You say on your website that you'd written in other genres before settling on your favourite, crime. What other genres did you write in, and is that something that you'd like to repeat sometime in the future?
Before turning to crime - so to speak - I wrote character driven stories that focused on relationships that intrigued me. I’ve always enjoyed exploring character motivation and try to incorporate as much of this into my crime novels as possible. I wouldn’t rule out another character driven story in the future. I’m often guided by subjects that I’d like to explore so if a subject began to burn inside me I would have to explore it further..
How much of your novels do you outline, and how much do you allow the story to develop on its own while you're writing?
I often start with just a brief outline of the story and start writing. I once planned a novel by chapter. Not even a third of the way I had to abandon the project as I was completely bored as I had left no room for the story to develop. I like to research key subjects before I start the story but I have a notebook beside me as I write for plot development ideas that grow as I write.
You've got a Top 10 list of crime novels you've enjoyed on your website - which other novels would you add to that for anyone interested in writing in the genre and wanting to learn more about the way crime novels are constructed?
Although not crime a book that captivated me was Disclosure by Michael Crichton. This was the only book that has ever caused me to call in sick for work as I simply could not put the book down. I had to re-read it to understand how he had managed to do it. I found that the skill lay in the placement of questions and answers. Before giving me an answer I was desperate for he had already posed another and so on throughout the book. I think this is great construction in any genre.
How do you maintain such a great output of novels? Now that you're writing full-time, what does a typical day look like in your household?
The books have not been written as quickly as they have been published. I started writing the Kim Stone books in 2011 but was rejected by every traditional publisher so when my current publisher (Bookouture) signed me three of the novels were already written. I am now writing to schedule and will be producing a new Kim Stone book every six months. At first I tried to work to a routine as though I was writing as a job and tried set times but this hasn’t worked for me. I wrote for so many years around a full time job that I sometimes start early or write late. If I’m in the zone I try not to interrupt it.
It's often said that minor characters don't know they're minor characters - all your books have a great supporting cast; is there one in particular that you think you'd like to give his/her own story to, if you had time?
I think this is especially true of Detective Sergeant Dawson who doesn’t seem to realise he is a minor character and often has more to say than I originally planned. I would like to give each member of Kim’s team a little more ‘airtime’ as the series progresses.
What's next for you in 2016?
Play Dead is released on 20th May and I am now working on book 5 in the Kim Stone series. Once this is delivered in July I will be straight on to working on book number 6. I am also going to be doing some work on my self-published novels, with the help of Bookouture, to give them appeal to a wider audience. I think that will keep me busy for the rest of the year.
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