Hello my fellow bookworms and page turners, in this post I will be covering both Panel Seven of the Literary festival, which was moderated by my good friend Stephanie Cox.
Due to the sheer amount of information and chatter that you would expect in a open event such as this, all questions, where sent 24 hours in advance and where typed into the comment section for the present authors to answer in real time. In this post I will be documenting some of the questions within all the individual authors panel 7 Q&A’s.
Panel 7 – Crime in the city : Michael J Malone | Alex Marwood | Nick Quantrill | Luca Veste
Q: Rachel Hall : How much of your first book had you written before letting anyone read it please?
A: All of it! I didn’t feel comfortable showing it to anyone until I had a full draft. It was probably more a lack of confidence in my own ability to finish it, maybe partly a worry about being taken seriously.
Q: The Book Trail: What does Hull as a location for your novels allow you to explore that maybe another city would not?
A: Good question. Obviously all locations have their own character and ways of making themselves tick, but Hull is largely unmapped, it’s a place people don’t necessarily know much about. It’s geography – you need a reason to visit, there’s only water at the end of the road! Hull’s also got a great mix of locations within a small radius – rich and poor, urban and rural…we’re also close to the sea.
Q: Rachel Hall: Do you just free write and see where it leads u have do you plot intricate beforehand?
A: I try to plot. I try really hard! I’ve found over the course of the books that my own method of plotting is becoming tighter. It’s a weird system using Excel spreadsheets and coloured cells. I really think you have to find what works for you, but I like to know the start, know the end and understand the key points that get me from A to B. It still leaves room to improvise and explore, but having a framework is a comfort, not least because I find writing freely leads to so much stuff being cut.
Q: Kay Smillie: How much of yourself is in your books? Character-wise I mean?
A: sadly not much. Joe Geraghty’s a fairly normal guy, but he’s a former rugby league player. He can take care of himself. I’d take a dive if someone threw a punch at me! More generally, I used to work in an office job that took me around the city a lot, so I saw inside factories, posh offices, all sorts…so that was invaluable in helping to shape characters.
Q: Eva Dolan : With Hull hosting the City of Culture in 2017 how do you think it will affect the perception of the place?
A: I think the wider perception of Hull is starting to change, Eva. I travel about doing talks and people always ask what the city is like and are intrigued by what’s happening. I put it down to geography – you don’t just pass through Hull. You need to make an effort, and with things like The Turner Prize being held in the city in 2017, people will come and they’ll see what a vibrant place it is at the moment. The real challenge is keeping the momentum going post-2017
Q: Jeanette Hewitt: Do you have a release date for your third novel and can you tell us anything about it?
A: Hello? Hello? Oh, God, where am I? Is there a light switch? Why are my legs tied together? Oh, god, they seem to be chained to the wall… will anyone come to save me?
Interjected Q : Marie Causey: .. What kind of writer are you..are your stories character driven?
A: Oh, thank god! Rescue! Quick! DO you have a knife? We might need it!
I guess I write psychological crime, I think. Definitely character-driven, in that I’ll have an idea for a situation and then diddle aout for yonks writing loads of aimless character stuff that doesn’t make it through to the final cut before they start walking and talking and making their own stupid decisions. I do *try* to plot ahead, but it never comes out the way I originally planned…
Marrie Causey: .. you are on your own!
Alex Marwood: And thank you for asking a question, Marie! Do you have the keys to these handcuffs?.. Endlessly. My publisher locks me in a dark room with only a keyboard for company, and slides trays of tinned foodstuffs through a hole in the door… Seriously, yes. I missed my deadline by miles this year, though my Dad died, so that was my excuse.
Q: Marie Causey : Hang in there, AM!! I do have a set of cuff keys, left behind by first husband. wink emoticon In the meantime, what themes do you want your stories to explore?
A: Really, I’m just interested in people at their extremes, and the psychology that drives our good and bad decisions, makes us so bad at understanding the reality of our situations, the devastating effect of crime, not only on the victims, but on the bystanders and the perpetrators. It’s just enclessly fascinating to me…
Q: Emma Finlayson-Palmer : Writing crime, do you have to do a lot of research? Or do you have friends in jobs you can jnterview for research purposes? Not suggesting you have serial killer acquaintances of course!
A: I do a LOT of research before I start writing, but mostly through books. Honestly, my collection of true crime and abnormal psych books is threatening to destroy the foundationds of my house. After I start, mainly Google is my friend – but also, I have to say, Facebook is AMAZEBALLS. You can ask pretty much any question and someone will know the answer, and be generous with it.
Q: The Book trail : what does Glasgow mean to you? and what does setting your novel there allow you to do?
A: Glasgow is one of my favourite cities. It’s an amazing city with so much going on. It has culture, humour and it has a dark side – like all cities do – but tapping into that makes life interesting for me as a writer.
Q: Marnie Riches : What’s the most satisfying aspect of being a crime writer as far as you’re concerned?
A: Most satisfying? I love meeting readers, tbh. You spend all that time on your own facing a computer screen and your own inadequacies, so to meet people who have actually spent their hard-earned on your work, is really cool.
Q: Celeste Ni Raois : Have you always wanted to write crime & can you tell me why reviews are so important to you as an author?
A: Hi Celeste – can I just say, what a wonderful name. In answer to your question, I came to “crime” by mistake. I didn’t see myself as having the chops to plot one out. Didn’t think I was clever enough, tbh. Then when I wrote BLOOD TEARS, I thought, jeez, I’ve written a crime novel!.. In answer to your second question. Reviews are important because on sites like Amazon and Goodreads it creates interest among other readers. Word of mouth really is the best way to reach your audience. And as a writer with a smaller publishing house – who doesn’t have the same reach/ marketing budget as the big boys, it makes a huge difference.
Q: Kay Smillie : What do you think about the video trailers for books?
A: To be honest, Kay – I’m not sure if they work. Have you seen many you liked? If they can create a sense of glamour that seems to attach itself to the movies, then that would be fab. I’m keeping an open mind.
Q: Kay Smillie : Would you ever consider a collaboration with anyone! If so, who?
A: I have already collaborated on my book The Guillotine Choice. Bashir Saoudi approached me as he wanted someone to write his father’s life story. He provided the bones of a story – and to torture that metaphor, I came up with the muscle, skin and heart… I have since been approached by others – but in those other situations, they themselves were the best person to write the book. For a variety of reasons.
Kay Smillie: Sorry, I meant anyone past or present…in a fantasy sort of way…
A: Good question! In that case, Stephen King. He really is a master storyteller and I would learn so much from him.
Q: The Book trail: This novel looks great. Can you tell us a little more about it and why Liverpool is special to you?
A: Thank you! Bloodstream is the third Murphy and Rossi novel. My quick sell – What would you do if there was someone targeting people in relationships who keep secrets or lie to their partners… would you survive? It’s about love, relationships, media, and celebrity. And death… always about death!
Liverpool is special for so many reasons. It’s a city of contrast, with the haves and have-nots living side by side, creating an endless conflict, which makes it rich for crime novels. It’s the best city in the world… I decided. Gave it a trophy and everything
Q: Celeste Ni Raois : have you always wanted to write crime & can you tell me why reviews are so important to you as an author?
A: I started writing only a few years ago, after being a voracious reader until that point with no intention of writing. When I started, crime was the genre I read extensively, so it seemed natural that it would be crime I wrote. Plus, crime is a genre which lends itself to writing across a number of issues, so never gets boring to write within.
Reviews are important for so many different reasons. For me, it’s a chance to see what people who have read the books think of something which has only existed in my head for so long! There’s not much better than receiving a review where you think “YES! That’s what I was trying to get across!”
Q: Noelle Holten : I see so many great reviews and I am looking forward to reading your work…what is your favourite thing about writing and what led you down the path of crime?
A: Favourite part of writing… tricky one. Hearing from readers who have enjoyed the books is near the top. Taking an idea that may only be a couple of words and turning that into a fully fledged plot is also close. It’s that “What if… ?” question I pose myself at the beginning, then exploring it through writing the book, and seeing how it ends up at the end, which is so fulfilling.
Q: Christine Elizabeth : Are you enjoying writing a series?
A: I’m really enjoying writing a series. I like the idea of following a bunch of characters over a number of years, through a number of different situations, and seeing how they grow and progress as people. I do put Murphy through the wringer somewhat, but I think we all feel that way sometimes… the “what else can you throw at me” kind of thing.
Q: Kay Smillie : Character-wise, is there anything of yourself in your books?
A: Hi! There’s bits of me in so many of the characters. I think it’s almost impossible not to write yourself into the books! With Murphy, he’s got my sarcasm, confusion at the ever-changing world around him, and impatience. Rossi – She’s an Italian-Scouser, with a large family. She’s pretty close to me! Then, there’s a number of smaller characters who have traits from me, or people I know. Which is fun for family and friends to read, then contact me asking “is… is this me?!”
that just about wraps up my highlights of Panel Seven if you wish to read the full panel convocations you can view them here on facebook
Until next time, read more books