Heanor Author's Latest Interview
10th October 2012
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Exerpt from the blog of author Claire Voet:


This month my guest author is mystery, suspense and crime writer Neal James.  It’s been a while since I last had the pleasure of chatting with Neal and so we had quite some catching up to do:

CV: Neal, the last time we chatted you were promoting your novel Two Little Dicky Birds, what have you been up to since then?

NJ:Threads of Deceit’, my 2011 release, is a tale of betrayal and revenge set against the backdrop of the British textile industry. It tells the story of a young man whose future suffers an almost fatal blow when he witnesses something which he was never supposed to see.

CV: I believe many of your books have been written as sequels, what inspires you to write a continuation to a story? For example do you see the potential of a follow on at the end of writing a book or is it simply because you can’t let go of the characters you have created?

NJ: This is something which I’m doing more and more now. ‘Day of the Phoenix.’, which will be next year’s book, picks up where ‘A Ticket to Tewkesbury' left off, and sends the story onwards to the British General Election of 2010. ‘Full Marks’ will also leave a loose end to be exploited in the book I am currently writing, ‘Three Little Maids.’

The potential for a follow–on usually crops up as the story approaches the halfway mark, and I can see the potential for the characters to do something else. Once any character has served its useful purpose, I tend to let it go.

CV: On your website you state that you have completed an 80,000 word project about a Sci-Fi venture, "The Rings of Darelius" What’s the storyline about?

NJ: This is something that I have wanted to do ever since reading Asimov and watching Star Trek. The story is quite simply the tale of a civilisation at the brink of extinction caused by a virus to which it has no natural defence. It arose out of a short story by the same name, and I decided to ‘flashback’ the entire plot to a point in time which would generate the Extinction Level Event.

It’s in four parts, and they track the story over 200 years from a global conflict at one end of the galaxy to the spread of the virus on Darelius (the planet which carries the story title).

CV: Full Marks is the name of your latest published novel, can you please give a brief insight as to what the story is about?

NJ: DCI Dennis Marks is suspended by the IPCC as a result of allegations made against him and framed in an appeal in one of the cases which he handled. It takes the form of seven case files forming the backbone of the complaint, and traces the events of one month, during which time Marks must provide evidence to clear his name.

CV: Neal I’m very much aware of the amount of hard work and dedication that has gone into building your writing career and you have done incredibly well, which countries are your books currently available in now?

NJ: I’ve lost count. The UK and the USA are the major markets, but Googling the ISBN numbers takes me to areas of the world where I never envisaged the books would be available. There are entries for all European countries, the Indian sub-continent, the Far East, South Africa and Japan. The National Library Database of Australia also carries catalogue entries for them all.

CV: Do you have any advice to give to someone wishing to become a published author?

NJ: Believe in your own ability and try not to take seriously the rejections which will inevitably come. I failed to interest any of the established agencies and, quite frankly, am now relieved that none of them took the time to become interested.There is no pressure on me to write at any given time, and I can please myself as to subject matter and deadlines.

Also, never forget to have an independent editor look at your work. My first book, A Ticket to Tewkesbury, was done without taking this route, and there are a number of passages which I would rewrite if I had the time and money.

CV: You have created over the years some really intriguing storylines and wonderfully crafted characters, where do you get your inspiration from?

NJ: All over the place. Snatches of conversation, reading other writers’ work to see the styles they use. I never try to copy passages – that’s plagiarism – but imitation being the sincerest form of flattery gives me insight into what makes one writer successful and another unsuccessful.

I’m an avid TV drama watcher as well, and many story ideas come that way.

CV: If you had to choose one author that you really admire, who would it be and why? (Oh, you can’t choose me by the way!)

NJ: James Patterson. His style of short, punchy, chapters pulls the reader on and on through the book, and his characterisation of Alex Cross as his lead detective is amazing.

CV: Which would you say is your most favourite book that you have written to date?

NJ: That has to be ‘Two Little Dicky Birds’. The initial idea for the pursuit of a serial killer was quite straightforward, but moving the perpetrator up and down the UK threw me into the world of football – something which I’ve loved since childhood. It enabled me to reach back into an era of the game with which I was familiar, without making the book one about the sport in particular. It was a very intricate plot, and help from across the Atlantic from the NYPD gave me the opportunity to set the end of the story in an area where I’ve accumulated numerous friends since 2007.

CV: As I’m sure you will agree crime and mystery dramas are very popular on television, would you like to see any of your novels turned into dramas in the future or would you prefer they stay as books?

NJ: Clearly many authors would like to follow in the footsteps of RD Wingfield, Colin Dexter and Val McDermid. I’m no different, and the thought of ‘Two Little Dicky Birds’ or ‘A Ticket to Tewkesbury’ being televised is very appealing. Books are simply one medium for exposing a writer’s work, and TV brings that to masses more people.

All information relating to Neal's books can be found on his website at: www.nealjames.webs.com

About the Author

Sarah A

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi, I'm Sarah. I've lived in Heanor with my family for over 10 years and I'm passionate about our beautiful little corner of this historical county. If you know of something that's great about our area,...

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