As you may know, we are working with the awesome publisher Urbane Publications. We recently had a phone chat with one of their authors, crime writer Kevin Murray. Some of our chat is below, for your enjoyment…
Can you tell us a bit about your book ‘Blood of the Rose’?
It’s a story about the relationship between a smart, fast track Scotland Yard detective and a beautiful Fleet Street journalist as they hunt for a serial killer called “The Rose”. The killer is so named because he always leaves a red rose at the scene of every killing. The reason for this is part of the mystery and involves a dreadful secret hidden away from even the killer, a secret that has a terrible impact on the lives of people of two different generations. Set in London in the 1980s, it starts with the bizarre crossbow murder of a prominent London newspaper editor, father of the journalist, and reaches its climax at St Paul’s Cathedral.
What inspired you to write the book?
My recent blog post “Inspiration? It’s criminal” covers this is in more detail, but essentially as a crime journalist I was always fascinated by forensics and how the most complex crime could be solved by the smallest, seemingly most insignificant piece of evidence. This was a time long before the wonders of CSI that we are now so used to, when forensics was a new and exciting field of police work.
Is it part of a series? Are you planning any more?
I have so many more ideas for books, and have started a time travel – based thriller romance. But I do have a big plot in mind as a follow-up to Blood of The Rose, involving some of the same characters. This one would be set in the 1990s. If readers tell me that’s what they would like, I can easily set the time travel book aside and return to the hero of Blood Of The Rose.
Who do you think will enjoy reading the book?
It seems to appeal to a wide range of people, men and woman, young and old. However, a word of warning! It isn’t for the fainthearted. When I wrote it, I wanted it to be, above all, a page turner, a book that would lure people in and keep them going even if crime wasn’t their favourite genre.
When did you start writing books and why?
Like most journalists I always believed that I had a book in me. But there is a huge difference between having a booking in you and having a book on the page. Writing a book involves a huge amount of research, a lot of discipline and a burning desire to get your ideas onto a page so that they can hold a reader’s interest. I have now written three books, including two bestselling books on leadership, and have built a career on storytelling and writing. What drives me is a need to share ideas and entertain, to tell stories that grip and enthral people. Even my two management books contain whole lot of really good stories.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
The feedback on Blood of the Rose has been very consistent. People complain about losing sleep as they find themselves unable to put the book down. One of the best pieces of feedback I had was written as an official complaint – the reader stated that they had not been able to function normally at work as a result of staying up late and had to survive on minimum sleep. Some people like the character development and the interplay between the three main characters, while others have said they loved being in the mind of the killer without knowing who it was. Overall what’s most satisfying is that it seems to have achieved my objective of making it a page turner.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I have made a career out of writing and the one thing I know is that short sentences aid clarity and understanding. As a trainee journalist I had to learn to write the introduction to my stories in less than 25 words, never starting a sentence with “The” or “A”. Try it, it’s quite demanding. The more you can make your writing feel as if you are speaking, the better. But above all, writing is about discipline. You have to have the discipline to sit down and put in the hours. Then you have to have the discipline to get the book out of you and onto a page. And finally you have to have the discipline to edit it ruthlessly to make sure it is engaging and that the writing doesn’t get in the way of the story.
Which authors, dead or alive, inspire your writing?
Mainly crime fiction writers – from the Golden greats like James Hadley Chase, John D McDonald, or Ed McBain, to modern authors like Lee Child, Robert Harris, Deon Meyer, Michael Connelly, Peter James and John Grisham.
When is your book available to purchase and from where?
It’s available now and from Amazon obviously. But ideally I’d love for readers to head to their local bookshop and order a copy – I think it’s vital to support bookshops and if enough people start ordering a copy it may even persuade the bigger bookshops to take some stock! The ebook is also available direct from my publisher: http://urbanepublications.com/books/blood-of-the-rose/