Hello, my name is Chris McDonald. I am a 31-year-old primary school teacher and I live in Marple, which is just south of Manchester. I have two wonderful children and an equally wonderful wife. I started a blog last January to try and force me to read more. As I was reading an assortment of great crime books, an idea I’d had ten years ago at university came back to me, and I thought I’d have a go at getting it down on paper. It snowballed from there!
If you had to give an elevator pitch for A Wash of Black, what would it be?
IT'S NOT LIFE THAT IMITATES ART. IT'S DEATH.
Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead.
When the body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago, DI Erika Piper must find the culprit; the media-dubbed ‘Blood Ice Killer.’ Having recently returned to work after suffering a near fatal attack herself, she must once again prove her worth. But when another body is found, and the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must put her demons aside and crack the case, or suffer the deadly consequences.
How did the title come about?
It’s working title was Neck Deep, for no other reason than I love the band. When I was searching for a quote to put at the start of the book (I love a good quote) relating to the story, this one from Da Vinci came up, and I thought it was perfect!
‘A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.’What attracted you to writing a series as opposed to a standalone novel?
Originally, my intention was to write one book and call that a victory. When I finished it, I thought that the main character, DI Erika Piper, had more of a story to tell. I love books where you grow attached to the character, and you go keep going back to the books because of them. The crime scene is awash with amazing characters at the minute – you only have to think of the Rebus series by Ian Rankin and the Thorne series by Mark Billingham. The DCS Frankie Sheehan by Olivia Kiernan and the Sam Shephard series by Vanda Symon were both massive inspirations when I was writing these! So, I came up with a second story, expanded on Erika’s journey and I really hope the readers enjoy Erika as much as I do!
As a blogger how are you feeling now that the shoe is on the other foot and it's your own novel that's now out in the world being reviewed?
Red Dog asked me if I thought authors had to have a big ego, and I said no. Now, having read a few early reviews, I think I have to change my mind! I’ve been over the moon with the kind words. It really does make you feel like you’re on cloud 9! I also suffer from imposter syndrome – I can’t really believe that all these lovely words are being said about me! I would like everyone to know that I appreciate the time and effort readers have put in. As a blogger, I know that we do it for the love of the books and the fact that people are taking time to read mine is mind-blowing!
Have you got anything exciting planned to celebrate publication day?
Sadly, I’ll be at work. Though perhaps I’ll take some treats into the staffroom to celebrate. Then maybe a Domino’s for dinner!
Finally what can we expect from you next?
I’m writing All I Hear Are Whispers - the follow up to A Wash of Black. I’m really enjoying it and I’d say it’s a little bit darker! I’ve tentatively thought about a plot for the third book too. I also hope to attend a few crime festivals and meet some readers!
A Wash of Black is available to buy via Amazon, paperback or Hardback copies can be purchased direct from Red Dog Press.
Follow Chris on Twitter @cmacwritescrime or via his blog Mac Reviews Books to see what books he has recently read or is currently reading.