Today I'm delighted to welcome fellow Bloodhound Books novelist Tony Forder to my blog. Tony's latest crime novel, Bad to the Bone, has recently been published, so an interview seemed a good idea! OK, let's get started:
I’d like to know more about your latest novel, the first in a crime series featuring DI Bliss and DC Chandler, called Bad to the Bone. What can readers expect to encounter in its pages?
First of all, I'd like to thank you for inviting me to do this. This is my third author interview, but I don't think I will ever get used to it. I hope my readers will encounter a deep mystery whose conclusion takes them by surprise. More than that, I hope they are propelled along by and with the characters. I got to know Bliss and Chandler very well during the many months I spent writing Bad to the Bone, and whilst Bliss certainly has his faults, both as a cop and as a human being, I like to think of him as a decent bloke doing a decent job well. There is murder and corruption within the pages, there is conflict, no small measure of intrigue, as well as some dark and sinister deeds.
What about your psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, due out later this year?
Degrees is a whole different ball game altogether. It's about this ex-detective, Frank Rogers, eking out a living as a debt collector, who gets dragged back into police work when his wife and son are murdered, his daughter abducted. Early on the reader realises a clock is ticking, and that Frank's daughter, Laura, is the hands of a madman – but a madman with a purpose, a madman who is intelligent and cunning. A madman who taunts and mocks Frank along the way. A madman who is not working alone. This is a psychological crime thriller, and it is very dark indeed. When it was available - albeit in a slightly different form - as a self-published item, one reader said it would be good as a TV show or movie, but one that would have to be watched from behind the sofa. Speaking as someone who did that as a child when confronted by the Daleks, I was thrilled by that particular observation.
Tell us about yourself and what you get up to when you’re not writing.
After 17 years in one job, I was made redundant last Christmas. I now divide my time between my own IT consultancy business, and writing. It would suit my Chi entirely – though not my pocket – if I were able to devote all of my time to writing, but currently that's just not possible.
Do you prefer to read e-books or paper books?
Physical books - I love the feel of them, the rustle of pages as they turn, the look and heft of an actual, physical book. I buy hardbacks of my favourite authors, and for me nothing will ever replace that new book smell.
Who is your favourite novelist?
I am going to cheat and list three: Stephen King, for all the obvious reasons; Thomas Harris – I can forgive him the boring/lame 50% of Hannibal and the lamentable Hannibal Rising for the pure majesty of both Red Dragon and, my favourite book of all, The Silence of the Lambs. Finally, it has to be today's master of the American crime novel, Michael Connelly. The Poet is my second favourite book, and Harry Bosch one of my favourite characters.
What are you working on at the present?
My WIP is the follow up to Bad to the Bone, whose working title is Bad Moon Rising. In my virtual cabinet drawer I have a completed first draft of the novel I was working on when I signed my first Bloodhound Books contract – that is a fast-paced thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed writing. It may be a standalone, or at least it started out that way, but a couple of the characters in it may just have the legs for more. Its working title is Scream Blue Murder. I am also sketching out an idea for what I think could be a third book in the current series, plus I don't think I'm quite finished with Frank Rogers from Degrees of Darkness just yet.
Would you consider writing in different genres and if so, which ones?
I have always been drawn to comedy. If I was starting out and had 40 years ahead of me, I'd mix it up a bit. But I don't, and my heart and head have been captured by crime for the time being.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
Oh, I have tried so hard to be organised and patient enough to write a full outline. But every time I do, the simple act of setting those thoughts down fills my head with the way I want to structure the chapters, and before you know it I have yet again dumped the outline in favour of writing the thing. I am a pretty organised person in my non-writing life (my daughter probably just coughed up a lung laughing at that, as my CDO is legendary in my house – and yes, that is OCD in alphabetical order!!) and I suspect my creative side needs to fly on the seat of its pants in order to thrive. Even the minor outlines I do write bear no relation to the completed work, as it changes all the time with the writing and, especially, as the characters truly emerge.
Do you think the cover plays an important part of the buying process?
Regrettably, yes. Now correct me if I'm wrong, and I may just be making this up, but isn't there a saying that goes something like: Do not judge a book by its cover? Seriously, though, imagery has become so important in our lives that a good cover can hook someone in just enough to tempt them. Perhaps not into buying, but pausing long enough to at least consider it. That one good cover could lure them often enough that they eventually decide to take the plunge. I don't think even the Amazon preview has diminished that. Not yet, anyway.
What is the first book to make you cry?
I must have been an emotional child, because it was The Man Who Was Magic, by Paul Gallico. I became so completely engrossed by that book, about an actual boy magician who enters the world of conjurers, that when he had to leave and I read a line that made me realise he would never go back and I would never read about him again, I wept.
Thank you, Tony, for a great interview!
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