Guttridge: What is the working title of your next book?
It’s called ‘The Dead’ and it’s the third in the David Blake series. Blake is a white-collar gangster, an anti-hero and the reluctant boss of a Geordie crime firm.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I started out wondering what it must be like to work for a gangster, particularly if you are not a big, scary enforcer type. What if you used your brain not your brawn and left the dirty work to others, because you assumed you’d get all the benefits of a criminal life; money, prestige, women, without any of the down side? Then something goes wrong and you are left in fear of your life. That’s what happens to David Blake.
What genre does your book fall under?
Crime –thriller I suppose. My books have been described as crime fiction or thrillers so I guess they straddle both genres.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
David Blake is back and he’s got problems. Very big problems.
Will you will be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m published by the lovely people at ‘No Exit’, who manage to confound their reputation as gritty, hard boiled crime aficionados by being really very nice indeed. I’m represented by Phil Patterson at Marjacq Literary agency or ‘Agent Phil’ as he is affectionately known by everybody in the business, as he is something of a legend. He’s also a very nice bloke, so I don’t think he really gets this agent lark. They are supposed to be nasty aren’t they?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This one took about nine months but I didn’t do myself any favours. I don’t write chronologically, so I’m always left with the pieces of a very complicated jigsaw that has to be spliced together somehow and I seem to come up with complicated multi-storyline plots. I curse myself for not just having someone murdered then allowing the case to be solved by a maverick detective. It would make life a lot simpler.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I am influenced by classic British gangster films like ‘The Long Good Friday’ and ‘Get Carter’ and American mafia movies like ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Goodfellas’. I wanted to write the kind of book I like to read.
And your commissioning editor?
Ion Mills from No Exit bought the first two David Blake books, ‘The Drop’ and ‘The Dead’ and they proved successful enough for him to ask me for a third. Ion enlisted the help of a great editor, Keshini Naidoo, to work on all three novels. Keshini used to be with Harper Collins but, luckily for me, she is now a freelance. She gave me invaluable help and advice on my earlier books and will doubtless do the same with ‘The Dead’.
What else about your book might pique the readers' interest?
I get a lot of positive feedback on the setting from people who live in or around Newcastle because they love it when I mention a place or a pub they know well. I think Newcastle has an atmosphere all of its own that adds to the books.
For the next in the Next Big Thing interviews, I'm passing my baton on to three excellent writers of crime fiction who you are going to hear a lot more from in 2013:
Nick Quantrill: http://wwwshotsmagcouk.blogspot.co.uk/
Ian Ayris: http://www.ianayris.com/
and Luca Veste: http://lucaveste.com/