Q&A with author Ian Sansom @ian_sansom #killerfest15

Ian Sansom Death in Devon

Your (author) name: Ian Sansom. Which is not only my (author) name. It’s my actual name.

Tell us about yourself: Must I? Why? What would you like to know? Honestly, there’s not much to tell. Birth. School. Work. The usual.

Tell us about your latest book: Oh yes, that’s fine. I can do that. My latest book is Death in Devon. It’s the second book in my new series of novels, The County Guides. Each book in the series is set in a different county in England in the 1930s. The ‘People’s Professor’, Swanton Morley, his daughter Miriam, and his assistant Stephen Sefton arrive in a county to write a guide book and then they discover that someone has been killed. In Death in Devon a young boy has died in mysterious circumstances. Is it an accident? Or could it be … murder?

When did you start writing? I started writing fiction seriously in my early 20s, which was a while ago now. It’s just a habit, I suppose. Very difficult to stop, once you’ve started.

Where do you write? Wherever I happen to be, though I find there’s a corner of Birmingham airport that I find particularly conducive to writing. I can’t tell you exactly which corner it is, though, in case you go and take my seat. The best place to write would be … nowhere, somewhere away from everything and everyone. Airports are good. Motorway service stations. Coffee shops in garden centres. Non-spaces. I’m from Essex. I like non-spaces.

Which other authors do you admire? It would probably be easier to say which authors I don’t admire. At my age the list of debts and enthusiasms starts to get very long.

Book you wished you’d written? The Bible. I’d change a few bits.

Greatest fictional criminal: Satan in Paradise Lost.

Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: Satan, for paradise lost.

What scares you? Time.

Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? Yes, of course. When daydreams become nightmares. Marshalling and controlling one’s own imagination is surely one of the signs of becoming a fully functioning adult?

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE. EVERYONE? As in, like, EVERYONE? I don’t think I’d recommend any books to EVERYONE. If I was recommending a book to you, though, right now, I’d maybe recommend The Hunter by Richard Stark, The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith and Great Expectations by Dickens. Are they crime novels, though? Maybe not. They’re certainly books with crimes in them. Does that count?

Do you listen to music when you write? My music – my choice of music – or other people’s music? I’ve tried listening to my own music while I write but I find it far too stimulating. Charles Mingus? You can’t really write to that, can you. But other people’s music – I end up listening to other people’s music all the time. At this very moment my eldest son is playing something very loud upstairs. [LISTENS.] Aphex Twin. I’m more of a Janáček man myself.

Are you on social media? Sometimes.

How can fans connect with you? Why on earth would they want to connect with me? I’d suggest that first they connect with themselves.

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