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7 Things You Need To Know About The Killing Grounds

Today marks the publication of The Killing Grounds by Jack Ford, the first novel in an exciting new international thriller series. So, what do you need to know?

The Killing Grounds final

  • The series introduces ex- US Navy-turned-investigator Thomas J Cooper – a complicated but brilliant hero who, after a terrifying encounter with Somali pirates, is left devastated, damaged and using painkillers to dull memories of the past.
  • Tiring of every thriller being set in a cosmopolitan and familiar city? The Killing Grounds follows Cooper’s high-risk investigatory work which takes him on a dangerous journey across the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and USA.
  • This is a true summer blockbuster. With its propulsive energy and compelling intrigue, The Killing Grounds has all the ingredients of the greatest popcorn thrillers.
  • For fans of Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series, Clive Cussler and Bernard Cornwell. What sets it apart is the characters; their complexities and relationships are at the core but the rip-roaring plot never slows. Truly unique.
  • The author really knows their stuff. Having studied global political Islam and American politics, Jack went on to take a Master of Science degree in Counter-Terrorism and will further those studies next year by tackling a PhD focusing on radicalisation and extremism.
  • Don’t just take our word for it, here’s a snippet of a review from a notable blogger:

‘Where to even begin. The Killing Grounds is a thrilling read… has relationships, politics – both US and international – violence, grief, addiction, religion and superstition and so much more at its heart, all with an incredible amount of research and detail.’

  • Be sure to follow the author on Twitter to find out more: @JackFordAuthor and click here to pick up your copy – don’t miss it!
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Darley Anderson Authors Uncategorized

Chris Carter Tops the Sunday Times Hardback Bestseller List for the First Time

 

With his new novel The Caller (S & S) Chris Carter has beaten established authors like Joanna Trollope, Katie Fforde, Neal Gaiman and Sophie Kinsella to the No 1 spot on the ST List in its first week of publication.

The Caller is Chris Carter’s eighth serial killer novel featuring Robert Hunter.

Carter’s sales have been increasing book by book since his debut in 2009 with The Crucifix Killer which Darley sold at auction to S&S CEO Ian Chapman

Carter’s previous two novels I Am Death and An Evil Mind both went to No 5 on the ST Hardback Bestseller Lists.

This is also a personal triumph for Darley as Carter is the sixth of his own authors to achieve the No 1 spot on the Sunday Times List.

Some like Martina Cole and Lee Child have been long term No 1 Bestsellers for many years. Chris Carter now looks like joining their ranksthe-caller-final

 

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Darley Anderson Authors Uncategorized

Darley ‘the Deal’ does the Double with Lee and Martina

Lee Child’s Night School is the No.1 Bestselling Hardback Fiction title of 2016. And Martina Cole’s Betrayal is the No.2 Bestselling Hardback Fiction title of 2016.

Nicknamed Darley ‘the Deal’ by Martina many years ago, Darley discovered Lee and Martina when they were unpublished.

Their success is no flash in the pan. They have both delivered a succession of No.1 Bestsellers over a period of many years.

We think this is an awesome achievement!

night-school_betrayal

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Darley Anderson Authors Interviews

Happy publication day for DEAD OF WINTER by Lee Weeks!

Welcome to our blog, Lee, thank you for coming! First of all, for our readers, who is Lee Weeks?

I am an adventurous type. Love life, giggling, dancing and partying but unfortunately have to work sometimes. Luckily my work is writing and that’s really under the heading of passion.

At the Agency we all enjoy following you on Twitter (@leeweeksauthor). And at this point we just have to ask, why do you support Wales in the rugby and not England, despite being brought up in Devon?

I support Wales because my family comes from there. I watch the rugby with my mum. I have so many Welsh relatives I feel very lucky. They are immensely supportive and love following my book writing career.

Okay, imagine you’ve just found out that from tomorrow you’re going to be snowed in for a week. What is on your emergency supplies list?

Emergency list is a bit of food a lot of good wine and masses of spare printing cartridges. Huge amounts of magazines of every kind to catch up on.

Back to booky things… The brilliant DEAD OF WINTER is published today. What can readers expect from this brand new title?

They can expect a whole new series based on a London Murder Squad. My aim with this new series is to have a strong story each time with its own lead characters. In the background will be my new murder squad. Each book will uncover a little more of their lives and sometimes one detective will come to the fore and sometimes another.

And will we see any more of Johnny Mann in the future?

Yes I fully intend to bring JM back and have the next two JM stories mapped out. He had reached a point when his life was radically changed. I think it’s a good place to leave him for a while before I take him in a new direction.

Where do you write?

This is my office. I am a messy person by nature. I LOVE making a mess. I love my office because of the dual windows. I can watch my son and his friends play cricket out of one and then I can look at my front garden out of the other.

When you’re writing, do you prefer a pen or the keyboard?

Mainly a keyboard but will make use of a pen when away from home. Using a keyboard is necessary to keep up with the frantic pace necessary to keep the story flowing. For lyrical, poetical musings a pen is the tool.

Silence or music?

A little background music or radio chatter but nothing that I can be distracted by.

Day or night?

Both. They bring out different things in me. I tend to get the bulk of the words down in daylight hours but the more interesting nitty gritty bits will be done after dark.

What do you find is the worst thing about the writing process?

The worst thing is not being able to switch off. Becoming obsessed with horrible facts and figures and sharing them with people. Do you know what it feels like to be suffocated? No? Well let me tell you! It scares people – especially potential boyfriends. When I go out on the pull I pretend I’m a nurse.

And what do you enjoy most about the writing process?

I love the fact that I get to learn such an array of interesting facts. I love immersing myself in someone else’s life. I really love the fact that some things I write move others and I hope that in some way they benefit others too.

Do you have any rituals you must perform when writing? Or when you’re about to deliver a new manuscript?

No rituals. I am really not a black cat, cross three fingers and cover yourself in salt girl. I will never hesitate to walk under ladders because I have one of those natures that’s ridiculously optimistic and would probably look on a pot of paint landing on my head as somehow lucky!

What do you like doing when you’re not writing?

I like walking my dogs and going to the gym. Both of these things enhance my writing and I can often find the answers to problems then. I like going out with my girlfriends and usually end up on the dance floor of Mama Stones (Joss Stone’s mum’s club). I love spending time with my family. I have also reinvented my love for London and now have a wonderful excuse for coming up more often with this new series.

Do you have a favourite author or book?

I will always love Last of the Mohicans best and it was the book I tried to emulate when I started to write. It has everything in it for me. But, now I would also add John Burdett’s Bangkok books, Jo Nesbo’s books and Carl Hiaason.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

GQ magazine

What are you watching at the moment? X-Factor or Strictly? What about Homeland? Or Peep Show?

I am watching all of the above. I actually watch very little TV but like all the ones where celebs have to do something hard. It’s nice to see the ones who can still cut it as human beings.

What are you reading now?

Ummm sorry very little now actually. When I write I try and keep influences at bay. As soon as I have a decent break then I’ll line up a stack of books to get through. I like to see what’s trending and then give myself a treat with something classic.

What inspired you to start writing?

Since I was a child I have loved losing myself in other worlds. You’d always find me up the Faraway Tree or running along the banks of the river with Hiawatha.

What would be your top tip for aspiring writers hoping to get published?

Give your work to people to look at in the planning stage. Talk them through the outline. Don’t let loads of people influence the end product.

Dead of Winter, published by Simon & Schuster, is out today!

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Darley Anderson Authors Interviews

Chris Carter knows serial killers. Robert Hunter catches them.

A criminal psychologist for several years, Chris Carter has worked over 100 cases involving serial killers, murderers and dangerous offenders. The Sunday Times bestselling author stopped by the blog to tell us about the new Robert Hunter thriller, The Death Sculptor.

For those few who don’t know yet, can you tell us a bit about Robert Hunter and The Death Sculptor?

Robert Hunter is a detective for the Special Section of the Robbery Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.  The Special Section was created to deal solely with high-profile, serial killer, and homicide cases that require extensive investigative time and expertise.  Hunter and his partner, Carlos Garcia, are actually part of an even more exclusive unit inside the Special Section – the UVC unit (Ultra Violent Crimes).  These are crimes where the perpetrator has used excessive brutality and/or sadism against his or her victims.

In The Death Sculptor, Hunter and Garcia are faced with exactly that – a new serial killer whose cruelty and sadism achieve new heights.  But the brutality of the crimes isn’t the only thing that shocks and baffles Hunter and Garcia.  This killer also leaves behind a “calling card” of sorts.  Some kind of puzzle, which is like nothing anyone has ever seen before.

Hunter attracts a lot of female attention. What is it about Hunter that the ladies find so hard to resist?

I really wish I knew, because I wouldn’t mind having some.

The truth is that I’m not sure.  Maybe it is because he’s a quiet and somewhat mysterious person, and many people find that attractive in itself.  Maybe it is because he’s always polite and considerate.  Maybe it is because of his looks and physique.  Or maybe it is even because of his profession.  Dangerous professions have a way of intriguing and exciting people.

You receive a lot of fan mail from your readers, how do you respond? And do you think that some of your fans confuse you with the character of Hunter?

I reply to every email I receive, and I always try to answer every question they pose, in the best way I can.

Yes, some readers do project the figure of a book’s main character onto the book’s author.  That has, and still happens to me.  I believe that every author, when he or she creates a main character, especially a series character,  can’t help but give that character a few of their own characteristics.  That happens simply because it is easier for us to write about something we know.  So, if I like rock music, for example, it is easy for me to say that my main character also likes rock music.  When I mention it in a novel, I am very at ease with it, no research is necessary, and it makes the character sound natural.

I must admit that I have lent Hunter several of my own personality traits, and that’s why it is so understandable that some readers confuse Chris Carter with Robert Hunter.  But when it happens, I, very politely, explain that unfortunately, the two aren’t the same.

What jobs did you have before becoming an author? Have any of these jobs influenced your work?

While I was in university I worked in just about any job I could get – barman, burger flipper, exotic dancer in a male show group, gym assistant, etc.  After I graduated, I became a Criminal Psychologist, working cases for the District Attorney’s office.

Yes, all of my books call upon the experiences, and the things I saw and studied during that time.  It is no coincidence that Hunter is also an ex-criminal psychologist.

When I left the psychology profession, I became a rock guitarist.

We love to hear how our writers write, so here are a few quick-fire questions:

Day or night?

Day.  Night is for partying.

Whiskey or wine? Coffee or tea?

Whisky and whiskey.  Wine puts me to sleep.  Coffee, for sure.

Music or silence?

Silence to write, music for everything else.

Pen or keyboard?

Keyboard.  My handwriting is awful.

Hannibal Lecter or Buffalo Bill?

Hannibal, for his mind.

Alex Cross or Harry Bosch?

Alex, for his coolness.

What were your favourite childhood reads?

The truth is that I didn’t really read much when I was a kid, but I guess that the first book I read that really got me into Crime Fiction was a book by a Brazilian author called João Carlos Marinho.  The book was title: O Genio do Crime, which translates to The Crime Genius.

What is it that draws you to writing such dark crime fiction?

I think it all comes from my days as a Criminal Psychologist.  As I’ve said, I do draw a lot from all my experiences and things I saw.  But believe me, reality is a lot darker and stranger than fiction.  My novels are very tame compared to some of the cases I worked on.

You’re sold in 14 languages, and are a bestseller in Germany and Denmark. Did you expect your work to do so well in translation?

No, I never expected my work to be so well accepted in so many countries, and I am very honoured and humbled that it is. I do love receiving copies of any of my novels in a different language.  It’s quite surreal, but extremely satisfying.

What was it about the Darley Anderson agency that made you feel we were the agency for you?

When I finished writing my first manuscript, I read an interview with Martina Cole.  In the interview, she highly praised her literary agent, Darley Anderson.  I remember thinking how fantastic it would be to have someone so good representing me.

I had nothing to lose, so I posted the first three chapters and a covering letter to Darley Anderson’s agency.  I almost fainted when I got a call back.  Martina was right; Darley Anderson’s agency is simply a step above every other literary agency in the country.

Finally, what’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Well, I don’t really think that there is a secret to writing a book.  What happened to me was exactly the same that happens to so many people.  I woke up one day with an idea for a book that I thought was good.  The difference probably is that I did write it.  A lot of people say that they would love to write a book, or that they  have a good idea for one.  The only thing that is missing is the writing itself.

The only advice I can give any aspiring writer is to actually sit down and write the book.   Forget about rules, or creative writing classes, or anything.  Just write the story in the way that YOU think it should be told – remember – it’s your story.  Tell it in the same way that you would like a story to be told to you.  TRUST YOUR GUT.  When you finish it, read it back.  If the story excites you, then chances are it will excite others as well.  That’s exactly what I did.  I had no experience.  I had never even written a short story before.  I simply sat down one day and started writing this idea I had.  It became The Crucifix Killer.

The Death Sculptor by Chris Carter, published by Simon & Schuster, is out now.

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Darley Anderson Authors Interviews

An Interview with Tim Weaver

Tim Weaver talks to Mary Darby about VANISHED, the third terrifying thriller in the David Raker series…

Who is Tim Weaver?

I’m a writer, a journalist, a dad, a husband, a reader, a football fan, a film and TV obsessive, and a big fan of tea. (Well, I’m British, after all.)

Who is David Raker?

He’s an ex-journalist turned missing persons investigator, a widower, a reader, a football fan, a film obsessive, and a big fan of coffee. You can probably see why we get on so well. He’s also a lot more intelligent than me, stronger, more determined, and less fearful. Probably for the best given all the situations I drop him into.

What is VANISHED about?

VANISHED sees Raker looking into the disappearance of Sam Wren who, on his regular morning commute, gets onto a Tube train – and never gets off again. There’s no trace of him anywhere – no eyewitnesses, nothing on security camera, literally no sign that he ever got off the train. So where has he gone? And how did he vanish?

How did you research for VANISHED? The scenes in the London Underground made me see the tube in a whole new way; did you go down into the tunnels for your research?

I didn’t, no. Since 7/7, security has been ramped up a lot, so it was hard to organise an actual visit to the ghost stations. I tried, but it became a form-filling nightmare that just went on and on, and eventually I had to start writing the book! However, I got the next best thing: a man who’d spent his life working for the Tube, who was just a brilliant source of stories and facts, and a pile of books so high you could use them as a coat stand. Both were invaluable.

Where do you write?

At the moment, our house is undergoing a bit of a change-around, so my study is full of children’s toys. I’m basically homeless inside my own home! For the next couple of months, I’m writing at the dining room table, and using my wife’s old nursing chair (it sounds weird, but – seriously – it’s ridiculously comfortable). It’ll probably stay that way until Book 4 is done, as my submission deadline is in two months and I’m at quite an advanced stage, and then – once we’ve refurbished the other rooms in the house – I’ll finally claim back my study.

When you’re writing, do you prefer a pen or the keyboard? Silence or music? Day or night?

I handwrite a lot of notes, but that’s about as far as my relationship with the pen goes. I use a keyboard to plan and to write the books, I work in total and utter silence (rigorously enforced – just ask my wife), and I write at night ­– not because I’m more inspired at that time, but because I work as a journalist during daylight hours.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve just always been interested in words, in language, and in stories. I’d grown up reading thrillers – adventure thrillers mostly, like Ice Station Zebra and When the Lion Feeds – but, gradually, as I got older, I gravitated towards crime fiction, and in particular American crime fiction. I instantly fell in love with writers like Chandler and MacDonald, as well as modern successors like Michael Connelly. Reading Connelly’s Bosch series – as well as Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan and John Connolly’s Every Dead Thing – cemented my desire to write, and, in particular, to write crime and mystery thrillers.

What’s the worst thing about the writing process?

The stage you hit, between about 40,000 and 70,000 words, where you hate everything you’ve written and start to have serious doubts about its quality. That’s happened with every single book I’ve written, and it’s happening right now, today, on Book 4.

And what do you enjoy most about the writing process?

When a book’s published and you start to read the reviews, and get people’s feedback, and you realise it was all worth it. I love hearing from readers.

Do you ever scare yourself when you’re writing? Those tunnel scenes are very spooky!

I have to be honest, not really. However, I always find it fun when readers get in touch and say the books scared them. It’s pretty hard to scare people from the page, so if I manage it – even once a book – I feel a certain amount of pride!

Do you have any rituals you must perform when writing? Or when you’re about to deliver a new manuscript?

Boringly, no. This is my writing routine:

7.30pm – Cup of tea #1, check the internet, read over last chapter

8pm – Writing

9pm – Cup of tea #2

9.15pm – Writing

11pm – Check the internet, wind down, small edits

11.30-12 – Go to bed, fail to drop off to sleep

And when I finish a manuscript, I breathe a big sigh of relief that I’ve (somehow) managed to do it again, despite all the doubt and the fear and the tiny little voice, chipping away, telling me that I don’t have it in me to finish another book.

What do you like doing when you’re not writing?

Read! I don’t read any books – at all – when I’m writing my own novels because I find it too much of a distraction. So, once a manuscript is done, I catch up on all the reading I’ve been putting off for eight months, and basically just blitz books, back to back. Same goes for films, TV and videogames. Downtime is incredibly important to me, as I’m always trying to ensure my wife and daughter don’t forget what I look like, so I’ll generally try to ensure they’re front and centre when I’m not writing… although I’ll always make time to watch Arsenal and my local side Bath City, as I’m a massive, massive football fan.

Do you have a favourite author/book?

I remember reading Michael Connelly’s The Black Echo back in 1993, and as a fifteen year old I was just completely blown away by it. His run of novels from The Black Ice in ’93 through to Trunk Music  in  ’97 were incredible, so the Bosch series (and also The Poet) will always have a special place in my heart because it feels, as a teenager, like I grew up reading them.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Probably Eighties action movies. You’ve got your classics like Aliens, Robocop, Predator, Die Hard, The Untouchables and The Terminator. No one can argue with those. But then you’ve got a whole lot of pretend-they’re-junk-but-secretly-you-like-quite-them destroyfests like Commando, Rambo III, Cobra, Red Heat and the Chuck Norris double-header Code of Silence (which, actually, is surprisingly good), in which he plays the one good cop in town, and Invasion USA (which, actually, is… er, not that good) in which he defeats THE ENTIRE SOVIET ARMY, and drives a Humvee through a shopping mall. Of course he does.

What are you reading now?

As I said earlier, I don’t read while I’m writing, but I do occasionally listen to audiobooks on the walk into work. Last week, I was listening to a BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of The Long Goodbye and Farewell, My Lovely. Toby Stephens was playing Marlowe, and I have to say, he was absolutely brilliant.

What’s next for Raker?

For Raker? Well, I wouldn’t want to say if you haven’t read the end of VANISHED. For me? I’m 77,639 words into Book 4, and have two months to finish the remaining 20-30,000. It’s something a bit different, that’s taken me out of my comfort zone, so it’s been a challenge (but a good one), even if it’s massaged those doubts even more keenly than usual.

What would be your top tip for aspiring writers hoping to get published?

Persevere. Don’t give up. Finish what you’ve started. Then, when you’ve finished, don’t rush it. Put the manuscript down and forget about it for a couple of months. Then come back to it and see it with fresh eyes. That was the difference between me getting a publishing deal and not. Sometimes it becomes so hard to see the wood from the trees when you know your book so intimately. Time away from it can give you the perspective you need.

VANISHED, published by Penguin, is out now!

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Darley Anderson Authors Interviews

Happy publication day for GONE IN SECONDS by A. J. Cross!

What is GONE IN SECONDS about?
 
The main character of GONE IN SECONDS is Kate Hanson who’s profile is that of a single mother to 12 year old Maisie – so there’s a readily-availabe source of aggravation.  Kate has a full time post as a lecturer in Forensic Psychology/Criminology at the University of Birmingham, which she loves, and she also has a role as a civilian member of the Unsolved Crime Unit at Birmingham’s police headquarters at Rose Road.  In GONE IN SECONDS psychology and police procedure clash resoundingly at times as headstrong Kate and her Force colleagues search for a Repeater operating in the West Midlands, a killer who won’t stop until caught.

So Dr. Kate Hanson is a Forensic Psychologist like you! How much of your experiences in the field do you use in your writing?


Forensic work is extremely confidential and the nature of cases means that they can be very easily identifiable. However, my involvement in cases allows my deviant imagination to roam and produce ideas which are interesting and which I can link to my forensic expertise without jeopardizing real people in any way. 
  
Where do you write?
 
Like Kate, I’d like to call it a study but in reality it’s a spare room in the house which closely resembles a hovel at the moment because I’m so busy with the second book. The desk is layered with papers, emails, notes – you name it, it’s here, although I have to admit that when I do forensic work things aren’t much different. There’s a little, round summerhouse at the end of the garden and I’ve taken my laptop down there occasionally, feeling very authorly, but the weather isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do to make that a regular thing.
 
Do you ever write/take notes for your novels when you’re out and about with work?
 
Do I ever!  Wherever I am: in the supermarket, the post office queue, on an escalator I find myself listening (yes, I know: eavesdropping!) to conversations going on around me – sometimes it’s just a phrase which starts up lots of possibilities, even plot directions inside my head. At other times when I’m out and about or relaxing ideas tend to come. Thank goodness for the iPhone – I’m a big fan of its little yellow legal pad.
 
When you’re writing, do you prefer: a pen or the keyboard? Silence or music?  Day or night?
 
Keyboard every time.  I’m a trained typist – very fast although not always so accurate.  Silence every time. And How about day and night?  I think concentration is my strength which means I can work for hours at a stretch although I try to break it up a bit by dashing off to the gym.
 
What inspired you to start writing?
 
Not sure if ‘inspired’ applies. What happened was that about five years ago my husband, who’s a jazz musician, went to Helsinki for a few days and I decided that we had too many books in the house and they needed winnowing.  Most of what I searched through was crime fiction.  As I sorted them the thought simply arrived in my head: ‘I can do this.’  I’ll never know why or where the underlying confidence came from but soon after I started assembling a plot very similar to GONE IN SECONDS. I was frankly shocked at how quickly the characters appeared.  Through the various drafts subtle changes have occurred but they’re basically the same as when I first ‘met’ them.  At one stage, about two or three years ago, I was so busy with forensic work that I put the writing to one side temporarily. At the risk of sounding fanciful I could almost feel Kate and her colleagues kicking against the side of the box where they were ‘resting’, wanting to get out!
 
What’s next for you?  Will we get to catch up with Dr Kate and her team again soon?
 
I’m thrilled to say ‘Yes, you will.’  The second book is almost complete.  It’s underlying theme is very different from GONE IN SECONDS.  If all goes well I think it will be released around July, 2013.
 
How did you go about finding an agent and getting published?
 
I made a really good investment: I bought a copy of the Writers’ Handbook.  For anyone who doesnt know, it has all the agencies and publishers listed alphabetically along with details of what they do and don’t represent and how to submit work to them. I hardly knew anything at that stage, except that I needed an agent. I sent the first three chapters of GONE IN SECONDS to Darley Anderson because I liked the name. I didn’t realise that they represent some of the top crime authors writing today. Then I got lucky a second time: the chapters were read by Camilla Wray who rang me the following day to say she loved them.  Camilla negotiated an amazing deal with Orion for me as a debut author.  Kate Mills bought GONE IN SECONDS and the second novel and here we are.  To say that I’m grateful to these two clever, young, women is such an understatement.
 
Do you have a favourite book?
 
I have a few relating to different  periods of my life. As a child it was ‘Alice in Wonderland’.  From the age of about seven I was reading Sherlock Holmes.  I sobbed for nearly two days when he and Moriarty plunged over the Falls. Nobody told me at the time that he ‘survived’.  As an adult, Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ is up there for me, as is Ann Rule’s ‘The Stranger Beside Me’. 
 
What are you reading now?
 
I’ve just finished ‘Whoops!’ by John Lanchester which is a clever, funny read about the financial mess we’re in.  Crime reading has skidded to a halt.  After I’d been writing for a little while I became nervous of reading other crime authors in case I ‘absorbed’ their ideas – I don’t know whether that’s a common fear. All I know is that two R. J. Ellory’s are sitting on the shelf just here, looking miffed.
 
What would be your top tips for aspiring writers hoping to get published?
 
Stick at it.  If you get rejected, remind yourself that nobody asked you to write a book – you chose to – send it somewhere else. Take any advice you’re offered with a good heart.  I suspect that there are lots of people who want to write but maybe they don’t believe they can, maybe because they think they’re not educated enough, smart enough, young/old enough.  The one unifying characteristic of all authors is that they didn’t wait around to be invited. They decided they would do it and then they got writing. 

GONE IN SECONDS, published by Orion, is out today!

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Darley Anderson Authors Interviews

An Interview with Jason Dean

Jason Dean was born in South London in 1966. He spent many years as a graphic designer before turning his talent to writing the kind of American thrillers he has always loved reading. He lives in Thailand with his wife and is currently working on his second novel.

In a tweet can you tell us what THE WRONG MAN is about?

When close protection specialist, James Bishop, is imprisoned for the murders of his clients, he plans an elaborate escape in order to find the man who framed him.

Where did the idea come from and how did you research it?

For me, it was a fairly long, drawn out process. I spent a long time filling up notebooks with ideas, characters and scenes – essentially brainstorming with myself – until everything came together satisfactorily. And I’ve continued using that system with each subsequent book, although it doesn’t take as long now.

I research as much as I can at the plotting stage, but the rest I do as I go along. I don’t have any libraries where I live, so the web’s invaluable in that respect, although I do have to double- and sometimes triple-check everything. And, of course, Google Maps and Google Earth are both superb tools for scouting locations, except in some cases, you do actually need to visit the places you’re writing about. At least that’s what I told myself when I went to Arizona to research the second book.
 
How and why did you first start writing?

I wanted to work for myself. And as I’ve been reading and enjoying American thrillers for as long as I can remember, I figured I’d try writing one.
 
How did you go about finding an agent and getting published?

Simple answer: The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. No author should be without a copy. Right from the start the Darley Anderson Agency was my first choice, but the yearbook allowed me to pick out other alternatives in case they weren’t interested. Then I submitted the first three chapters, along with a synopsis and a query letter, to my top three. To my great delight, Camilla Wray at Darley Anderson sent me an email to say she wanted to see more. And then more after that…

Where do you write?  

I’ve got a small office that’s partitioned off from our bedroom with sliding glass doors. I live in a hot country, and since it’s the only room in the house with air conditioning the dogs are usually in there too, snoring away while I work.

What’s next for you? Will we see more of James Bishop?


Definitely. I spent a long time creating Bishop’s history, character and personality, turning him into the ideal protagonist for the kinds of stories I want to tell. So I plan to keep writing him for as long as people let me. He’ll be seen next in the follow-up to The Wrong Man, Backtrack, which will be out early next year. I’m on the last lap of the third Bishop thriller right now, and I’ve already got a pretty good idea of what’s in store for him in the fourth.

 
What do you like doing when you’re not writing?

I guess reading is still my main interest. I’ve always got my head in the pages of something or other. And I’ve always been a movie buff, so going to the cinema and/or watching a DVD. Eating out.
 
What are your favourite books or authors?

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

 
And finally, what would be your top tips for aspiring authors hoping to get published?

I’ve always found the ‘write what you know’ rule far too presumptuous and limiting. Says who, exactly? But I do think you should write what you love. Unless you’re writing children’s fiction, the book you write should be the kind of book you’d want to read yourself.

Also, write every day if you can, even if it’s for a couple of hours in the evening after you’ve finished the day job. Try to get a regular routine going until the act of writing feels like second nature. And set yourself an achievable target, such as a certain amount of words or pages per day, and stick to it.

The Wrong Man by Jason Dean, published by Headline, is out now.

Categories
Editorial Meet the DA team Submissions

Getting to know Camilla Wray – Crime, Thriller & General Fiction Agent

First of all, what is your role at the agency?

I’m the crime, thriller, mystery and general fiction agent at the agency.

Which book changed your life?

This is such a tough one…can I change it to what three books changed my life? I can definitely answer that and can still remember exactly where I was when I read the following books.

Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell was my first crime book and instantly got me addicted. I read it when I was 14 on holiday near Brighton and from then on I was an addicted crime/thriller reader. Cornwell balances character, spine-chilling story and an incredible insight into forensic pathology brilliantly. And she opened up the market to female writers in the genre. 

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy is my next favourite and I have read this book about 30 times. Maeve’s characters get under my skin every time. I think Benny is my all time favourite heroine. She’s honest, funny, clever and brave – all things I’d love my daughter to strive to be – which goes against the current emphasis on looks, weight and money. This makes me really sad as I think it makes people overlook what is the most important part of themselves and also, with all the glam and glitter, you’re just making it harder to be truly happy with your real self.

Lastly Polo by Jilly Cooper. I can still remember sneaking this book off the suitably top shelf at home even though my Mum said I couldn’t read it yet. I’d wait until she’d gone out or to bed and read it leaning against my radiator eating Nutella and toast whilst devouring the life of Rupert Campbell Black. For me, this series of books are genius. Jilly Cooper’s characters grabbed me and left me with a cloud of sadness when I finished. I now often suggest to my authors (who you’ll be amused to learn are usually male!) to read her books just to study how she characterises. Although I guess on paper the characters represent everything opposite to what I love about Circle of Friends, at the heart of the story (and all of this series) good always overpowers bad. In all fiction this is vital. I also love how the victorious characters always have a heart of gold and are misunderstood or overlooked by everyone else until they succeed at the end, and this is very like Maeve and Benny. Everyone loves an underdog.

What book are you waiting for?

Anything that surprises, excites and challenges the reader. Wonderful, real, inspiring characters. Tense cliffhangers that keep you up at night and desperate to tell your friends about. In fact the last bit is the best test as when you find something really special it is so incredibly exciting all you want to do is stop every person you pass on the street and make them read it. This feeling is what makes the submission pile so brilliant and a hugely important part of my job.

You are stranded on a desert island. You can choose one luxury item to take with you, one celebrity guest to join you and you will be granted one wish (which you cannot use to wish yourself off the island). What and who do you pick?

My luxury item would be a pair of goggles, I’d definitely take David Attenborough and my wish would be tougher skin as I’m not sure how long my lobster self would survive in the sunshine.

Share your favourite quotation:
‘Crying wolf is a real danger’ David Attenborough

Categories
Editorial Meet the DA team Submissions

Getting to know Keshini Naidoo – Crime & Thriller Reader

First of all, what is your role at the agency? 

I read all the crime and thriller submissions that we receive at the agency and assess whether they are suitable for us to take on for representation.

Which book changed your life?

The Catcher in the Rye. I read it when I was 9 and it was the first ‘adult’ book I read – and the first one to make me realise that fiction can take you into new worlds far removed from your own life (1950s New York was rather different to 1980s Merseyside).

What book are you waiting for?  

I’d love to read a UK-set police procedural with a complex and engaging main protaganist, pitted against a vicious but cerebral killer. A book that combines the characterisation of George Pelecanos and Ian Rankin with the high-concept plotting of Mark Billingham and the breakneck thrills of Simon Kernick would make my day!

You are stranded on a desert island. You can choose one luxury item to take with you, one celebrity guest to join you and you will be granted one wish (which you cannot use to wish yourself off the island). What and who do you pick?

I would take a bottomless vat of 8-hour cream (I can imagine that all that sunshine would be very drying on the skin …), Adam and Joe for amusement purposes (can they count as one celebrity guest?) and my one wish would be that a mobile library would pop round every Friday to bring me a new selection of books.

Share your favourite quotation:

‘You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me’ C. S. Lewis