When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I was about 12 years old, and I’d just read ‘And Then There Were None’ by Agatha Christie, and I thought, hmm, I can do that. I began writing short stories soon after, but naturally, I never did anything with them. I only began to take it seriously in my 30s and I was over 50 before I published my first novel.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book. I write full time now, and I can turn out a STAC Mystery (50-80,000 words) in a month, but longer, more detailed work, such as The Handshaker, can take anything up to two years.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Manic. I’m usually up by six, when I spend an hour checking overnight emails, chart positions and sales estimates. I write a blog post if I have one in mind, and then I begin work usually by eight in the morning. I work until 1 p.m. with only the occasional breaks to walk the dog, then take an hour off for lunch. I’m back at it just after two and I usually finish around seven in the evening, again with odd breaks to walk the dog.
How many crime novels have you written?
Hundreds LOL. Mercifully, not all of them have seen the light of day.
As of this moment, I have seven STAC Mysteries published, and the eighth is due next month. I also have one dark thriller, The Handshaker, and the sequel to that is with my publisher. By the time they’re released, it’ll be ten published works.
Which is your favourite and why?
The I-Spy Murders, which is STAC Mystery #2. I hate TV, and I especially hate shows like Big Brother, so it seemed to me to be the perfect setting for a murder. It would be practically impossible with the cameras covering every action, so I had to alter the TV company’s methodology slightly, and I was really pleased with the end result.
Where do you get your ideas?
They’re all around me. Tiny, ordinary events which happen all the time. When something catches my attention, I ask myself, “What if…”
For example: There is a huge supermarket nearby, and I was having breakfast there when I noticed a woman making notes by the DVD displays. She wore an identity badge on a cord around her neck. Nothing strange about that. She was obviously a member of staff.
But what if she wasn’t? What if she was a spy for another supermarket, or what if she was from the DVD producers looking for pirate copies? And what if she turned up murdered later in the day?
Change the giant, nationally known supermarket to a privately owned minimarket, throw in a lover, several red herrings, and you have a murder mystery. All while I’m taking tea and toast in a supermarket café.
Who is your favourite character from your own work and why?
Brenda Jump from the STAC Mysteries. Brenda is a widow and her husband’s early death brought home to her the realisation that life is not forever, in the same way that my younger brother’s early and unexpected death (he was 54) hit me. Brenda is hell bent on enjoying herself. As long as she’s not hurting anyone else, she’ll have a damn good time.
Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why?
In crime fiction or any genre? If any genre, it would be Tom Sharpe’s masterly creation, Henry Wilt. He doesn’t make things happen, they just happen to him.
If, on the other hand, we’re talking crime then it would be Hercule Poirot. This annoying little man never jumps to arbitrary conclusions. He notices everything, and formulates his theories to take account of that everything.
If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why?
A difficult question, but on the whole I think Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Topping of the Greater Manchester Police. He was the officer who reopened the Moors Murders inquiry in 1985, and despite some criticism, as a result of his work, Hindley admitted her part in all five murders. They also recovered the body of Pauline Reade.
What are you working on now?
STAC Mystery 9, which is set in your part of the world, Torremolinos. My wife and I were there in January this year, and I thought it was time Joe had a suspected heart attack and a holiday. Why should I leave him enjoying the sunshine on the Costa del Sol when he could be investigating a murder (or two)?
I’m also working on two new series. Later this year will see Madeleine Chester, a nosy genealogist, make her debut, and the other series will be an attempt to revive British farce with a series of crime based novels featuring Dennis and Danny, a couple of idiots, who win through more by luck than judgement.
Finally, there are plans for a third Croft/Millie novel to follow The Handshaker and its sequel, but I must admit, I haven’t done much work on it.
David Robinson is 63 years young. A former adult education teacher, now a full time novelist, he abides by the principle that if you haven’t grown up by the time you’re 50, you don’t have to. His series of light-hearted whodunits, the STAC Mysteries, have remained in the Amazon UK Kindle, British Detectives chart for the last six months. He lives on the outskirts of Manchester with his wife and a crazy Jack Russell terrier name Joe.
Find David at:
Crooked Cat Books: http://www.crookedcatbooks.com/index.php?route=product/manufacturer/product&manufacturer_id=11
Published by Crooked Cat Books
The STAC Mysteries
The Filey Connection
The I-Spy Murders
A Halloween Homicide
A Murder for Christmas
Murder at the Murder Mystery Weekend
My Deadly Valentine
The Chocolate Egg Murders
Costa del Murder (STAC Mysteries)
The Deep Secret (sequel to The Handshaker)