I am delighted that Graham Smith, author of ‘Snatched from Home’ and ‘The Major Crimes Team: Vol 1: Lines of Enquiry’, has agreed to be my first ever interviewee on the blog today. He made my day with his wit and humour, and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.
An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, Graham Smith has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com for over five years.
Welcome, Graham. Tell us a little bit about you…
I am the General Manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green by day and a writer of dark crime fiction by night. I’m a joiner by trade and have built bridges, dug drains and slated roofs to put food on the table. I’m married with a ten year-old son and I spend too much time watching football and telling bad jokes.
Where and when do you write?
I tend to do the majority of my writing sitting on the couch with a laptop … on top of my lap. I have the TV on in the background and usually two or three windows open either for research or procrastination. My writing tends to take place at night although when I’m off work and my son is at school I’ll grab the opportunity with both hands. 3.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
A pantser through and through. I never know more than the lead character, the setting, the crime, the resolution which should happen and perhaps a couple of waypoints. A fitting analogy would be a drive from New York to Los Angeles. You know your start and end points but you have no idea of the journey. Sometimes I may detour and end up anywhere from Miami to Chicago. It’s also like driving at night where you can only see as far as the headlights reach. It works for me and I’ve always been lucky enough to arrive at my desired destination.
Do you do any research? Any sites or sources you care to share?
I tend to write it first and then research it afterwards. I have friends in the police forces of both the UK and the USA so I can go to them for technical or procedureal advice. After writing the first draft of Snatched from Home I wrote down all the locations in the novel and then visited them all to get a feel for the places beyond my memory. I have a very reliable research assistant called Mr Google who can find me just about anything I need found. My browsing history is not something I ever want authorities to take a close look at lest they arrest me as the lead suspect in thousands of horrific murders.
Do you read inside your genre or out when writing?
When I’m throwing down a first draft I will read inside my genre as I’m confident I can maintain a flow without osmosing from the book I’m reading. However when I’m editing the mess that is one of my first drafts, I tend to avoid crime fiction or thrillers. My editing process is a real labour of love as I tend to try and do it in the shortest space of time possible. I do not mean that I rush the editing, it’s just that I will work late into the night to get it finished so I can maintain the purity of my voice.
Your author heroes?
Oh hell, where do I start with a question like this? Every author who finishes a book and gets it published is a hero because it’s a damned hard thing to do. Every book I’ve read good or bad has taught me something but if I must I will list a few of the authors whose work I admire. Each of these authors has a body of work which stands up to repeated reading and I’m lucky enough to be friends with a few of them. In no particular order of favouritism., Stuart MacBride, Matt Hilton, Zoe Sharp, Tom Cain, Simon Kernick, Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Alistair MacLean, Peter James, Val McDermid. I could go on for hours but I’m going to stop there.
Thank you, Graham!
You can read my review of ‘The Major Crimes Team: Vol 1: Lines of Enquiry’ here