#Guest #Author #GrahamBartlett @gbpoliceadvisor author of his #Debut #Novel #BadForGood #published 23.06.2022 by @AllisonandBusby

Graham Bartlett after signing 1500 Limited Edition copies of Bad For Good at Goldsboro Books London

JW: Thank you so much Graham for being a guest on my blog, it is a huge honour! 

JW: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? In those days of fighting crime, did you think about writing a fiction novel then?

GB: I’m so unlike many authors in that I had no thoughts of being a writer until I was in my later 40s. As with most things in my life, it all happened by accident. Peter James had been a friend for a few years and saw a blog I wrote. He called me up and said he liked my writing style, describing it as ‘not quite of a commercial standard but workable.’ He followed that up with a suggestion that we write a non-fiction of the stories that inspired the Roy Grace novels. So, the Best Seller, Death Comes Knocking was born. I did most of the writing and he tidied it up, but I got the bug and am now so proud I’m going to be a solo published author.

JW: Where did the inspiration for Bad For Good come from, it is a quite unique and realistic plot!

GB: It all started with me getting angry with the swinging cuts the police were suffering. I imagined what would happen if it got much worse. Would vigilantism take over as the crime control method of choice? And what if that was sponsored by corrupt officials? That was the birth of Bad of Good and I weaved it into a world I was very familiar with so, hopefully, that’s where the terrifying authenticity comes from.

JW: Who would you like to see playing the part of DS Jo Howe, if /when Bad For Good is made into a TV series?

GB; Keeley Hawes! She wasn’t in mind when I wrote Jo but I know she’d play such a complex, driven yet vulnerable character perfectly.

Keeley Hawes

JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

GB: When I was very young, I loved the Narnia stories as the worlds and adventures they took me on were spellbinding. I remember then picking up When the Lion Feeds, by Wilbur Smith and similarly lost myself in this time a real, yet far away, world. His storytelling just drew me in and that started my love of books. In terms of the TV, it has to be The Professionals. I loved it so much that I remember my police -officer uncle, no doubt prompted by my dad, sitting me down to check that I knew the force I’d set my sights on joining wasn’t actually like that!

JW: As we’re now in May, which book that you’ve read this year has been your favourite? OR which are you most looking forward to?

GB: Wow, there are so so many! I think I’ll plump for Truth be Told by Kia Abdullah. The themes she fearlessly explores around class, privilege, race and religion are so powerfully woven into a gripping race to the truth, it left me quite breathless.

I can’t wait for The Murder Book by Mark Billingham. His Thorne stories, and the standalone, are utterly addictive and so brilliantly written it makes me sick! He’s a friend so I can say that!

JW: Have you ever been starstruck by meeting one of your heroes in real life?

GB: I love Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X books. The whole concept of an orphan who escapes a black ops programme to go around helping desperate people, in the most violent ways you could imagine, is stunning. But it’s his writing which really brings it alive. There is not a wasted syllable, and his descriptive powers and similes are inspired. In 2018, I’d had a few beers at Harrogate Crime Festival when someone, out of the blue, introduced him to me. Well, I fawned over him, quoting brilliant lines I remembered. I could tell he was bored, despite smiling nicely. Thankfully someone ushered me away before I made a complete fool of myself!

JW: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

GB: No hesitation – bringing up triplets to become the wonderful young adults they are now. My wife, Julie, and I always put them first. She gave up her job and I did what I could not to get unnecessarily sucked into work so we could be there for them. Now we have a police officer (who’s also a high-level football referee), a nurse and an astrophysics PhD (don’t ask!) We couldn’t be more proud of Conall, Niamh and Deaglan.

JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

GB: The 1966 World Cup final. I love football and it would have been great to see what would become a once in a lifetime victory for England. The young, poorly paid, un-pampered men who brought the country the pride we so needed, probably wasn’t as appreciated as it would have been if they’d known what footballing failures we’d become and how mollycoddled today’s players are.

JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

GB: It might sound corny, but my family. I still adore spending time with the ‘kids’ (I watch Conall being abused by players and crowds alike most Saturdays at Football) and just enjoying their company as funny, intelligent grown-ups. I love it that two still live at home, and they’re 25 in July!

JW: Can you share a shelfie with us? (A photo of your bookshelf)

GB: One of many bookshelves in my home.

JW: If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

GB: Wilbur Smith – to suck up every ounce of his advice and hopefully learn that he suffered from imposter syndrome too.

Alexander Hamilton – I’m fascinated with his story (borne from the musical, I’ll admit) but would love to know how it felt to build a nation amongst such hostility.

Doreen Lawrence – To say sorry on behalf of the police service (although I had nothing to do with the Metropolitan Police then or now) and to hear how a mother could show such dignity in the wake of such tragedy and injustice.

Oscar Wilde – He’d just be fascinating, but I’d love to hear how it was to suffer the horrors of being punished just for being who you were.

JW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

GB: Be kind and if you can’t be kind, be quiet.

JW: What’s next? What are you currently working on??

GB: As well as advising dozens of authors and TV writers, I’m editing the second in the Jo Howe series and writing Book 3. I’m really putting her through it by the way!

You can find Graham Bartlett’s website HERE


You can BUY Bad For Good HERE

#GuestAuthor #ChrisMacDonald @cmacwritescrime #Q&A #Stonebridge #DIErikaPiper @RedDogTweets

J: As always huge thanks to you Chris for being my Blog Guest this week.

J: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of The Stonebridge Mysteries come from?

C: Writing is always something that I thought I’d like to have a go at, though I always thought that writers were untouchable rockstars! I never thought normal people like me could be an author. The Stonebridge idea came from being homesick during Lockdown 1. My flights back to Northern Ireland were cancelled and I was missing my family, so decided to write something quite light-hearted set in my hometown (which I subsequently changed the name of!) I wanted it to be a different thing to the Erika Piper series, and I was loving the Cherringham series by Neil Richards and Matt Costello and wanted to write something in a similar vein.

J: Did you base the characters of Adam Whyte and Colin McLaughlin on anyone?

C: When I write them, I see myself very much as Adam and my best friend Colin as Colin! I’m shorter, he’s much more athletic and we both love an adventure. In one of the books, Adam has a man bun, which I’ve never had (and my wife would never allow it) so sometimes I live my dreams out through the characters!

J: Who would you like to see playing the parts of Adam and Colin, if The Stonebridge Mysteries were turned into a TV series? (I could SO see this happening!)

C: I’d love to see it on screen! I think because Colin is ginger, I could see Rupert Grint in that role. I think he could nail Colin’s laid-back nature. As for Adam, I think Tom Holland would be a good choice. He has that geeky but still cool attitude nailed down, though I think asking both of them to do TV would be a no-go!

J: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

C: I loved the Hardy Boys as a kid; I remember reading the series when I was in primary school. It was the first series I remember loving. Then, I discovered Harry Potter and then crime took over. The first series I remember reading was Richard Montanari’s Byrne and Balzano. I remember a crime scene where someone was torn apart by a chainsaw, and it opened my eyes to how barbaric books could be!

J: What is your favourite book you read in 2021?

C: 2021 was a great year for books. I loved both books by Will Carver (The Beresford and Psychopaths Anonymous), The Stranger Times by C.K. McDonnell was fantastic, but the overall winner was Vine Street by Dominic Nolan –  it was so rich in detail, the characters were memorable and I was totally immersed by the end of page 1. I was also lucky enough to be sent books that are coming out in 2022 – particular favourites were Jack Jordan’s Do No Harm and Brian McGilloway’s The Empty Room. The new one from Neil Lancaster is an absolute belter, too. Away from crime, Steven Kedie has written a book about a long jumper’s rivalry across many years and competitions. It was absolutely brilliant.

J: Do you have a favourite Author? Or a favourite book of all time?

C: I have authors who I will drop everything for – Will Carver, Olivia Kiernan, Matt Wesolowski, Mick Herron – though I’m not sure I could pinpoint a favourite. Also, getting to know these people has been a true delight. My favourite book ever is a massive decision – one I’m not sure I’m up to. The first Harry Potter was such a formative book for me, and recently We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker has been the one that I recommend to anyone! Sorry for being so non-committal!

J: Your DI Erika Piper Series are more gritty and serious than Stonebridge, Will you be writing anymore?

C: I’ve just signed a new contract with Red Dog for 6 more Stonebridge Mysteries, so that’s going to be my main priority for a while. After finished Roses For The Dead, I was sure I was finished with Erika, but I have something brewing in my head. After Roses For The Dead, it felt like a logical place to leave it. She might return, but not for a while yet.

J: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

C: Great question!! I don’t know if it can be considered a historical event or not (to me it absolutely is!), but I would’ve loved to be in the crowd at Nirvana’s appearance at the Reading Festival in 1992. Kurt Cobain is a hero of mine, and to see him come out on the wheelchair, before launching into Breed would’ve been a dream. When I first started learning guitar, I watched this gig so many times. They were the biggest band in the world and it was also their final gig in the UK. It would’ve been cool to say I’d been there. Sadly, I was only 4!

J: If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

C: I would invite Bob Mortimer, as I think he would provide an evening of wonderful entertainment. I loved Shooting Stars when I was a kid (highly inappropriate, probably!) and his fishing show is an absolute treat! I think Stephen King would be good, as I’m sure he has many stories, and some of his magic might rub off on me! I’m a massive Frank Turner fan, and he always comes across as a very cool guy. He might also get his acoustic out, which would be awesome! As a massive football fan (I’m a Liverpool fan), I’d invite Jurgen Klopp. I would love to hear all about the behind the scenes of winning the league and whatnot. Those four would make it an awesome night.

J: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

C: New Zealand, for two reasons. Firstly, I think it looks beautiful, and two, I’m a massive fan of the Flight of the Conchords. If I could be transported, that’d be fantastic, as the length of flight puts me off!

J: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

C: With regards to writing, it was something John Connelly said. It was ‘even if you are feeling tired, move the story on a little each day, even if it is only by one sentence.’ It’s a great piece of advice because I often think “Eughh, I can’t be bothered today”, but I always feel better for having sat down in front of the laptop.

J: Do you have a hidden talent?

C: Not really! I like doing lots of things – I like drawing but I’m not great at it, I love playing football but I’m bang average. I play the guitar and used to be pretty good, but my skills have depleted due to a lack of practice. Perhaps my crowning achievement is having a song I wrote (Fakes And Mistakes) for my university band (Oxygen Therapy) featured on Loaded’s website as the song of the month. For a 19-year-old, that was pretty cool

Loaded Magazine

J: Are you currently writing another book?

C: Yes, just as I finish this wonderful Q&A, I am about to go back and open the document entitled Mile High City. It is about a PI called Irving Ash, who has been hired to track down a missing porn star. It is set in Denver, Colorado, and is quite violent and sweary. I think it’ll be a standalone, so anything could happen! I’m hoping to have the second edit done in the next few days, but who knows if it’ll ever see the light of day. I’ve loved writing it!

J: Thank you Chris MacDonald for your fabulous answers and some exclusives! It’s been great to get to know you better!

About Chris MacDonald
Chris McDonald grew up in Northern Ireland before settling in Manchester via Lancaster and London.

He is the author of the DI Erika Piper series A Wash of Black, Whispers In The Dark and Roses for the Dead. He has also recently dabbled in writing cosy crimes, in the shape of The Stonebridge Mysteries, as a remedy for the darkness. 

He is a full-time teacher, husband, father to two beautiful girls and a regular voice on The Blood Brothers Podcast. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs.

You can buy all of Chris MacDonalds Books at Red Dog Press HERE

Follow Chris MacDonald on Twitter Facebook Instagram

#GuestChat with #HarryFisher @HFwritesCrime #Author of #WayBeyondALie @HobeckBooks

Welcome to my Guest Author this week, Harry Fisher, Author of the DS Mel Cooper series – Be Sure Your Sins & Way Beyond A Lie

I’d like to start by asking, what jobs you have done before becoming a full-time writer, and was it something you always wanted to do?

I had a career in telecoms and computing before taking redundancy and setting myself up in business as a training consultant – in Management and IT skills. The latter was hard work but great fun, and helping trainees, was incredibly rewarding. But was it what I always wanted to do? Em, no. Alpine guide, forensic scientist, international bestselling author – one of those, probably.

Way Beyond A Lie seems to be a story warning us of the dangers of the modern world, what inspired you to write it?

Cliché alert – I always fancied the idea of writing a book. The problem was finding a story that held water, then my wife disappeared from sight one day in a supermarket – temporarily, I hasten to add – and that’s where the idea came from. All my books have a technological element so that’s what brought the “dangers of the modern world” bit in. I didn’t plan it, instead it evolved, and the more I researched it the more relevant these dangers became. Some of the tales I heard about people falling victim would break your heart. In one case, the bank and the police strongly advised an individual they were being scammed but they still went ahead and lost a high six-figure sum. Hard to imagine how you live with that.

I found Ross McKinlay’s character to be very naive and wanted to shout at him! Why did you make him so out of touch with technology?

Poor Ross. He has no kids, no one to drag him into the 21st Century by insisting he learn and use all things IT. As an accountant, there was always someone in the practice to provide him with the support he needed, so he didn’t have to bother. So technology just kind of passed him by. But he’s not unusual actually – we have several friends not much older than Ross who utterly refuse to do Internet Banking, who spurned Zoom during Lockdown, who want nothing to do with social media … and on and on. So yes, he may have been naïve, or maybe he was just the type of guy who trusted people because he didn’t see the bad in everybody.

Who would you like to see playing the parts of Ross McKinlay and DS Mel Cooper, if Way Beyond A Lie is turned into a TV Show/Movie?

Oh my gosh, I’m asked this all the time and it doesn’t get any easier to answer. But definitely Dougray Scott for Ross – he’s an excellent actor, and he and I support the same football team, as does Ross. I’ll tag him on the post for your blog … unless anybody out there knows him and can pass this on. Mel is far more tricky because I can’t think of a Scottish actor who is the right fit. But then again, does Mel have to be Scots? If the voice and the attitude are right, she could be a Geordie or from Yorkshire

Dougray Scott

DS Mel Cooper is a strong female Detective in Way Beyond A Lie and Be Sure Your Sins, is it important to have a strong Female character in your books?

I guess it’s not about whether the female character is strong, it’s about whether every character has something about them that the reader loves, or really doesn’t like, or makes them feel something – anything. When Mel and Andrew first appeared in Way Beyond A Lie, so many people (including people I’d never met so they had no allegiance) told me they loved the characters so it was a no-brainer to give them their own series. Just one thing, though – as a reader I was fed up of lead police characters always having baggage or major flaws in their psyche so I decided (for better or worse) that Mel would just be a straightforward honest hardworking cop whose only motivation was to catch the bad guys. Any baggage she has is just the normal crap that life throws at most of us to deal with.

As a child growing up, were you a book reader? Do you have a favourite childhood book?

Yes. I read lots. Don’t have a favourite childhood book but the Biggles series by Capt W.E.Johns – I read it over and over. Airborne derring-do against the dastardly Baron Von Richthofen – France, WW1.

Biggles by Captain W.E Johns

What is your favourite book you’ve read this year and why?

Blackout by Simon Scarrow. Berlin, late 1930s, world-weary detective trying to operate while under the threat of the Nazi party’s excesses against the Jews and any other section of society they deemed unworthy. Scarrow’s attention to detail is meticulous, I read a few of his books about Roman times, they were fab too. The reason I liked Blackout is that it’s set in a period of history I’m very interested in and have read widely.

What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received?

The travel bug. (Some bugs are good bugs). But see next question …

Tell us something we don’t know about you!

I’ve climbed over 300 mountains, mostly with my wife, Shiona, and a few with friends. In Scotland, we have “The Munros” – mountains over 3000 feet, some have a sea-level start or are miles from the nearest road so quite an undertaking. Some we’ve climbed in full-on winter conditions – ice axes, crampons, frozen fringes, the works. We’ve also hiked extensively in the French Alps, and our honeymoon was a three-day snowshoe trek down a series of glaciers near Mt Blanc, carrying all our own food and equipment and staying in remote mountain huts (no showers!) Also, we’ve hiked mountain trails across Europe and in Tasmania, Canada and New England. In fact, I began working on the plot for Way Beyond A Lie while on a 7-day solo walking holiday in the Julian Alps, Slovenia.

The Munro Mountains, Scotland, UK

If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

I’d like to have witnessed the mass immigration into the USA at Ellis Island (NY) from Europe and followed the experiences of some of those who made it through. We visited Ellis Island on a trip to NYC and it was far and away the best thing we did. Such an atmosphere. Such amazing tales from the tour guide who “just luuved our Scaattish accents”.

You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why?

Ernest Shackleton – so I can ask him all about his Antarctic expeditions.
Neil Young – I’ve been a fan of his music since about 1970.
Charles Dickens – I’d be so interested to hear about the writing process back in those days. No MS Word way back then.
And Neil Armstrong – come on, did you really go to the moon or was it actually filmed in a Hollywood studio?

When you’re writing do like silence or do you listen to music?


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t let the sun go down on an argument. Says it all, really. (Thank you, Auntie Irene)

Are you currently writing another book?

My latest crime thriller – Yes, I Killed Her– has reached the editing and polishing stages. Due in June 2022, it’s the second book in the DS Mel Cooper series.
I’ve recently become fascinated with the concept of the perfect murder but (with apologies for the terrible pun) it’s probably already been done to death. However, this is a contemporary thriller so here’s the thing: with rapid and ingenious advances in forensic science – both biological and digital, omnipresent CCTV and electronic footprints as wide as a Yeti’s, is the perfect murder even remotely possible?

Philip Walker (the bad guy) believes it is.  

DS Mel Cooper begs to differ.

So, game on. !!

Harry Fisher Website HERE Facebook Twitter Amazon Author Page