The Jake Flintlock Series
The Magical Mystery Series
1) When did you start writing, and why?
The first things I wrote were sketches and songs for a school show. Later there were poems and more songs, as chronicles of experience, I suppose. Novels didn’t start happening until the mid-1990s, as a daily holiday from work.
2) Do you have a theme in mind when you embark on a story?
Not so much a theme as a general context, some characters and a catalyst event. After that, who knows?
3) Planner or pantser, which are you?
4) Do you pluck your characters from real life, or out of your head?
Inevitably they come from life but they’re always grotesquely distorted.
5) Has any single book or author influenced you above all others?
Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions.
6) Is there a particular time of day when you feel yourself to be at your most creative?
Between five and seven p.m. with a glass of wine.
7) If you had just one piece of advice to give to aspiring novelists, what would it be?
Avoid vanity publishers like the plague.
8) If you had just one piece of advice to give to aspiring novelists, what would it be? What effect/influence would you like your books to have on your readers?
9) Do you have any projects in the pipeline after the release of “Mole Smith and the Diamond Studded Pistol?”
There are a number of completed manuscripts on the hard drive, some parts of a series and others free-standing, but all the product of breathing spaces between rejections. At the moment, I am working on the latest addition to the series.
1) Congratulations on the publication of your new book. Tell us a bit about it. Where’s it set? What’s it about? Tell a little about your protagonist.
The story begins with the investigation of a murder in London, which leads to a wider conspiracy in South Germany. Serious stuff? Well, yes, but the PI protagonist is a little off-centre, so that leaves scope for jokes.
2) What is your background? Are you married? Children? How does the family cope with your writing?
Married with two grown children and my wife is also a writer, which makes life easy because we share ideas. It’s good to live with a person who doesn’t think you’re nuts!
3) What is your writing ritual? Do you have a set schedule or do you write in spurts?
Every day from five to seven … with a glass of wine. Okay, sometimes two glasses.
4) When are you most creative? Are you a day or night person? Is this true in other parts of your life?
I like the nighttime when all the cars have gone home and it’s quiet. As for creativity, ideas drop into the head at all sorts of times — although quite often when I’m riding my bike.
5) Did you have obstacles to overcome while writing this book and how did you conquer them?
No obstacles to speak of, so nothing much to conquer. Sorry!
6) Are you an outliner or do you let your story tell itself? Do you work on only one project at a time or do you have more than one going? Explain how your choice works for you.
One book at a time, otherwise I’d get confused. As for the story, it normally starts with an overall theme and a setting but then works through its own — often skewed — logic.
7) All writers have to promote their work. How do you plan to promote your new novel?
I’m a flop as a self-publicist. I might tell a few people but mainly it’s a matter of fingers crossed and hope for the best. Also London isn’t the easiest place to promote books because there’s a lot of competition and bookshops don’t welcome new writers.
8) What do you like best about being a novelist? The least?
The most: Setting myself hard problems and then trying to solve them in ways that will amuse a reader. The least: Proofreading. I only see what I’m expecting to see.
9) How can readers get in touch with you? Do you have a website or are you on Facebook or Twitter?
No website or Facebook or Twitter, I’m afraid (see question 7) but I do have an e-mail address which people can find on the Wings website.