Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a crime writer?
I’ve always written, since my teenage years. I cut my teeth on short stories, then moved onto novels – I have four of my unpublished ones under the bed. My adage is not, Write what you know, it’s Write what you’d like to read. I love reading crime and I love Greece but I searched in vain for crime novels set in Greece, so I decided to write my own.
Tell us something about yourself that your readers probably don’t already know?
I used to fly aeroplanes, having qualified as a pilot in the late 80’s. My licence is long-lapsed now, but I still love flying.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book?
The Greek Detective series is based on the Seven Deadly Sins, and The Feast of Artemis is based on the sin of gluttony. There’s food everywhere in the book, all sorts of Greek delights. Readers are suggesting I should follow it up with a book of recipes.
Where do you get your ideas from for your stories?
My ideas come from peace and quiet. I rarely have the radio or TV on at home, and I spend a lot of time walking my dog. Quiet and solitude make fertile ground for the imagination.
Percentage-wise, how much time do you spend researching and how much time do you spend writing?
10% research, 90% writing. I’m not working in an area of fiction which calls for close attention to factual accuracy.
Are there any writers that have influenced you as a writer?
Agatha Christie is my heroine; her plotting remains unbeaten to this day. And I love some of the Victorian/Edwardian writers – Wilkie Collins, JS LeFanu, MR James – because they were so brilliant at creating atmosphere. In contemporary crime writing, Michael Connelly, Denis Lehane and Don Winslow are all brilliant, I learn a lot from them.
How hard is it to keep coming up with different/alternative ways to kill someone off?
Dead easy! I just let my imagination roam.
Are you one of those writers who wake in the middle of the night with ideas for plots, new story etc.?
Very definitely, and I always act on small-hours inspiration. I keep a notebook by the bed, and start writing, sometimes just for a few minutes, sometimes for a couple of hours. My imagination is very fertile during that strange, silent time.
Have you ever had writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a luxury those on a contract can’t afford. I sit down, pick up a pen and write something, anything. Sometimes it’s hard but the words start to flow within an hour or so.
If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
It’s still a dream of mine to be self-sufficient, so I think I would have tried that – a bit of land, a few chickens. Or I might have been a chef – I love to cook.
How long did it take you to get your first book published?
A long time. I served a long apprenticeship until someone wanted to pay money for my work. I signed my first contract at the age of forty-something.
Do you have a set daily writing routine?
Yes, I start very early, about 5am. By 2pm, I’m done creatively, and move on to other things – non-fiction pieces, blogs, walking the dog.
If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
I’d write ghost stories. I love them, but they’re hard to do well.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Ask yourself why you’re getting into writing. If it’s to make money, forget it. If it’s a compulsion, just keep going, but don’t expect overnight success. Writing’s a craft, and it takes years to become competent.
Are there any crime fiction books that you wish you’d written?
The Winter of Frankie Machine, by Don Winslow. It hooks the reader from the first page, even though logically – if you know any theory of crime-writing - it shouldn’t.
When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?
I take a couple of days off, and write nothing. It’s bliss. Then the compulsion returns, and I start something new.
Thanks to the lovely people at Midas PR I have a copy of The Feast of Artemis to give away to one lucky winner. To enter follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below, entries will close at midnight on 6th July when the winner will be selected and contacted for postal address. Good luck x