I'm delighted to welcome my good friend, crime writer Tony Forder, to my blog today! It's been over two years since we last chatted here (see link: Interview with Tony Forder) so I thought it was time to catch up with Tony and his writing. Let's get started!
I’d like to know more about your latest novel. What can readers expect to encounter in its pages?
Darker Days to Come is the ninth full-length novel in my DI Bliss series. As with most of my books, I hope readers will find the storyline complex and entertaining, intriguing and compelling, with characters they can genuinely believe in. It’s a strange twist of fate that leads Bliss and his team to the crimes committed here, and from the little kernels if information scattered around none of them expect the cases to grow in the way they do, nor take the paths they have to follow. The subject matter is disturbing at times, but I hope I’ve handled it sensitively.
Any news or hints about your next novel?
I’m in the throes of writing two, waiting for one to really take hold. Ideally, I would have finished my second DS Chase novel, The Predators, first, but I seem to be preferring the next Bliss, The Lightning Rod, so currently I have no idea which of these will be published next.
Tell us about yourself and what you get up to when you’re not writing.
Having moved earlier this year I’m enjoying settling into village life and creating a new home. I enjoy football and rugby, I’m a bit of a movie buff, but probably my biggest passion is music. I listen to music every day, and having played guitar since I was about the age of 10, I still get some practice in several days a week. I keep my guitars – all 4 of them – in my office, so when I need to take a break from writing I slide over in my chair and get my fingers working in a very different way.
Who is your favourite novelist?
At one time the answer would most definitely have been Stephen King. His imagination and ability to write creatively are on a par with the very best. These days, and since the early noughties, it’s Michael Connelly, best known for his Harry Bosch character. He's the king of crime in my view.
Do you have a special time to write? A writing routine?
When writing a first draft I work 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week if at all possible. My style is to get the story out of my head in that draft. The edit is where the book comes alive, and when I’m doing the first structural edit I work the same hours. With each edit I spend less time per day on the task, as I find myself scanning rather than reading accurately. Your mind plays tricks and fills in the gaps to the point where you ‘read’ missing words and your brain autocorrects typos without you noticing them.
Where do your ideas come from?
I wish I knew. In truth, they come from anywhere. My book Fifteen Coffins grew from that title, which popped into my head for no apparent reason. I have written storylines based on real cases – an interesting unsolved case in the US became the source of my Bliss novel, The Death of Justice. As ideas occur, I make notes. Those notes go into an ideas book, and every so often I go through each page, adding or subtracting, until hopefully one of them will do the trick for me. Last year I was struggling, and in a 30 minute spell I sat down and plucked 4 storylines from out of nowhere. One of them went on to become Darker Days to Come, and another will be The Lightning Rod, the next Bliss book. If I do use real-life, I tend to put my own spin on it, coming at it from a different perspective.
What book are you reading at present?
I just finished Jaws. It’s the first time I’ve read it in a couple of decades, but I remember it well from when it first came out. It’s one of only 2 books I’ve read in a single sitting – the other being King’s The Shining. Jaws didn’t quite live up to my memory of it, and the film got in the way to a certain extent. So yes, it’s dated, but in its time it was amazing.
What kind of research do you do?
in a word... exhaustive. I use only a fraction of what I learn, but I’m keen to be as authentic and knowledgeable as I can be. As a crime writer you have to research not just police procedure but also some pretty grisly stuff. I’ve learned more about how to practice taxidermy on humans than I ever wanted to know, also the gruesome practice of necklacing – a flaming tyre wrapped around the neck – and numerous awful things human being are capable of inflicting on others.
Who’s your favourite fictional bad guy/gal?
Hannibal Lecter. It’s 41 years since his first appearance in Red Dragon, and even as a bit-part character in that you got a sense of his magnetism. Seven years later, Silence of the Lambs was published, and in my view Lecter remains the psycho by which all subsequent psychos are judged. A learned, brilliant academic with primitive urges.
Where do you see your writing career being in five years’ time?
Well, by then I will have had to retire DI Jimmy Bliss. Whether I continue with him as a more peripheral character in a spin-off series or simply allow him to go gentle into that good night, I don’t know. Perhaps when I put him away for good, I can focus more clearly on other things. In terms of readership and status I’ve probably peaked, but I have a dedicated following who for the most part enjoy my other works. I do want to write at least 2 more DS Chase books, plus the third and final volume in my Mike Lynch action-adventure series. There’ll be no change of style or genre, but perhaps a few more standalones. Frankly, I just hope I am still writing in 2027.
Thank you, Tony! Readers, you can find out more about Tony and his books below.
Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, were joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered. The series continued with The Autumn Tree in May 2021.
Tony’s other early series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder and Cold Winter Sun. These books were republished in April 2021, and will be joined in 2022 by The Dark Division.
In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California, Fifteen Coffins.
The Huntsmen, released on 4 October 2022, was the first book in a new crime series, set in Wiltshire. It featured DS Royston Chase, DC Claire Laney, and PCSO Alison May.
Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is a full-time author. He is currently working on DI Bliss #10 and the second DS Chase novel.
All of Tony’s links can be found on Linktree: https://linktr.ee/TonyJForder
Tony's latest book in the DI Blkiss series, Darker Days to Come, can be viewed here: Darker Days to Come.