Today, Graham Minett, award-winning writer and author of The Hidden Legacy voluntarily attends the police station for his 5WH interview to mark the paperback launch of his gripping crime thriller Lie In Wait.
A PNC person check reveals that Graham has been a busy boy…
Graham was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and lived there for 18 years before studying for a degree in Modern and Medieval Languages at Churchill College, Cambridge.
He taught for several years, first in Cheltenham and then in West Sussex before opting to go part-time and start an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. Completing the course in 2008, he gained a distinction for the dissertation under the guidance of novelist, Alison MacLeod and almost immediately won the Segora Short Story Competition with ‘On the Way Out’.
Other awards soon followed, most notably his success in the 2010 Chapter One novel competition with what would eventually become the opening pages of his debut novel. He was signed up by Peter Buckman of the Ampersand Agency, who managed to secure a two-book deal with twenty7, the digital-first adult fiction imprint of Bonnier Publishing.
“The Hidden Legacy” was published as an eBook in November 2015 and the paperback version was published in August 2016. The second book in the deal, entitled “Lie in Wait“, was published as an eBook in August 2016 and the paperback version hits the shelves in bookshops around the country today, the 9th March 2017.
Graham lives with his wife and children in West Sussex but retains close links with the rest of his family in Cheltenham.
So, deep in the bowels of the custody suite, with the interview room door locked, the tapes running and Graham handcuffed to his chair
just because we can for safety reasons, the 5WH interview begins…
Who would be your four ideal companions on a Caribbean holiday (family excluded)?
• Maggie O’Farrell – she can read her entire collection of novels to me as the sun goes down
• Joni Mitchell – she can provide the music and the poetry
• Justin Trudeau – the man has to have a fault but I haven’t found it yet
• Chris Whitaker, author of Tall Oaks – just to clean the drains and buy the drinks
With my luck, I’d probably get off with Whitaker. Such is life.
What has surprised you most about being a published author?
• The amazing support from bloggers and reviewers who read over 200 books a year but still find time to champion the novels of those writers they like• The friendship of other writers, even from other publishing houses but especially from Bonnier Zaffre who give the lie to the idea that writing is a solitary business and that all novelists are essentially selfish and difficult to deal with
• The fact that when you get your two-book deal you struggle to find time to write the damned thing – why does no one ever tell you that?
When did you meet with success as a writer for the first time?
At Naunton Park Junior School way back in the Paleolithic era. We were given a homework exercise that required us to write a short story. I wrote five pages and everyone was amazed until Robert Williams came into the playground and announced he’d done seven. I went home that night and handed in eleven pages the following morning and everyone was talking about ME again, not Robert Williams.
When I hear authors answering the question ‘Why do you write?’ and they come out with answers such as ‘Because it defines me, because it’s who I am, because otherwise I cannot conceive of anything else I would do’ I remember Robert Williams and my deep-seated, desperately sad need for approval.
Why GJ rather than Graham?
If it was to disguise the fact that I’m male, as some have suggested, it was a dismal failure as every form of social media has a photo of the least feminine-looking person imaginable. Part of it was because Graham is an old-fashioned name nowadays – I’m not sure I’ve taught a Graham in the past 30 years. There was also an element of marketing though and I’ve been thrilled to read in some reviews that the reader assumed it was written by a woman. I regard that as quite a compliment.
Where is your next book set?
Lie In Wait – ahem! out already as an eBook and to appear as a paperback on March 9th – is set almost entirely in the Bognor Regis and Chichester area which was very handy as it reduced to a minimum the amount of geographical research I needed to do.I’m currently about 50,000 words into book 3 which has a working title I’m not even going to bother telling you because past experience suggests it will be changed before long. That is set in the Rye, Camber Sands, Winchelsea area and also on Peaks Island, just off the coast of Maine. I’m thinking of writing a novel set in Turks & Caicos if I can ever get away with claiming it against expenses. I’m guessing I’d probably need to be there for about 6 months.
Plan – every time. For Lie In Wait, before I’d written a single word, I knew there would be 83 scenes and I also knew how each scene would move the story forward and what it would reveal about a character, usually Owen Hall. I can know the character inside out but unless I manage to include in the book all those little details that go to make her/him real to me, the reader is never going to know that character the way I do. Works for me – others will have their own way of going about it.
Just a quick word to finish – my thanks go to Mike Thomas for a fantastic idea here. Writing blogs can be a bit samey (such a wordsmith!) but the set up for 5WH is fresh, original and fun. Thoroughly enjoyed it – hope you did too.
Lie In Wait, Graham’s new paperback is out now. What’s it about? Read on…
A man is dead. A woman is missing. And the police have already found their prime suspect…
Owen Hall drives into a petrol station to let his passenger use the facilities. She never comes back – and what’s more, it seems she never even made it inside.
When Owen raises a fuss, the police are called – and soon identify Owen himself as a possible culprit – not least because they already have him in the frame for another more sinister crime.
Owen’s always been a little different, and before long others in the community are baying for his blood. But this is a case where nothing is as it seems – least of all Owen Hall…
A dark, addictive thriller, ingeniously plotted with a twist that will make you gasp, LIE IN WAIT is perfect for readers of Angela Marsons or Rachel Abbott.
Next month we’re delighted to have Stav Sherez being dragged into the cells and hosed down with water, before questioning him and maybe giving him a prisoner’s microwave meal if he behaves. Come back in April!