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

Newton's Fire

Happy Publication Day to Will Adams, whose fifth novel, Newton’s Fire, is out now. Will was kind enough to share the inspiration behind his new novel in the following piece, sent to us from a remote outpost in the Canary Islands, where he is currently hard at work on his next book…   Back in 2003, a Canadian academic called Stephen Snobelen gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph to promote a new BBC documentary on Sir Isaac Newton. The interview was about a prediction Newton had made, gleaned from his study of the Bible, that the world would come to an end in the year 2060. The story made the Telegraph’s front page, and immediately caused something of a stir. This was Newton, after all, Britain’s most iconic mathematician and scientist. So maybe there was something to it. Other papers and news organisations around the world quickly picked it up, and for a few days Newton’s 2060 prophecy became a global sensation, a hint of Armageddon in the air. But, as is the way of such things, people quickly forgot about it again. Read More

More plaudits for A Foreign Country

After winning the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller this year AND being awarded the Scottish Crime Book of the Year award at Bloody Scotland, we are thrilled to say that Charles Cumming’s A Foreign Country has been selected as the Sunday Times… Read More

The MacBride Short Stories Have Arrived

Today is publication day for Stuart MacBride’s Partners in Crime: Two Logan & Steel Short Stories (‘Stramash’ and ‘DI Steel’s Bad Heir Day’). Perfect to fill in your lunch hour, liven up your commute, or enjoy of an eve over a glass of wine (though a tumbler of whisky might be more appropriate). Last month, Stuart MacBride did a Skype interview with student journalist Alicia Jensen for the Aberdeen University Student Newspaper, The Gaudie. Read on to find out what makes Aberdeen the perfect setting for a murder or three…     If Edinburgh is bipolar; Aberdeen is schizophrenic Stuart MacBride answers questions on why Aberdeen makes such a good setting for a gory murder mystery Why set a murder in Aberdeen? This is the first question in my Skype interview with Stuart MacBride, bestselling author of the Logan McRae series, and Birthdays for the Dead. 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

Exclusive: An Author's Story Behind her Leading Lady

    Before Homeland’s Carrie Mathison, there was Special Agent Ren Bryce of the FBI – created by bestselling author Alex Barclay. Like Carrie, Ren struggles with bi-polar disorder, and in this exclusive post, Alex explains why it was so important to her to create a successful, functioning bi-polar character, who is not the bad guy.   Pole Dancer… 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

Exclusive Q&A with Alex Barclay

Seeing as Alex Barclay’s new Ren Bryce thriller Blood Loss has just been released in the UK, we decided to ask her the questions you’re all dying to know the answers to. So here’s the first of what I hope will be many a Q&A session with our brilliant authors. Keep reading to find out how a working day in the life of Alex plays out, where she gets her ideas from and what she loves to read and watch…   What sparked your interest in crime writing specifically? It was more that I was struck with an idea for an opening scene: a surveillance operation in New York and what, at first, appears to be the successful resolution of a child abduction. It was so vivid to me, it still is, and I just felt compelled to write it. I thought it would be a screenplay, but once I had written it, I knew it would be a novel. I’ve been reading crime ever since I was fourteen, so it was no surprise that I would have criminal intent… Read More

Trick or Treat?

Hello and Happy Halloween from the Killer Reads team. In the spirit of today’s festivities (and also the release of the new Bond movie), my question to the KR team this morning was “Who’s your favourite bad guy?” Read on for their brilliant answers and your chance to win a special treat...   Sarah Hodgson: Blofeld remains the all-time classic supervillain. As well as vast wealth and far-reaching influence, he also has a very cool cat.   Kate Stephenson: Best villain (not sure it’s correct to say my favourite, because I hated this guy with the passion of a thousand suns): Col. Hans Landa as played by Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds. That apple strudel scene with Shosanna – so incredibly unsettling. Actually, just all the scenes with him in them. Such a talented actor. Read More

Autumn Travel Reads – brought to you by the KR team

Hello there, So, it's officially got to that time of year again when we wake up for work and it's dark, and then we get home from work, and guess what...it's dark. So, as there will be many of you out there jetting off for some Autumn sun, or maybe you're going off for a nice traveling session (I've recently spoken to many a soon-to-be intrepid explorer - seems the travel bugs come around again), or even if, like me, you're going to power through the winter months with layers of clothes and mugs of hot chocolate, then fear not I've got a plan that means we can all journey round the world together. Follow this link to our world map of travel Killer Reads. Read the extracts and journey to cities you know and love,  or get lost in towns you've never even heard of. If you are off on your travels this autumn to any of these locations (or any other destinations from your favorite thrillers) then please feel free to send us images from locations mentioned in those thriller books and films to killerreads@harpercollins.co.uk or tag Killer Reads in the photo on facebook so the team can journey all over the world this Autumn as well... Read More