I was about 12 years old and still at school. I was hopeless at everything at school other than English, and I suppose that’s why I concentrated on writing. Unlike the other kids in my year, I enjoyed turning out essays.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Due out in September 2013, it’s the ninth in a series of light-hearted, traditional British whodunits, with sleuth Joe Murray and his two closest friends, Sheila Riley and Brenda Jump.
Most of them are set in various locations around England, but for this one I’ve travelled to Torremolinos in southern Spain. My wife and I had a holiday there at the beginning of the year, and I found it such a relaxing place.
In this book Joe has suffered a suspected heart attack and the girls are taking hi there for a little R&R. His breathing is poor and he has to stop smoking. It’s no coincidence that I suffered a suspected heart attack three years ago, and I suffer from COPD, which meant I had to give up smoking and take more exercise.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It’s watching the story unfold. I don’t start with a detailed plan. I have only a rough outline. working from there, it's amazing how the story unfolds, how the logical pieces slot into place. At some point, the characters take over, and I never cease to be astonished when the person I thought had done it, hadn’t. It was someone else and usually for a different reason.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are vital, especially when building a brand like the STAC Mysteries. You have to keep them happy by producing quality work quite quickly. But it’s worth it because when I see reviews from someone who’s been following the series from the start, I know I’ve achieved what I set out to do.
What are you working on next?
The tenth STAC Mystery, which will be out in time for Christmas. For that one, we’re coming back to chilly old England, and goings on at a factory Christmas party. As usual, it will tax Joe’s intellect and nothing will be quite what it seems.
Who are your favorite authors?
Agatha Christie, Lesley Cookman, Keith Waterhouse, Tom Sharpe and Stephen King.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I’ve come close to death on three separate occasions in my life, once in a traffic accident, twice due to deteriorating health. It’s as close I want to come for a good few years yet, but it means I look forward to getting out of bed for the sheer joy of living.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I read, naturally, I travel a fair bit, although not as far or often as I used to, and I rap with friends on sites like Facebook and Twitter. I have a one-megaton sense of humour, and I love the socialising, even if it does get a bit crazy at times.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I look for them in my own genre. Beyond that, I keep an eye out for new releases from authors I know, and I also take on board recommendations from friends.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I do. I was about 12 years old, it was a full length novel about 5,000 words long and it was a blatant rip off of Ian Fleming’s Moonraker. But, hey, I did it.
What is your writing process?
I hit the keyboard running early every morning and I keep typing until I run out of either steam or ideas. I keep two projects on the go at all times. If I get bored with one, I can switch to the other. I rarely take a day off, and the moment one book is complete, I start work on the next. I’ve often said if an employer tried to make me work the way I do, I’d haul them before a tribunal.
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