Today, the blog welcomes Graham Smith. Graham’s novel ‘Snatched from Home’ is out now. His picture is very moody but he’s an absolute gem.
You’ve just published ‘Snatched from Home’, tell us about it please.
‘Snatched from Home’ is about middle-class parents whose children are kidnapped. Penniless, they turn to crime as a way of raising the ransom. After them is DI Harry Evans, a childless and recently bereaved old-school copper who is facing enforced retirement.
And there’s going to be a play, too?
‘Snatched from Home’ is being made into a stage play by RFH Productions and it will be shown as part of the Manchester Fringe Festival at the Salford Arts Theatre from the 8th-10th of July this year. It came from a chance encounter at my first ever visit to a theatre proving the old adage that fortune does indeed favour the bald.
Tell us how you got interested in writing.
I have been an avid reader for 35 years and a reviewer for Crimesquad.com for the last six. It was inevitable at some point in my life I would try my hand at writing. I started off writing the first third of ‘Snatched from Home’ late at night with a belly full of beer. Realising how much I enjoyed the process of writing, I started drinking less and writing more. Around this time, I stopped with the novel and spent a year or so on short stories which really honed my skills. I then went back to ‘Snatched from Home’ and re-wrote it from the start using my new skills to cut all the rubbish out. By this time I was starting to write as soon in the day as possible and always when sober.
Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us about it?
I’m currently working on the first novel in what I hope will become a new series. ‘The Watcher’ features Jake Boulder who is the doorman of a rock bar in Utah. He gets asked to help his private eye friend to investigate a murder and soon finds himself on the trail of a twisted serial killer. It’s a real departure from the sweary world of Harry Evans but I love challenging myself and my writing skills.
What do you like most about writing?
The trite answer would be everything. From the excitement of meeting new characters and creating plots to the buzz I get from positive feedback, there are so many elements of writing which I love. To pick a favourite, I would have to choose the camaraderie shown among the crime fiction community. Writers at many different stages of their careers have spent time sharing their craft, brainstorming ideas, answering questions and generally being supportive of me. Without this incredible network, self-doubt would cripple far too many talented authors.
What do you like least?
I would have to say editing. I’m currently editing ‘The Watcher’ and it’s a labour of love compared to the exhilaration of throwing down the first draft. However, I do recognise the importance of editing no matter how arduous the process. A close second would be writing a synopsis.
Do you find time to read? If so, what are you reading at the moment?
I always find time to read, even if it’s only a few pages at the end of the day. As I’m editing ‘The Watcher’ just now, I’m reading a non-fiction book: ‘It’s Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime’ by Val McDermid which is fascinating and will surely become a reference tome when researching future stories.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
There are so many and so few. Every book I’ve ever read, good or bad will influence my writing in one way or another as I recognise good and bad elements and know what to do or avoid. Particular influences would be Matt Hilton who has become a kind of mentor and is always one of the first to read my new stuff. Stuart MacBride is a favourite author of mine for his writing style. It’s one I try to emulate rather than mimic.
When you’re a famous author and you write your autobiography, what will be the title?
‘It’s Not Real’. Simply because I’m an author and therefore I make stuff up for the purpose of entertainment.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read five books in the genre you wish to write in. When you’ve read the books write a critical review of the books which is at least 500 words long. As a reviewer myself, I know that I read books differently to the way I used to. I now examine the structure and tradecraft and have learned so much from being a reviewer.
What’s been your proudest moment as a writer?
There have been so many. Getting an acceptance email from Caffeine Nights Publishing, seeing my book for the first time, seeing ‘Snatched from Home’ on the shelves of my local bookshop. The winner though would have to be doing a launch event with Matt Hilton in my local Waterstones and selling out. I was wonderfully supported by friends and family and thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
Other than spending more time with my wife and son, I’d do more reading and reviewing.
Where can we find you online?