PDB: Can you pitch your latest publication/ project in 25 words or less?
Heartbreaker is a rowdy rock ‘n’ roll riot. The deaths are tragic, the riffs are magic, the party rolls on despite drama, secrets and lies.
(And if people are thinking it sounds familiar, it was released as an e-book last year, but is now in print.)
PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?
I’ve recently discovered a new writer, Leon Steelgrave. I loved his debut novel, White Vampyre, and I’m currently reading — and thoroughly enjoying — his second, A Pauper’s Shroud.
On TV, I’m delighted that both Being Human and True Blood are back, and I’m also enjoying Whitechapel.
And on film, I’ve been looking forward for ages to The Woman in Black. Other than that, I’m eagerly anticipating Avengers, Prometheus and The Amazing Spider-Man.
PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?
I think so. I know I read with a different mindset when it’s for my own entertainment as opposed to when it’s for a job. Having said that, if a book is peppered with errors and I’m reading it for pleasure, it will very likely be abandoned!
PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?
I think if the opportunity arose, it would be good fun to do, but it isn’t something I currently have plans to try.
PDB: How much research goes into each book?
I like to think as much as is necessary. I hate books where the writer has crammed in every last detail, just to prove they know something very well.
That approach might make for a good ‘how to’ book but it makes for bad storytelling. Equally bad is when a writer takes too many liberties with reality and stretches credulity too far. For me, things work best when they’re rooted in fact, but sketched in lightly.
For example, in Convictions I have a character who is in a Youth Offender Institution and then prison. As part of a previous job, I did some work in both sorts of institution, which helped, but what I didn’t want to do was be too heavy-handed with the detail.
Readers have enough of an idea of what to expect through TV, films and other books. There was no need to swamp them with irrelevant detail in my story.
PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?
Good question. I’m on Google+, but have pretty much given up on it as a bad job. After much vacillation, I signed up to Twitter towards the end of last year, purely as a means of promoting my books, but I absolutely bloody hate it.
Consequently I don’t do all that much promotion or have much interaction with people on there. I’m probably most active on Facebook. But as to whether any of it helps, I really don’t know. Perhaps the cumulative effect has some impact, perhaps I would see a difference if I stopped using social media altogether. As far as I can see, it’s all guesswork.
PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?
I’m planning another couple of short story collections (one crime, one horror) and working on a couple of full length projects. Next up for publication should be Darke, a horror/fantasy novel about a stage magician who has sealed a satanic pact. The stakes are high, there’s everything to play for, and there’ll be the Devil to pay if the game is lost.