Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse, an Accountant & Crime Writer interviewed by Richard Godwin.
A. It certainly imposes a discipline in terms of the structure of what I write.
Each author will select the most suitable method of controlling a plot, and it has to be something with which they are comfortable. For me, as an accountant, it is the Spreadsheet.
Spreadsheets are one of the mainstay tools of my profession, and are perfectly adaptable for the purposes of writing literary fiction. I can set out the structure of each novel in standard form and then bend and adapt it to match the needs of each book.
Along with a plot layout in MS Word, I can then keep a tight control over characters, story lines, and logic. By this means, I can ensure that there are no loose ends… unless I make a conscious decision to leave them lying around for purposes of my own.
The accountancy profession also provides me with a wealth of data for my writing. This was something that I used throughout my 2011 novel ‘Threads of Deceit’ – a crime story set against the backdrop of the textile industry, and a story based on financial mismanagement, embezzlement and fraud. My 18 years in that industry also gave me more than a superficial insight into the trade, and this is another device which I use to give plots a firm grounding in a sense of ‘fact’.
A. My father-in-law died in 2001, and I suppose that could be seen as the event which started the ball rolling.
Again, she came up trumps with another of her stock sayings, ‘talk about laugh’, and that is what the manuscript was entitled. As a personal record of family life it is unlikely to be published, but the 75,000 words did set me on the trail of the writing which culminated this year in the release of my fifth book.
The four novels to date have all been crime-related, and my main influences have been James Patterson and his Alex Cross novels, and Jeffery Deaver with his particular style of short story writing. They both lead the reader deeper into the story by using short, punchy chapters, which compel ‘just one more page’. This is something which I have tried to emulate.
I am intending to branch out into other styles, and 2015 should see the release of my first attempt at science fiction. ‘The Rings of Darelius’ is a four-part saga, and is heavily influenced by Isaac Asimov and Gene Roddenberry.
2016 will see the completion of the first draft of ‘Dreamer’, a paranormal mystery set in the kind of style which you would expect from James Herbert, who is one of my favourite horror writers.
Roger Fretwell and Madeline Colson, two young lovers at the end of hostilities, are in possession of a set of files which fleeing survivors of the Third Reich would rather had lain buried. Now exposed once more, the secrets which they hold put their very lives in peril, and set in motion a chain of events from which there could only be one winner.
Set against the idyllic backdrop of the West Country, Roger and Madeline’s love story weaves its way into the dark and troubled waters of espionage, as competing forces will stop at nothing to gain control of a situation so vital for the future of democracy in modern Britain. The breathless pace of the storyline is unrelenting, as the chase over the length and breadth of the country comes to a shattering climax on the platform of Nottingham’s Midland Station. The final solution to the drama leaves a surprise ending for the reader to ponder.
Fly into the realms of fantasy with James Taylor as he gets lost in a place that he knows only too well, and try to sympathise with Ray when the old couple ask him to save humanity.
Follow Dennis Marks in a trilogy which brings the book to its close as he searches for the truth about his grandfather. This collection of little gems will expose every emotion on the rollercoaster which you are about to ride.
Detective Chief Inspector Colin Barnes looked down at the letter which lay on the desk before him. An icy hand gripped his heart as he read once more the details of the eighteen murders. Murders which had come back to haunt him from his past as he realised that he would, once more, be faced with the serial killer who had called himself... Petey.
Follow the chase for Petey, two and a half decades after his first appearance, as its climax takes you across the Atlantic to New York’s JFK airport and into the arms of Detective Tom Casey of the 113th Precinct, in a plot so intricate it will leave you breathless.
His future at Brodsworth Textiles disintegrates one Friday evening prior to his wedding, when conscientiousness overtakes him and he returns to the factory after work to rectify an administrative error.
What he learns in that moment sets off a chain of events which sends him spiralling downwards, and out of a job which had promised to propel him to senior managerial level.
Murder, deception, drug trafficking and embezzlement combine to derail the futures of everyone connected to the company, and set off a Europe-wide chase for the man at the centre of a plot so intricate that the forces of law and order in several countries are thwarted at every turn leading to a stunning climax at Bristol Airport.
Now, all of that effort was about to be challenged by one of the most daunting figures at New Scotland Yard – Superintendent Eric Staines. The Independent Police Complaints Commission were about to take Marks’ life apart, professionally and personally, and Staines, as one of its fiercest inquisitors, was not a man inclined to show mercy.
A month was all that the DCI had to prove his innocence of a range of charges dating back to his days as a detective sergeant. A career spent putting away the dregs of London’s criminal world was to hang in the balance, and he was, he believed, for the first time...alone.