You know what? I’m struggling with the other two. Any Stoke player I saw before I turned 16 was a hero and most of the players in our doldrum days just merge into so much grey crapness.

 

How did you feel when we won promotion into the Premiership and which were your player(s) of the season?

 

It was a strange, wonderful, mixture of joy, relief and calm anti-climax. After the initial celebrations immediately after the final whistle, it felt a bit like the few minutes after midnight on New Year’s Eve – shaking hands with strangers, but genuinely wishing them all the best.

I stayed up in the stands for a few minutes with my mates before heading down towards the pitch. Half way down and suddenly I was struggling not to cry. It had been an emotionally bruising season. A short while later I heard the Leicester fans applauding and I looked up to see if their team had come back on. When I realised they were clapping the Stoke fans – minutes after their own team had been relegated – it was all but impossible to stop the tears.

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‘Run’ by JEFF ABBOTT is just published and if you like real page turning thrillers with strong characters and plots grab a copy now, then go and read his excellent backlist including ‘Panic’ and the Whit Mosley series. Along with DENIS LEHANE, STEVE HAMILTON and MICHAEL CONNELLY one of the best US crime/thriller writers currently out there.

What are you currently up to?

I’ve just finished touring for RUN (called COLLISION in the US), and am doing a bit of polishing on the thriller that will be out in summer 2009, and deciding what the next book I write will be.

What made you want to start writing and who have been your inspirations when it comes to writing?
My grandmother was a teacher for 37 years and she really inspired me to start writing. She constantly encouraged me in every thing I did. And my teachers told my parents I needed a channel for my creative energies. They got me a Big Chief paper tablet and a Husky pencil and I started scribbling stories and I never stopped. Probably as a young reader my influences were, bizarrely, Agatha Christie and Robert Ludlum. They were the first “grown up” authors that I read. Some of my other favorite authors include Frederick Forsyth, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Eric Ambler, Harper Lee, Ken Follett, and Laura Lippman.  

Your newer books have been stand alone fast apced thrillers. Have you found your readership and sales have risen as a result of this?
Yes, very much so, although my Whit Mosley series is doing well also since it was rereleased here in the UK. But PANIC has been one of the best selling thrillers of recent years in the UK, which just floors me still. PANIC’s success in the UK led to it being bought in many other countries. So I am very grateful to my British readers. That said, if I ever decided to do a series again, I think I would apply what I’ve learned about pacing and character in the standalones to a series book.  

Would you like your books to make the big screen and if so ideally which actors/actresses would you like to see portary your  main characters?  

PANIC’s screenplay is in development at The Weinstein Company, and they’ve got a fantastic script. They’ve started casting and so it would not be appropriate for me to discuss actors right now because that process is actually happening. I trust that the studios that are developing PANIC and RUN (Collision) into films will do a great job of casting. RUN (Collision) was just optioned by Twentieth Century Fox and they’re looking for the right screenwriter for the project.  

Did you ever envisage the success you have had so far? What have been the highlight(s) so far?
I always hoped I could make a living from writing, but I knew it was a difficult business and I was going to have to stick with it through thick and thin. The highlights have been getting to tour in Europe and the US, meeting readers, and knowing that my books are reaching a lot of readers. My kids think I have a very cool job, so that’s a highlight. I love getting to work from home and have more time with my family.  

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from writing?
Reading, movies, swimming, good food and wine, and most importantly, time with my family.  

Message for your fans…
Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you, and as long as you keep reading them I’ll keep the books coming.
Jeff Abbott www.jeffabbott.com

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Quick Q’s with…STEPHEN FOSTER, Stoke fan & author

Author and blogger Stephen Foster wrote the excellent book on being a Stoke supporter ‘She Stood There Laughing’. Plus he has written fiction and ‘Walking Ollie’about his dog called err Ollie.

1. With Stoke just two games away from possible automatic promotion do you think we will do it or fall under pressure? Has the Pottermouth poem galvanised the fans and players do you think? (I read one Vale fan comment that the Stoke players wouldn’t understand the accent!)
Even Norwich put 5 past Colchester recently, how hard can it be? )
So: yes, I think we’ll do it. I’m amazed we’re in this position at all but the bad-results blip seems to have passed just in the nick of time.
I had an arts journalist from the Guardian (who I didn’t really know) email the Pottermouth link to me: this ‘call to arms’ has even achieved national recognition, which is really something for anything Stoke-related.
Never mind what Fale fans think: they’re back where they belong, in tinpot obscurity.

2. How did you first get into writing and were you pleased with the reaction to ‘She Stood Their Laughing’? What attracts you most about writing and how easy/hard was it to land your first book deal?
 

I went back to education in my early thirties, to Norwich School of Art and Design. I did a degree in Cultural Studies, which meant I spent my time in three parts: one third art history, one third visual work, and one third creative writing. I’d been accepted on an entirely visual portfolio – I thought painting was what I was going to do, but I discovered I had some talent at writing and really rather less-so re. visual work. My first book was a collection of stories set in Stoke-on-Trent, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cracks-Like-Breaking-Skin/dp/0571195067/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209113530&sr=1-1. I had 50 copies of the early prototype of that printed at a local firm and I stood them on a plinth for my final degree show piece. One of those copies found its way into the hands of an editor from Faber and Faber; he subsequently sent me a letter wondering if I had a few more stories to flesh it out into a publishable length. So my intro into publishing was non-standard, in that I was touted up, though I’ve had a few of rejection slips since: three or four editors turned down She Stood There Laughingbefore Simon & Schuster picked it up.
SSTL got a broad thumbs-up from Stoke fans, and it topped the Independent newspaper’s dedicated sports book chart for a few weeks. Some reviewers didn’t like it because I included terrace talk and filthy language while at the same time referring to French cultural theoretical concepts and applying them to football. They considered this pseudish, as though those two voices couldn’t be part of one person. I was more than happy with that: to be pissing off a few public schoolboy sports hacks.

3. What have been the highlights and lowlights (this maybe a few!) as a Stoke supporter?

Highlights: The League Cup, signing Alan Hudson, the second coming of Lou, the introduction of Delilah, Steino, the Millennium Cardiff, Bjarni, Hoekstra, Gerry, Boskamp’s press calls. This season could provide one, too.

Lowlights: I’ve never enjoyed the relegations; I hated leaving the Vic; post-Waddo our form in the FA Cup has been dire whoever has been in charge; there was a horror period when we kept losing to the Fale who at one point even seemed to be a division higher, but that must surely have been an hallucination bought on by a bad oyster.

4.  Any recent music/books/films you would recommend?

Music: Tinchy Stryder: Star in the Hood (my son, Jack, manages this guy: he is the future of UK Grime.) I like Duffy, too.

Book: Currently reading Divided Soul, by David Ritz, an account of Marvin Gaye’s life. I’m partially doing it as research for a part of my next novel – I’ve always been fascinated by that period Gaye spent towards the end washed up in Ostend, it’s seems so incongrous. There are lots of nice quotes in the book, for instance, when asked how much he has spent on toot over the years, Gaye replies: ‘I don’t even want to think about it. I don’t want to know. To be truthful, I’ve been careful never to keep track. My attitude has always been, whenever good blow is around, buy it, regardless of price.’

Film: American Gangster is great. It looks superb: Ridley Scott has managed to recreate ’seventies cops in ’seventies America, filmed today using modern production values, and made it shine. He’s a genius film maker for the big screen – he would have won Oscars for it if only he wasn’t such a bolshy git. 

5. Message for the Stoke fans…

Do eet, just do eet.

A couple of author email interviews I did back in 2006, both write fast paced and enjoyable crime novels and neither pull any punches when it comes to describing the grittier side of life…

Interview with GRAHAM HURLEY


Graham Hurley is the author of the highly readable DI Jo Faraday novels set in and around Portsmouth in the UK. They pull no punches and deal with many current and topical issues. I would personally recommend reading ‘Cut To Black’ and his new novel, ‘Blood And Honey’ (published in January 2006) as good starting points.

More at –

http://www.grahamhurley.co.uk
http://www.orionbooks.co.uk

What am I currently up to?

The summer is a fallow period for yours truly. We live by the sea. We swim a great deal. Sail. Windsurf. Idle around. And in between ladling on the Factor 15, I get to think about the next book (number seven in the Joe Faraday series). The working title is One Under. I have the opening scene already written, a shape for the narrative, and a broad fix on where this next fictional rocket may land. The detailed research is done but before I get down to the hard graft we’re taking off in the camper to France. To my astonishment, the books are doing really well there. The French seem to have a taste for inner-city anarchy, and the efforts of guys like Faraday to try and light a candle or two in the gathering darkness. In fact they appear to have taken Joe to their collective hearts. Grace a Dieu.

You new book, ‘Blood & Honey’ has the Bosnian conflict and its aftermath many years later as its main backdrop. How did you resercah this and do you use your books to get personal mesages across to readers and.or highlight issues important to yourself?

You’re absolutely right about the Bosnian conflict and it’s aftermath with respect to Blood and Honey. It’s an important narrative engine for the book, drives key parts of the plot, and kept my own pot nicely bubbling on the stove while I was writing. A while back, in another career, I made a number of TV documentaries exploring the ever-lengthening shadows cast by long-ago conflicts, and conversations with veterans from the Second World War, from various campaigns in the Fifties and Sixtties, and – more recently – from the Falklands War, taught me a great deal. Living in Portsmouth – a city literally built on blood and treasure – gave me more food for fictional thought, and a lot of this stuff has seeped into my fiction. Both in terms of stand-alone thrillers, and now the Faraday series. Smuggling personal messsages into fiction is an extremely dodgy business. The last thing a reader wants is 400 pages of homily. At the same time, though, writing of this length is bound to absorb – seamlessly, I hope – some sense of where the writer stands. So, yes, I plead guilty – consciously or otherwise – in dreaming up situations that put my characters to particular kinds of tests. And the way they do (or don’t) perform, often has a direct bearing on issues – and personal qualities – which matter to me. Think fortitude. And a sense of wry amusement.

How do you view the current crime writing scene? Is there a move towards much more graphic, dark crime writing like Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham and yourself?

Wisely or otherwise, I don’t actually read much crime fiction. Getting into this genre was Orion’s idea, not mine, and at first the challenge felt incredibly daunting. At that point, I wondered whether a couple of months reading other people’s work might help but in the end I spent the time getting alongside working detectives. This wasn’t easy but in the end I cracked it big time, and along with that kind of immersion came the (I guess inevitable) decision to make the books as authentic as possible. This gives you a problem of two, not least because the bulk of crime fighting (like war) is repetitive and deeply boring. But I sense that a determination to try and conjure on-the-page drama from the minor key – instead of an annual parade of serial killers – has paid off. The books have a growing and incredibly loyal readership, and a condition of their enthusiasm appears to be the grittiness, the realism, that underpins both character and plot. Of course I’ve picked up other books in the field from time to time. I think Dan Fesperman is brilliant – especially his first novel Lie in the Dark – and I admire David Peace for what he’s doing with the genre. I also love the work of Alan Furst. But in other cases I sometimes wonder exactly how much time authors have spent at the coal face. All fiction is an act of trespass. So it pays to find out about the lie of the land.

Did you ever envisage the success you have had so far? What have been the highlight(s) so far?

Success is a strange term. Everything in life is relative and in my business I suspect you’re never really satisfied with your sales figures or the putative size of the readership. The fact that I seem to have made a niche within a niche – see above – makes me very happy, but the actual business of conceiving and writing the books makes me happier still. To steal a phrase from my good friend Campbell Armstrong, every new start is a journey into the unexpected. And not too many jobs offer you that.

Like many characters in crime novels Jo Faraday enjoys music. Do you add your own musical tastes and albums you enjoy into your books? What music could be found on your MP3/CD player now?

Music is important to Joe Faraday, and important to me. Most contemporary stuff leaves me cold. My vinyl collection is full of Dylan, Dory Previn, Nina Simone, John Martin, Van Morrison, but the music that really matters comes from the classical end of the spectrum. I love – not necessarily in this order – Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Mahler, Berlioz, Stravinsky. My favourite movement in most symphonies would be the adagio, and I think certain passages of Thaikovsky and Prokoviev are sublime. So there’s a clue (or two).

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

We travel as much as possible, as often as possible. Writing occupies maybe four months a year, and the rest of the time – when we’re not away – I do oodles of reading, mainly biography and history. Summer, as I said at the start, gives me the chance to get out on the water. I also adore cooking, and we spend a great deal of time hunting down quality stuff for the pot. Nothing beats a hefty six’o’clock gin with the sun in the west and a Thai green curry bubbling on the stove. Even the cat gets excited.

If (and hopefully when!) any of your novels are televised/made into a film who ideally would you like cast as the main characters and why?

I’ve come close on a couple of occasions to a TV adaptation of the Faraday series. I’ve done screenplays on previous books, and watched actors tussle with lives I’ve put on the page. Both experiences, oddly enough, fill me with gloom – chiefly because TV is such a different, and often brutal medium – but also because the choice of actor to play the central character can go so disastrously wrong. I have a very clear idea of who Joe Faraday is. And so far, maybe because we watch so little TV, I can’t think of an actor who would fit.

Do you enjoy the specialist crime conventions/events and which ones do you most look forward to and why?

Sorry to disappoint again but I go to very few crime conventions. While it’s interesting to compare notes I get the sense – certainly in my own case – that writing is necessarily a solitary business, and it helps to wall off that bit of your life. On the other hand, I get a lot of invitations to talk to reader groups, library gatherings, and some of the bigger writing conferences and I enjoy those a great deal. Favourite? The Southern Writer’s Conference at Winchester. Barbara Large, who conceived and grew it, is a star.

Do you plan to stick with Faraday as a charcter in your future books for now or are you tempted to write a novel away from Faraday and the Portsmouth area? For someone going to visist Portsmouth what areas would you recommend as a ‘must see’?

Interesting question. At the current sales level, according to my publisher, he’s certainly worth another three books. The longer I live with these characters – not just Joe – the more I understand them. And the more I understand them, the more committed the writing becomes. Just now, I’d find it hard to live without the beckoning finger of the next book, so I have every interest in Joe’s survival. Any writer’s dream is a bigger and bigger readership, and I obviously hope that happens, but in my guts I think the books have something important to say about the way we live, and for that reason alone I’m happy to stick fictionally to Portsmouth. It’s an extraordinary city for the working novelist. Would it offer other fictional opportunities? Undoubtedly.

Message to my readers…

God bless you.

Yours…..
……Graham Hurley.

Interview with MARK BILLINGHAM


Mark Billingham is a very accomplished crime writer and one who certainly mines the dark side of the human psyche. His new book ‘Lifeless’ is just published and this , along with ‘Sleepyhead’ are a good introduction to his work.

More at –
http://www.markbillingham.com

1. What are you currently up to?

I’m just finishing off my next novel which is called BURIED and will be out next year. Then I have some odd projects to work on for a while including a sitcom and maybe even a kids book. Then I have to get to work on the next Thorne novel which is starting to take shape in my head. It may not finish up that way of course….

2. You new book, ‘Lifeless’ gives a very in depth view of London’s homeless as the book’s main backdrop. How did you resercah this and do you use your books to get personal mesages across to readers and.or highlight issues?

I’m not issue-led. I think that’s the kiss of death to a good story which is basically what I’m trying to write. There WERE certain things I was keen to get across though so yes, I had to do a fair bit of research. I worked with a brilliant organisation called Connection at St martin’s who took me out on overnight outreach shifts and so on. I got to see the hidden side of that world which most of us never see. It was a real eye-opener and I wanted to put some of that across in the book.

3. How do you view the current crime writing scene? Is there a move towards much more graphic, dark crime writing like John Connor, Ian Rankin and yourself?

Yes, the stuff is getting darker but only as a reflection of the world we live in. It’s not conscious I don’t think.

4. Did you ever envisage the success you have had so far? What have been the highlight(s) so far?

Winning the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for crime novel of the year a few weeks back was a definite highlight. It’s an award which is voted for by readers so that’s a really nice thing to win. The fact that the books are getting this sort of reward as well as doing well in the charts is really more than I ever dreamt of. That…and getting to hang out with writers who up toa few years ago were heroes. That’s a major buzz/

5. Like many characters in crime novels Thorne enjoys music. Do you add your own musical tastes and albums you enjoy into your books?

Oh for sure. I can’t be arsed researching EVERYTHING, so if Thorne is at home listening to music or in the car or whatever, chances are he’s listening to whatever I’m listening to. His tastes in country music were a bit conservative to start with but I’m getting him into the alt.country end of the spectrum more and more.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Reading mostly, but sadly I don’t have as much time as I used to. Going to the movies when I can and playing poker.

7. If (and hopefully when!) any of your novels are televised/made into a film who ideally would you like cast as the main characters and why?

I would love an actor called David Morrissey to play Thorne, and I also have a vision of Eddie Izzard or Bill Bailey as Phil Hendricks,. Why I’m thinking of comedians O really don;t know…

8. Do you enjoy the specialist crime conventions/events and which ones do you most look forward to and why?

Yes, they’re great. I’m off to Bouchercon (the world mystery convention) in Chicago next week and I can’t wait. It’s a chance to catch up with old mates and drink a lot and talk about crime fiction. What more do you want. The festival at Harrogate every year has become my favourite and next year I’m lucky enough to be programming it myself. Basically I just asked all my friends. It should be great…

9. What made you want to go from a stand up comedian into a full time writer? And was crime writing always your first choice or is this how your writing developed oncce you started writing?

It was accidental really. I’ve always written and I’ve always loved crime fiction but it seemed such a long way away from comedy which seemed to be what I was destined to spend the rest of my life doing. Then I realised that it wasn’t such a big jump. It’s all about using words to create effect. The punchlines in the books are just darker, that’s all. Now I can’t envisage writing anything other than crime fiction. There is a certain amount of snobbery but I don’t care. I’m proud to be a crime writer.

10. Message to your readers…

Thanks to all those who’ve supported me and bought the books from the beginning. I hope you continue to enjoy the Tom Thorne books. I can promise that Tom will go in some interesting directions…

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