PDB: Can you pitch LONG WAY HOME in 25 words or less?
The murder of a migrant worker exposes a world of slum landlords, right-wing extremists and sadistic gangmasters who believe they are above the law.
PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?
My musical find of 2013 is The Budapest Cafe Orchestra, who soundtracked the editing of Long Way Home perfectly. Bookwise – where to start? I’ve been reading lots of proofs lately and spring 2014 is looking strong; great crime debuts from Sarah Hilary (Someone Else’s Skin) and Emma Kavanagh (Falling) and a cracking psychological police procedural by Luca Veste, Dead Gone. Away from crime I’m hooked on Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series. I seem to have fallen behind on film watching but TV wise I’m loving the new series of Boardwalk Empire – so stylish – and eagerly awaiting season 2 of House of Cards.
PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?
I think writers are probably the least objective readers going but we’re the most appreciative when we find a beautifully crafted sentence or an intricate piece of plotting, so it balances out.
PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?
It’s a long held ambition of mine to write a story for Radio 4, because it would be such a challenge stylistically, but I don’t really see myself moving away from books any time soon.
There was quite a lot of research involved in Long Way Home, simply because I didn’t know the location very well and the world it takes place in was completely new to me. I was lucky enough to know people who were prepared to help out though, sharing their experiences and war stories, telling me things I would never have found through Google. A lot of what happens in migrant communities doesn’t filter into the mainstream, despite the close proximity, and I am immensely grateful for all the advice.
PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?
When it comes to putting words on the page you’re on your own, but when the nth round of edits is grinding you down or the postman’s just been judgemental because you’re still in your pjs at two p.m social media is where you can vent in full knowledge that you are not alone in that experience. It’s a great source of support and distraction too, and I loved having the opportunity to interview authors I admired while I was blogging. Probably the best thing about the online crime writing community is meeting up at events though – that lot know how to have a good time.
PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?
Long Way Home is released on January 2nd and I’m hugely looking forward to getting out and promoting it. The second Zigic and Ferreira book is on the way to being finished – or the first draft is anyway. I’m really superstitious about discussing my work in progress, but I will say that it’s a darker, more violent book, which delves into the politics around immigration.