Archive

From Police Officer to The Bill

Ever wondered how you make the leap to become a writer? This month sees Paul Finch recall the transition from his days in the Police to his time as a scriptwriter for The Bill in his fourth blog piece for Killer Reads.   The first time I ever put pen to paper to write a serious thriller, it was just after I'd finished serving as an actual police officer. The piece of work in question was a speculative teleplay entitled Knock Off Job. It concerned a murder inside a suburban police station, and presented every member of the shift, both uniform and CID, as potential suspects, none of them knowing who to trust. Now that I look back on it, it was very talkie: lots of tense conversations in dim corridors and cramped offices, lots of frank, fraught interviews, lots of suspicions being cast in every direction. It wouldn't work today simply because modern police stations are filled with CCTV, and the comings and goings of staff and non-staff are more carefully monitored. But the concept was of sufficient interest to the production team at The Bill to make them ask me to come in and see them. I accepted the invitation, and though I didn't realise it at the time, my life changed as a result. Read More

A Christmas list of top rated thriller reads…

I’m always keen to expand my personal ‘Killer Reads’ library with new titles – especially titles I’ve been highly recommended. So, with the Christmas holidays approaching, I thought I’d add some new books to my ‘must-read’ list – and who better to ask for inspiration than one of our Killer crime & thriller writers. This week we’re treating you to the first of two instalments from crime and thriller duo, Voss & Edwards, authors of the unputdownable novels Catch your Death and Killing Cupid. This week Mark Edwards is sharing his five all-time favourite crime novels, so hold off sending your lists to Santa until next week as there will be plenty of brilliant reads for you to boost your Christmas lists with. Read More

Paul Finch: blog spot number 3

This month sees our third blog entry from the incredible Paul Finch. The Former The Bill scriptwriter turned author is back this week with a sneak peek into his life as a journalist, a period in which Paul feels had a huge impact in becoming the author he is today...   People often ask me how it happened that I went from being a policeman to writing police stories. Well, the cross-over is not as straightforward as some may think. While I was in the police, I wrote almost no fiction at all. I had a yearning to write – I’d always written fiction as a youngster, and my father had been a professional author, but whenever the temptation came over me, I used to tell myself that I was too tired, too stressed and too busy obsessing about dreadful incidents in the real world – and for the most part that was probably true. But it’s also the case that I was being sucked into a radically different discipline. I was buried in a world of procedure and legalities, which came to completely dominate my daily thinking. It was near enough impossible to go home at night and put the job, or whatever case you’d been working on, out of your mind. These were serious affairs after all, and people’s lives and liberties might be at stake. This is something I’ve tried to bring into the Mark Heckenburg books in fact; the way police life can consume you. Even your recreation time tends to be spent with other police officers, or at least it often was for me, and usually such R&R consisted of drinking hard and yet again discussing the job. Anything else seemed frivolous. Read More

Your November Read – The City of Shadows by Michael Russell

This week we have a brilliant opportunity for 5 lucky readers to win a copy of Avon's debut novel from author Michael Russell, The City of Shadows.    Michael Russell on writing ‘The City of Shadows’ This book began as a conversation with an Irish film producer about the strange position Ireland had during the Second World War, supposedly neutral but neutral in a very odd way. When German airmen crashed in the Republic they were interned for the duration of the war; when Allied airmen crashed they were given a cup of tea and put on a bus to Belfast. Dublin was not only a city where German and British spies sat across Bewley’s Café from one another and drank together in Grafton Street pubs, it was also a place where the future of Ireland depended as much on the outcome of the war as did the future of the whole of Europe. That conversation brought together many years of writing detective fiction for television and an interest in the events of the thirties and forties that shaped the world we live in now. How did Irish Read More

Paul Finch: Take 2

Former The Bill scriptwriter turned author, Paul Finch, tells us how his time working for the Manchester police force was the starting block for his passion of crime fiction writing. Read Paul's second instalment into the killer reads diary...   There’s no question that my police service gave me an excellent grounding from which to write crime fiction. It’s not just about procedure, you see – it’s an innate understanding of the police officer’s role in society, and more importantly, the role the police may play in his or her life.   Being a cop is not like any other work. You can’t just put it away at the end of your shift. By its very nature, the job can alienate you from everyone you know. It can depress you, frighten you, outrage you. But by the same token it can empower you, and be massively rewarding. Above all though, it’s a weird occupation – where the complexity of experience can truly be stranger than fiction. And this air of the unreal is something I feel honour-bound to try and bring to my crime-writing, particularly in my forthcoming trilogy of cop thrillers from Avon Books.   But where does having actually been a cop leave you as a crime writer? Read More

It’s that time of year again…

This week marks the return of the world famous annual Agatha Christie week. Every September, thousands of Christie fans flock to Torquay to enjoy numerous Christie inspired games, activities and events that take place in and around Devon to celebrate the Queen of Crimes birthday (15th September). Whether it is attending the Vintage Ball, playing some 1920’s pitch-and-putt or indulging in the splendour of the Agatha Christie Theatre Company’s new production of Murder on the Nile, there’s so many ways to get involved and celebrate Agatha’s legacy.   This year’s celebrations kicked off on Sunday the 9th September with the traditional Agatha Christie Fete on Torquay seafront, where stallholders dressed up in their 1920s and ‘30s best, with jazz bands, a Punch and Judy show, and fairground rides. Read More

ALoveAFAIR with Crime

When we asked our beautiful New York based crime writer Alafair Burke, where she gained her passion and experience for all-things-crime we weren't expecting the incredible behind the (crime) scenes story she was about to tell. From childhood to her newest book, Never Tell, the article below uncovers why Alafair is just so good at writing crime:   Where it all began... It all began in Alafair's childhood. Her parents moved the family in the late 1970's from the chaos of a changing southern Florida to a supposedly quiet and provincial neighborhood in Wichita, Kansas. The moving boxes had just been unpacked when Wichita police announced a connection between seven unsolved murders of women and children. The man who claimed responsibility called himself BTK, a gruesome acronym, short for "Bind, Torture, Kill." The Burke's new home fell squarely within the serial killer's stalking territory. Like other children in Wichita in that era, Alafair learned to check the phone lines to make sure they weren't cut, to keep the basement door locked at all times, and to barricade herself in the bathroom with the phone if she had to call 911. Read More

Win a murder tour of Aberdeen…

Here’s Stuart’s plan:‘For a writer, there’s nothing quite like a good excuse to get out of the house, and this one’s perfect. Not only do we all get to raise money for a really important cause, we get to go out and tour Aberdeen, poke our noses into… Read More

Why are women so attracted to crime fiction?

Genevieve is currently working with the Crime and Thriller department for two weeks in order to gain work experience. Look out for another article from her on her experience in our department.     "Crime novels are about life, death, love, loss and broken minds" Alex Barclay   I read a fascinating article in the Irish Examiner about female crime fiction writers and it got me thinking…why are women so attracted to this particular genre?   The presumption is that men, seen as naturally more aggressive, are more inclined to read novels of crime, violence, blood, guts and gore. But it seems as if the opposite is true.   The article, Murder, She Wrote by author and journalist Declan Burke, explores the opinions of four of the leading lights of the current wave of Irish crime writing - Alex Barclay, Arlene Hunt, Niamh O’Connor and Ava McCarthy. All women who prove that the female author is very often deadlier than the male.   One of the explanations given for this gravitation towards the more sinister side of fiction is due to what Barclay sees as “a compulsion to understand” a broken mind; a need to know how the darker side of humanity works. Perhaps the reason for this attraction is that crime fiction gives women an opportunity to explore the psychological motivations of a killer in the safe confines of the pages of a book. Read More

Meg Gardiner talks Jo Beckett

Hear about 'The Liar's Lullaby' from the very person who wrote it, if this doesn't convince you to pick it up - nothing will... (and you'll be seriously missing out if you don't!) Read More