Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?
My latest book, From The Shadows, is a legal thriller, the first in a new series involving defence lawyer Dan Grant and his investigator Jayne Brett. The book is fast-paced, exciting, and relies on my experience as a criminal lawyer of more than two decades experience. Think the early John Grisham books, where there is a mix of courtroom drama and out-of-court action.
If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?
Who Does He Think He Is?
My adult life didn’t start out the best way, stuck in a bedsit at twenty, unemployed, one GSCE to my name. I went back to college with a dream of becoming a lawyer and became one. I dreamed next of becoming a published writer and became one. Pure luck both times and always expect to get found out. A former editor once said to me that self-deprecation is the northern default, get the kicks in before someone else does. I spend my time beating myself up, just so other people don’t have to bother.
What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?
I’d like to say something bizarre, like being asked to send some signed and soiled underwear, but it has never got that exciting. I’ve been asked to send signed stickers before, to put inside books, but that is pretty much it. One or two people have sent me requests that involved disclosing my home address and I’ve always been wary of that, like sending books to be signed, but I don’t think it was for any untoward reason. I’ve yet to spot any shadowy figures under the streetlamp.
If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?
WP Kinsella, who died recently. He wrote the book Shoeless Joe, which became the film Field of Dreams, all whimsical tales of the Midwest. Iowa cornfields, hazy summers, the crack of a baseball bat. I love his style, and it was the first style I tried to mimic when I started out trying to write a book, long before I was published. He could write the dreamy settings and I’d write the murders.
Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).
I was a child catalogue model, Empire Stores Spring and Summer 1978.
The catalogue depot was at the top of our estate in Wakefield. Rather than spend money on modelling agencies, they trooped down to the school and selected children. It was the seventies, you know. We were allowed to select products from the catalogue as the pay for the three-day shoot. One of my selections was a Showaddywaddy album. My main memory is that all the clothes had bulldog clips down the back, to make them hang right in the pictures, and the man who drove us home showed us how to do wheel screeches by having his tyre pressures low. I think he watched a lot of Starsky and Hutch.
Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.
Lee Child – Make Me.
What is there to say? Typical Reacher, who never disappoints.
Beth Lewis – The Wolf Road
Great and authentic voice from a debut novelist. A gripping crime story told beautifully.
Chris Whitaker – All The Wicked Girls
Chris’s books ooze style, so wonderfully written, and this book captures that small town feel.
Who is Neil White?