Q&A with author Peter James @peterjamesuk #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

Peter James author photo

Your name: Peter James

Tell us about yourself: I was born and brought up in Brighton and I now have homes in Notting Hill in London and near Brighton in Sussex. Before I became a full time novelist I worked in film – both as a producer and screenwriter.

Tell us about your latest book: You Are Dead is about Brighton’s first serial killer in 80 years – which presents a totally new challenge for Roy Grace as there is no past experience in the county to call on. In this instance the serial killer is targeting women of a certain appearance and age – as many real life serial killers have done so in the past.

When did you start writing? I wrote my first novel when I was 18. I had written three novels in total by the time I was 22 – luckily none of them have been published but they got me an agent!

Where do you write? I write in my office in Sussex and my flat in London. Over the years I’ve learnt to write anywhere – in the back of taxis, hotel rooms even on an aeroplane. In fact I finished my last novel on a plane to Singapore!

Which other authors do you admire? My favourite author is Graham Greene. He is the writer who made me want to write. I read Brighton Rock when I was 14. When I’d put it down I thought: I want to write a crime thriller set in Brighton which is 10% as good as this.  I’m also a big fan of Patricia Highsmith – I’m actually on a panel discussing her work at the Harrogate Crime Festival this year. In terms of modern writers I’d say Michael Connelly because I’m a stickler for research and Michael, who used to be a court reporter, always gets his research right.  

Book you wished you’d written? Brighton Rock. And Silence of the Lambs.  Both, in their own ways, changed the crime novel.   Brighton Rock because it broke all the UK traditions of a dead body in the first chapter, and Silence Of The Lambs which broke the tradition of good versus evil by introducing the element of bad versus evil…

Greatest fictional criminal mastermind: Gary Soneji, in the early James Patterson novels is the most evil and cleverest of all fictional characters. He’s a brilliant creation.

Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: For my latest book I did a lot of research into serial killers and the most intriguing, to me, is Ted Bundy. He worked as a lawyer for the Republican Party, he was charismatic, good looking, highly intelligent and he killed 106 female colleague students. Even when he was in the dock, a female witness got confused and mistook him as the defence attorney.

Greatest fictional detective: Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle invented modern forensics and placed the modern detective on the literary map.

What scares you? I am claustrophobic. For the first Roy Grace novel, Dead Simple – the play of which is currently on tour – a central character is buried alive in a coffin after a Stag Night party goes horribly wrong. Part of my research method involves fully experiencing what my characters will – short of actually dying! For Dead Simple I went into a funeral parlour and asked them to put me in a coffin for half an hour and screw the lid down so I couldn’t get out. It was a family run place and they left their doddery old grandpa to take the top off. Being in that coffin was like a worst nightmare come true and I started to worry that this old man wouldn’t drop down dead before he could let me out.

Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? Yes. I often think that, knowing what I know, I could commit the perfect murder. I don’t think I ever would commit murder because I couldn’t live with my conscience,  but I also I believe everyone has a darker side. When I’m planning the killing of a story I have to put myself in the mind of the murderer and try to justify their actions to themselves – which is dark area to explore. During my research I’ve met several murderers and mass murderers, in and out of jail, an experience which is both intriguing and scary. I recently met Paul Teed who murdered his father, stepmother and 10 year old stepbrother in Brighton in 1985, after he was released. What fascinates crime readers and writers is examining the different between us and that human being capable of killing another.

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE

Do you listen to music when you write? Yes in the evenings. I do my best writing between 6 and 10pm when I sit down with a stiff drink and some music. I begin listening to modern music – The Kinks, Van Morrison – and then move on to classical music –opera- as the evening progresses.

Are you on social media? Yes. You can follow me at @peterjamesuk. I’m also on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/peterjames.roygrace

How can fans connect with you? Twitter. Facebook. They can look at my website www.peterjames.com. They can also subscribe to my newsletter – also found on my website.

Q&A with author Bonnie MacBird @macbird #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

Bonnie Macbird

Your name: Bonnie MacBird

Tell us about yourself: Born in San Francisco at a time when women wore gloves and hats to the city, and the world was giddily optimistic with peacetime and television and space travel.  I fell in love with Sherlock Holmes at age ten and read the entire canon. In fourth grade, we were asked to write a short story and something in mine alarmed the principal.  She summoned my mother, an artist with a sense of humour, to her office.  The next day, I brought in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and showed my teacher that “ejaculate” did not mean what she’d thought. To this day I love Sherlock Holmes, mysteries, and a good laugh.  I have degrees in music and film from Stanford and I’ve spent years in Hollywood as a story editor, screenwriter (TRON among others), playwright, producer (three Emmys for documentary work) and classical theatre actor.  I live in Los Angeles where I write, direct plays, run a Sherlock Holmes Meetup, and teach screenwriting at UCLA Extension.  But I spend as many months of the year as I can in London, the city of my heart.

Tell us about your latest book: ART IN THE BLOOD A Sherlock Holmes Adventure is a Conan Doyle-style Victorian adventure set in 1888 when Holmes and Watson were young, in their thirties.  A beautiful French singer’s son has disappeared and her own life threatened.  At the same time, a priceless Nike statue has disappeared in a violent, bloody theft.  All the clues point to a single, untouchable man.  Sherlock Holmes must deal with his addictions as well as a rival detective, as he and Watson travel from London to Paris to the snowy wilds of Lancashire in a case which tests Holmes’ artistic nature and his friendship with Watson to the limits.

When did you start writing? I wrote stories and plays since childhood, then after university, my first career job was story editor at Universal Studios for feature films.  Sold my first script which became the movie Tron, and in doing so was the first writer to ever compose a script on a computer (the Alto at Xerox Parc!)  then sold several other screenplays, then wrote two musicals and seven plays.  I started writing ART IN THE BLOOD after recovering from a life threatening illness. I said to myself, hey, you dodged a bullet!  What do you really want to do?  The answer came: Write a novel and spend some time in the company of Mr. Sherlock Holmes.  I sat down and did a first draft in 30 days by doing a private NaNoWriMo.  Then rewrote, researched, rewrote some more and ART IN THE BLOOD is the result.

Where do you write? At home, in restaurants, at hotels, and at libraries.  I can write anywhere.  I rewrote my final draft of ART IN THE BLOOD in a hotel room overlooking Baker Street in London.  My favourite place to write is The British Library – in the atrium, with the tower of the King’s Library ten feet away, and a good pastry in hand.  I feel like I am at the centre of the civilized world– with chocolate.

Which other authors do you admire?­­­­ Arthur Conan Doyle above all other mystery/adventure writers, but also Robert Parker, Jo Nesbo, Steig Larsson, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Wilkie Collins, P.D. James, Michael Connolly, Lisa Scottoline, Robert Crais, Dennis Lehane, Ian Rankin, M.C. Beaton, Sue Grafton, Thomas Harris, Len Deighton, Gyles Brandreth, Lisa Scottoline, Agatha Christie, and in other realms Dickens, George Eliot, Jules Verne, J.R. Tolkien, George Orwell, Robert Heinlein, Aldous Huxley, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Dorothy Parker, P.G. Wodehouse, Woody Allen, Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, William Goldman,  Shakespeare, Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde,  Jessica Swale, Alan Bennett, Terence Rattigan, Julian Barnes, Richard Feynman, Michael Dirda, Betty Edwards, Steven Pinker, and Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi…and this is the tip of the iceberg. 

Book you wished you’d written? The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Princess Bride, I can’t just say one.  Even three was hard.

Greatest fictional criminal: Hannibal Lecter, hands down.  I love smart characters.  And…“When a doctor does go wrong, he is the first of criminals.  He has nerve, and he has knowledge,” said Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Speckled Band.

Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: Eugène Vidocq intrigues me.  He was a conflicted genius, and waffled between being on the side of the angels (he founded the Sûreté and instituted some of the forensic techniques that are still used today) but he was also a thief, forger and murderer.  A very complicated genius with a steak of violence, ambiguous morals, and more than a touch of the con artist in him.

What scares you? The things that scare Sherlock Holmes, which is one of many reasons I love him.  Those things are more on the mental, rather than the physical plane. In my real life, I have jumped onto a moving train, met a gorilla close up, punched a peeping Tom… and do public speaking regularly.  But I greatly fear boredom, of not being challenged, of not having a way to practice my art, of being locked up, constrained, or limited.

Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? No. My imagination is my biggest gift and I am never unaware of the division between the real and the imagined. We all have a dark side.  I like putting mine into my art and then having my inner detective bring this clever fiend to justice.  It’s very satisfying. Bwa ha ha.

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE: 

 Do you listen to music when you write? No, it distracts me. But I listen to movie soundtracks while I run first thing in the morning to get pumped for writing.  I sometimes unwind with Baroque instrumental music, and dance embarrassingly to classic rock and roll when I need a boost. What I do use when I write is a timer.  I write for short, intense sessions broken up by timed, short rest breaks. That’s apparently the way the British army managed to cover miles and miles without fatigue.   

Are you on social media? Yes, FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, and I blog as The Professional Enthusiast.

How can fans connect with you? Start with my website www.macbird.com Comment on my blog, email me directly, or follow me on Twitter: @macbird. I am delighted to interact with fans.

The Weapons of Tuesday #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

When deciding on what weapons would suit Tuesday I had to think carefully. I wanted them to be cool, stylish and completely unavailable. The last thing I wanted was to get a phone call about some copycat murder.

I pull the 1934 Russian PB 9mm silenced pistol from my thigh holster and point it at the top of the escalator, feeling very Resident Evil.

tuesday pistol

 

Beautiful, aren’t they? The PB (Pistolet BesshumnyJ) was not actually developed until 1967, and was based on the earlier Makarov PM Pistol.

I liked the look of it so much that I transported the make date back a few years and put it in the hands of Tuesday. It has a two part detachable silencer and can fire 8 rounds. Lovely!

 

I shoot Mr Hood-down through the right eye. His right, not mine. There’s no sound because I’m using a crossbow pistol. The bolt leaves the mechanism at a million miles an hour then buries itself in Hood-down’s brain. Or what passed as his brain.

tuesday's crossbow pistol

This particular version, as used outside Candy’s drug-club, was made by Frederic Siber In the early 19th century. It is currently on display at Morges Military Museum. Because of its rarity I felt on much safer ground, and did not feel the need to change its date of construction.

 

Danny’s not doing a whole lot right now, except maybe twitching a bit. I take out the flare gun and shoot the other two in the face.

tuesday flare gun

1941 Dated German Luftwaffe Double Signal Pistol – Flieger Leuchtpistole by Krieghoff, Suhl.

This one I particularly like. Sub-zero cool cross between Dirty Harry and some alternative steampunk gig. You can imagine it round the back of the club, muffled bass vibrating the air, the magnesium light from the flares whiting out the walls and fire-flowering the two gang-boys.

 

Have a nice day, boys. I open up the satchel and pull out two curved scythes. I stand up and walk towards them. Swish swash. It doesn’t take long. It never takes long .

SONY DSC

Ah, the hand scythes. The tube. The stuttering emergency lights and the screaming. The blood splatters muraling the walls. This example is from 1910 and is Laotian Nep, Burmese or Northern Thai.

Whatever, it’s a horror show waiting to happen.

Hope you have found this interesting.

Tuesday Falling is a ripped-up, absolute zero cool London based crime novel that simply doesn’t believe in sleep.

Available from Killer Reads now.

Blog post by S. Williams

www.tuesdayfalling.com

Latest book: Tuesday Falling