Monday, 27 May 2013

Lee Child Interview

This week I'm delighted to share a recent short interview I did with Lee Child.

1) You have just been awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger for your contribution to crime fiction. How did it feel to be honoured in this way and how do you feel joining such icons of the genre who have previously won this award?

I assumed they had confused me with someone else, or maybe all the other candidates had died. It’s a very prestigious award and a huge honour, and I’m not worthy of it. I’m just a hack and a scuffler, and to be compared to the previous winners is absurd. They’re my heroes, and occasionally to be in the same room as them is a thrill. To be on the same award list as them is amazing.

2) Being upfront and honest from the start, I should say that I haven’t yet got to see Jack Reacher, despite having read ‘One Shot’ years ago and all of your books as they came out. My reticence in this respect is because I’m a reader not a viewer. From the feedback you’ve had do you find that readers have gone to see it because of their following of Reacher or that they have been readers like me who have not yet put a book down long enough to watch a film? (I should say at this point that the casting of Tom Cruise did not affect my decision in any way as the Jack Reacher in my head looks nothing like any actor I’ve seen).

Anecdotally I think readers are basically fans of storytelling, so most of them like movies too, especially those movies that set out simply to tell a good story, which I think “Jack Reacher” does. Some Reacher fans stayed away, because they wanted to retain their personal vision, but most went and most of them liked it.

3) Your background in TV is well documented. Your own journey saw you fired from Granada TV and yet you end up with one of Hollywood’s top A listers starring in a film based on one of your books. Would you describe the premiere of Jack Reacher as the highpoint of your writing career and how did it feel to have that experience?

Well, my attitude is that books are books, and movies are movies – in other words, they’re parallel events, not sequential. So as a writer, no, the highlight would be my first number one, or maybe a year like 2008 when I was number one in hardcover and paperback in the US and the UK, or 2011, when the four number ones were simultaneous. That’s cool. The London premiere was fabulous and glamorous for sure, but it was the movie people’s night, not mine.

4) I’ve read articles on the Worldwide Web of Lies which said there won’t be a Jack Reacher sequel. Can you tell us the truth, will there be a sequel and if so which book is it based on?

The truth is … we don’t know. The movie was extremely profitable, so numbers-wise the incentive is there, but there are hundreds of moving parts, and anything can happen. My personal guess is yes, there will be a sequel – certainly the “no sequel” report was wrong and misquoted. Which book? Probably one of the rural, back-of-beyond stories, to contrast with the urban feel of the first one.

5) Coming back to the books, in ‘A Wanted Man’ and ‘Worth Dying For’, Reacher for once had a destination. ‘Never Go Back’ is released later this year. Will Reacher make his planned rendezvous or are there more obstacles in his way?

Yes, Reacher finally gets there. But – no surprise - he finds big problems waiting for him.

6) What are you currently working on and what else does 2013 hold in store for Lee Child and Jack Reacher?

Right now I’m co-writing a TV pilot with my daughter, which is a total delight. In September I’ll start the 19th Reacher book – assuming I’m offered a new contract. I never take anything for granted.

My thanks to Lee for answering my questions and Chris Simmons at for arranging the interview and allowing me to share it here.

Still to come - David Thomas / Tom Cain.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Future of Reading

An awful lot has been written about the future of reading and I thought it was about time I had my say.

With mobile phones, eReaders and audio books competing with traditional paper books there has been an awful lot, both spoken and written about the demise of the book. Can I just point out that it’s all bullshit. Readers read. End of argument. Sure the delivery platform may change but the desire to read a good story doesn’t.

I’m going to hold up my own son Daniel as an example. He reads every day. Sometimes he’s been known to lay down his Nintendo or Wii and pick up a book. His best friend is also a reader. They swap books with each other on an almost daily basis. I’ve overheard them discussing books on more than one occasion. Daniel received two books from Father Christmas. He’d finished them by the time we’d travelled the hour and a half journey to my mother-in-laws.

Once when we were in the supermarket Daniel wanted me to buy him an ice-cream and some books. I gave him the £4 change in my pocket so he could get what he wanted. Not having enough for both he bought the book.

Sure, he’s grown up watching my wife and I read, but I grew up with my parents reading infrequently, and I have had a book on the go since the age of eight. Daniel is now eight and he reads just as much as I do, has reader friends as I do and as he has grown older his love of reading has grown, as mine has.

So there you have it. As long as there’s young readers there will always be a demand for books. Personally I don’t care what platform my son chooses to read on. I’m just a proud father watching a child expand their mind.

P.S. It’s just a shame he’s gonna have to wait a few years before he can read any of my stories. I might have to write something without violence or sweary words just for him to read.

In other news Crime and Publishment is set to return in 2014 and is promising to be a fantastic weekend of crime writing courses. We’ve been lucky enough to attract such stellar names as Chris Ewan, Zoe Sharp and Michael Malone as tutors. Darren Laws of Caffeine Nights will be teaching attendees how to pitch to a publisher and will also be accepting pitches.

More information on Crime and Publishment can be found here.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Journalism to Authordom. A well worn path travelled anew.

My guest post this week is from Matt Bendoris - a journalist, who like many others before him - turned his hand to novel writing. Here's what Matt has to say about how his day job has helped his new ambitions.  

I honestly don’t believe I could have written a crime novel without becoming a journalist first.
Why? I’ve actually met and interviewed the bad guys I’m writing about. I have had to quiz a former terrorist leader while his bodyguard sat menacingly nearby.
And I have spent countless hours in the company of Archie ‘Mad Dog’ McCafferty – convicted for four murders in Australia.
Archie once even called me during the middle of a police siege (he was ‘allegedly’ holding family members hostage). I even got to the dubious privileged of hearing him being over-powered by the long arm of the law while on the phone. (Fortunately no one was hurt in the incident!)
The flip side of the coin is I’ve also interviewed First Ministers and the Prime Minister where it’s like a scene straight out of The Thick Of It.
And I’ve witnessed the growing influence of the PRs and agents in the candy floss world of showbiz, where they can make you believe a nasty piece of work is actually a lovely, caring person.
It’s those journalistic experiences that money simply cannot buy.
So I doth my cap to the hundreds of other crime novelists who come from various other backgrounds to write best-sellers.
But I couldn’t have written my book without my nearly quarter of a century working on newspapers in Scotland and London.
Matt Bendoris has been a journalist for 24 years.
He started as a pop columnist for the Glasgow Guardian, before working as a feature writer for The Scottish Sun, followed by The Sun in London (where a once youthful Matt was hired by a once youthful Piers Morgan), The Daily Record and The Mirror in London (when he was hired for a second time by Piers Morgan who was clearly suffering from amnesia).
Matt returned to the Scottish Sun in 1996, where he is currently Chief Feature Writer.
In 2004 he released his first book, a ghost written autobiography of TV stars The Krankies called Fan-Dabi-Dozi, on Blake Publishing. This contained the ground breaking exclusive that the duo had once been wife swappers, which suddenly became a Twitter sensation in 2011 - sadly far too late to help with the book's sales.
While in 2005 he wrote the autobiography Simply Devine for Scottish singer Sydney Devine, on Black& White Publishing, with every national newspaper in Scotland running stories on its more salacious content!
But when Matt’s work relocated to Glasgow city centre in 2007 he began writing his debut crime novel Killing With Confidence on his BlackBerry, which is released in March 2013.
This year will also see the publication of his second crime novel, The Ned Detective, which he co-wrote in a mad, seven week frenzy during 2012.
My thanks to Matt for the post. I've been lucky enough to read Killing With Confidence and can honestly recommend it.
Next week it'll be a post from me and then the week after I'll be posting my interview with Lee Child.
July will see a guest post from Tom Cain and his alter ego David Thomas.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Research on Prostitution

This week, I have a very enlightening post from Ruth Jacobs on researching a very difficult topic.

Research on Prostitution

In the late 1990s, I undertook a dissertation on prostitution. I had been studying criminology, and within that, I was examining female criminal activity, and noticed the lack of females in certain types of crime and their prevalence in prostitution, which in most societies is not a crime, but classed as ‘deviant’ behaviour in sociological terms. I knew the importance of firsthand accounts when undertaking such a project and, being somewhat wayward and spending time in London’s underworld, I had friends who worked as call girls.

Three of my friends generously agreed to be interviewed. And one of those video interviews, which was fully transcribed in 1998, was published on Amazon in 2012. That interview was with a woman referred to as Q. She was one of my closest friends at that time in my life. As she is no longer alive, all the royalties from that short publication, In Her Own Words... Interview with a London Call Girl, are donated to Beyond the Streets, a charity working to end sexual exploitation.

Because Q and I were so close, I am sure that is what enabled her to be completely open in her interview with me. She spoke freely and without inhibition about her feelings on all aspects of her life in prostitution, from working as a call girl, as she was at that time, back to the days she first entered prostitution at fifteen years of age, forced by a pimp to work the streets. She said how she felt raped by those clients. But those men were not clients. Children do not have clients. Those men were child rapists. And daily, she was raped.

The other two women I interviewed, referred to as R and S, were also good friends of mine, but we were not as close as Q and I were. I knew much about their lives already, having spent a great deal of time with them as friends. One of them used to smoke crack with her clients in a room in her flat while her baby was asleep in the other room. She ended up losing custody of her child. But both R and S were guarded in their interviews. And because I knew them, it was painfully clear they putting on as much of a front as they could muster. The missing information wasn’t mentioned in my dissertation because it was only right to use the words they had shared during their interviews. It would also not have been right to ask leading questions, and the semi-structured interviews were led by what the women were comfortable with sharing.

Having tried for many years to escape my own reality and past trauma, I identified with R and S for their need to hold back, not to face the pain, and even more so in the setting of an interview, rather than us sitting round smoking crack. My dear friend Q, who is longer alive, gave everything she could in her interview. And if you read In Her Own Words... Interview with a London Call, though you will see Q’s pain and torment, there was also far more she had suffered in life than what was disclosed in that interview. She was an angel. The most beautiful soul. And Soul Destruction: Unforgivable is dedicated her.

Soul Destruction: Unforgivable

Enter the bleak existence of a call girl haunted by the atrocities of her childhood. In the spring of 1997, Shelley Hansard is a drug addict with a heroin habit and crack psychosis. Her desirability as a top London call girl is waning.

When her client dies in a suite at The Lanesborough Hotel, Shelley’s complex double-life is blasted deeper into chaos. In her psychotic state, the skills required to keep up her multiple personas are weakening. Amidst her few friends, and what remains of her broken family, she struggles to maintain her wall of lies.

During this tumultuous time, she is presented with an opportunity to take revenge on a client who raped her and her friends. But in her unbalanced state of mind, can she stop a serial rapist?

Soul Destruction: Unforgivable was released 29 April 2013. Available worldwide from all major online retailers in paperback and e-book.
Ruth Jacobs writes a series of novels entitled Soul Destruction, which expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. Her debut novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, is released on 29 April 2013 by Caffeine Nights. Ruth studied prostitution in the late 1990s, which sparked her interest in the subject. She draws on her research and the women she interviewed for inspiration. She also has firsthand experience of many of the topics she writes about such as posttraumatic stress disorder, rape, and drug and alcohol addiction. In addition to her fiction writing, Ruth is also involved in non-fiction for her charity and human rights campaigning work in the areas of anti-sexual exploitation and anti-human trafficking.

Further information and contact details:

Soul Destruction website:

Author Website:

Ruth’s Facebook page:

The Soul Destruction Facebook page:

My thanks to Ruth for this excellent and insightful post.

Next week I have Matt Bendoris guest posting and then it's back to my own ramblings, although I have an Interview with Lee Child and a guest post from Tom Cain scheduled in the near future.