1) So, who are you & what have you written?
In short: a fortysomething, six feet six, seventeen stone ex-cop turned author and writer-for-hire. I live with my family in the recently-burned-down middle of Portugal, having moved here four of years ago. I was a police officer in South Wales for more than two decades, working the Valleys and the capital city, Cardiff.
My first two novels – Pocket Notebook and Ugly Bus – were published by William Heinemann and longlisted for various awards, and I was a Waterstones New Voice in 2010. I’m now with Bonnier Zaffre, who are releasing the MacReady crime novels. The first, Ash and Bones, was published last year while the follow-up, Unforgivable, was out last week. If you do the Twitter and fancy abusing an ex-plod in real time but without the risk of being struck with a baton in reply, I’m @ItDaFiveOh. Come say hello.
2) Why do you write crime fiction?
I always wanted to write crime fiction. My protagonist, DC Will MacReady, has already featured in three novels written between 2004 and 2007, and which will never see the light of day as they are unimaginably awful. But they were my very steep learning curve; I’ve always written and thought – misguidedly – that as I was also a cop then writing a crime novel would be an absolute doddle. So I put MacReady away and got side-tracked doing a couple of ‘literary’ novels and it was after those that I thought I had the tools to bring him out, dust him down and do a proper job. So far nobody has stopped me. Maybe they’re scared due to my size.
3) What informs your crime writing?
Human beings are endlessly fascinating. I’m a real people watcher, and while in the police I used to spend a lot of time trying to work out why we treat each other the way we do because sometimes we really are cruel to one another. In the end I just realised as a species we are brilliant but not a little bit stupid. I dealt with a lot of awful things in the job, too, so writing is a little bit cathartic. My first novel just poured out of me in a rage – I hated being a cop by that point, it had turned me into a person I didn’t really like very much….