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….
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Unforgivable by Mike Thomas! Unforgivable is the second in the Will MacReady series, about a detective working in Cardiff and following on from Ash And Bones. Here’s Mike to talk about some excellent writing commandments and don’t forget to look out for my review coming later on today.
5 Writing Commandments to Live By
Every writer has Things That Work For Them. Y’know, those rituals and self-imposed guidelines and downright oddball things they do just to get a couple of pages out during a working day. Some author chums don’t wash much and live – surrounded by coffee cups and cigarette butts and a cat – in their PJs. Nabokov and Hemingway used to write standing up. Hell, Dan Brown whacks on a pair of gravity boots and hangs upside down just to get in the right frame of mind for typing about stolen maps and Jesus and old stuff with dusty clues on.
Personally, I like to wear as little clothing as possible, but we won’t get into that too much as it involves skimpy underwear, nipple tassels, and mood music. Instead, here’s five slightly more palatable suggestions for successful writing…
Get Those Pesky Words Out
Your magnum opus ain’t going to write itself, so aim for 1,000 words a day, minimum. Sit down, stop being all tortured artist – ‘I can’t work in these conditions!’ *checks Twitter for the 37th time that morning* – and do some work, because that is what writing a novel is: work. It isyour job. Even if you don’t hit that magical 1k (and why not?) at least you’ll have something on the page. Something is better than The Flashing Cursor of Uselessness….
To continue reading, click here
About Bloomin’ Brilliant Books
My name is Abbie and I’m a Yorkshire lass. I love Alaskan Malamutes, rock music and, of course, books.
Bloomin’ Brilliant Books was set up in 2016 to connect with other readers and share great books, to support authors and publishers, and to have my reviews all in one accessible place to help me remember the books I have read and loved (I have the memory span of a goldfish!). The blog has steadily grown and I was delighted to have won the Best Newcomer in 2017’s Annual Blogger’s Bash awards.
Today I am taking part in the blog tour for Unforgivable by Mike Thomas. I’m chuffed to bits to be a part of this and to be sharing my review AND I have a brilliant guest post from Mike on his three favourite supporting characters in his novels. I will hand you over to Mike and then check out the blurb and my review of Unforgivable…
The Three Favourite Supporting Characters in My Novels
It’s always enjoyable writing your protagonist’s story and pushing them around on the page – go here, you swine! – but what I often find more entertaining, certainly if my hero or heroine is having an off day, is writing supporting characters. They’re often great fun, because they’re not really as important (but they’re still very important), and therefore the pressure’s off and there’s more freedom to do things with them that you couldn’t do with your main character. They also act as a counterpoint to your protagonist, and a means to demonstrate your main character’s personality or behaviour without doing the old ‘telling’.
Just look at Saul Goodman in ‘Breaking Bad’, or Bunk in ‘The Wire’, or The Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. And what about Ron and Hermione in the Potter books? All of them, fully-formed and interesting supporting characters that add further depth and shade to the protagonist and the story itself.
So who are the three favourite supporting characters in my novels? Which of them were the most interesting and gratifying to write? Let’s take a look…
1. DC Warren Harrison – rotund, perpetually eating and wrapped in a fug of smoke, ‘Wazza’ is the ‘senior man’ – in age, not rank – on the team of CID officers who feature in the MacReady novels, ‘Ash and Bones’ and ‘Unforgivable’. An old sweat who has seen it all…
To continue reading (and to see Abbie’s review), click here