We were lucky enough to get up close and personal with Neil White, the author of the chilling Cold Kill. If there are any questions we haven’t thought of then get in touch and let us know what you want to know about Neil!
1. If you were stranded on a desert island, which book would you take with you?
Although To Kill A Mockingbird first came to mind, because it is the only book I have wanted to start reading again as soon as I’d finished it, I would choose Shoeless Joe by WP Kinsella. It’s a whimsical tale of unfulfilled dreams set in Iowa, although the film adaptation is probably better known, Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner.
2. Where does your inspiration come from?
If you mean my inspiration to write, it comes from other great books. When I read a really good book, I just think that I would love to write a book as good as that. If you mean for my plots, it just comes from real life. It’s a real tragedy that there are so many people willing to do horrific things to other human beings, but I am intrigued by their motivations, their thought processes, and how they can live with their guilt.
3. Have you always wanted to become a writer?
As an adult, yes, and I remember saying during my law degree years that the law would be what I would do until I could be a writer, so it was always an ambition. It was only after I left college and went to work that I decided to give it a try. My goal was to write a book that I would want to read, and as I enjoy reading pacey crime fiction, I was always going to try writing a thriller.
4. What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I worked once in a packing factory, and my job was to bash the tops onto washing-up liquid bottles. I had a wooden mallet, and the person opposite would put the tops in the bottle, and I would bash them, bang, bang, bang, bang. All night. If we wanted some variety, he would have the mallet and I would put them in.
I was once a security guard on Bridlington sea-front, guarding the waltzers and dodgems at night. I lasted just four nights, when I realised that I wasn’t cut out for security work. Two couples bounded onto the waltzer in the dead of night (I was huddled in one of the cars, trying to keep warm), and my efforts to challenge them ended with the four of them sitting in one of the waltzer cars I was guarding, rolling cannabis joints, as I held my torch over them so that they could see what they were doing.
5. When you’re not writing, what are your favourite things to do?
Apart from spending time with my family, I have three boisterous boys, I enjoy reading books and watching films. I am a big rugby league fan, and a season ticket holder at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, and so I spend a lot of time watching rugby league.
6. What is a typical working day like for you? Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, how did you cope with it?
I try and produce a certain number of words a day, because that helps me to move the plot forward. If I get stuck on the plot, I go back to the beginning and rewrite, because I find that by the time I get to where I had got stuck, a reminder of what I’d done before helps me unblock the jam. If I ever feel that I just don’t know what to write, I have a night off and watch a film. Sometimes you just have to take yourself away for a while.
7. Do you have any secret ambitions?
My secret ambition is to see more of the world. I have always said that I want to see rugby league in Australia, and one day I’ll manage that, but there are so many great places to see, and so little time to see it.
8. What can’t you live without?
If I assume that good health and family is a given, chocolate and alcohol would be high up the list, along with television and sport. I know that makes me sound like a lazy couch potato, but if it’s confession time, you might as well have the truth.
9. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a policeman when I was a child. I have always loved the criminal law, and as a child it was programmes like Crown Court and Petrocelli that I seemed to enjoy the most. Even when I was studying, as my friends considered high-flying commercial careers, I imagined myself in a police station.
10. Which five people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
Johnny Cash, and I would insist he brought his guitar.
Muhammad Ali, just so that I could tell him how much he captivated me as a child.
Enid Blyton, to say thank you for the Famous Five.
Richard Harris, just in case things weren’t lively enough.
Sharon Stone. Well, it is my party.