When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
Probably when I realised I wasn’t so good at/didn’t really care about anything else. I’m perfectly okay at a lot of things, but writing is something that I’ve always had a lot of fun with. I think the first notable writing memory I have is from around six or seven years of age. I wrote a story about a boy who throws a brick through his window and ends up giving his dad memory loss. It seems I’ve always been in touch with the darker side of fiction...
How long does it take you to write a book?
First drafts don’t take me long at all. I can finish the first draft of a novel in the space of a month. Of course, I spend another couple of months editing, so once the process is done with, I’m probably at a four-monthly rate, which is still pretty rapid. The key is consistency -- I like to try and write 5,000 words every day. I’m a pretty fast writer, so that’s perfectly achievable, but it’s important to find what we’re comfortable with and not force anything.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I just finished university and I’m fortunate enough to be writing full-time right now, so I suppose my work schedule is pretty, well, writing oriented! There’s a lot of things to consider, though: as well as writing, I run a blog, and am keen on the marketing side of things. It’s all fun though, really. Just don’t tell everybody or they’ll all want to be a writer...
How many crime novels have you written?
Crime is both omnipresent yet subtle in all of my novels. What We Saw, my debut release, is a childhood mystery novel, but once the naivety of childhood is stripped away, there’s a very dark crime tale at the core. Killing Freedom -- my latest release -- is more of a full-blown thriller about a hitman who forms a bond with a family he is hired to kill, so of course, there are elements of crime there, too. I’m working on a new, fully-fledged crime novel for a September release, though, which is really gritty and very British. I can’t wait for people to read it.
Which is your favourite and why?
It’s kind of natural for a writer to be most proud of their latest release, so I’ll say Killing Freedom. I love the character and I really am delighted with the world I’d set up. But mostly, the character -- he’s such a rich and deep individual, yet I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface. Is that me announcing a sequel, right here in this interview? Who knows?
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas tend to come to me in various shapes and sizes. More often than not, my ideas arrive by inquiring into characters. If I can invent a character in my head, I can invent a series of dilemmas and problems, and before I know it, a whole book is forming in front of me. But a lot of the time, just things in everyday life -- I might read something intriguing in a newspaper, or hear a cool lyric, and sparks begin to fly.
Who is your favourite character from your own work and why?
I feel such a traitor to my other characters saying this! I guess I should say somebody all grim and threatening then, shouldn’t I? Keep them sweet! My favourite lead is Jared from Killing Freedom. I love how, on paper, he’s completely awful -- he’s a career killer, for goodness sakes! -- and yet he somehow manages to be sympathetic. That really makes him compelling. I’m also really keen on a character called Price in the crime novel I’m launching later in the year. He’s a Detective Inspector side character, and he has a lot of hilarious traits. I think readers are going to enjoy him.
Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why?
Harry Potter! I’d be rolling in it. But to be honest, it’s hard to say, really. I’m reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn at the moment and I love what she’s done with the two lead characters in that book. Without wanting to spoil anything, they take the unreliable narrator concept to entirely new levels.
If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why?
Oh, wow -- I’d better watch my answer here, hadn’t I?! I’m usually intrigued in the serial killer-y stuff in true crime fiction and documentaries, and I certainly wouldn’t like to be any of those. I think Ted Bundy is a fascinating figure, though. He’s a terrible individual and did some horrible, horrible things, but he was an incredibly intelligent man with a ridiculously in-depth knowledge of law enforcement. He knew his stuff, and he exploited it for his own dark gains. Horrible, twisted, but clever.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just sent out The Disappearing to my editor. It’s the second instalment in a creepy-suspense novella trilogy I’ve been working on this year. The first book -- The Painting -- went down pretty well, so I have a lot to live up to. Otherwise, I’m editing my upcoming crime novel, and starting a plan for the sequel to Killing Freedom. Busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.