#GuestAuthor #PaulCleave @PaulCleave author of the brilliant #TheQuietPeople @OrendaBooks

J: Thank you so much Paul for being a guest on my blog, I’m so honoured!

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

PC: Yes – for as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to write. But – growing up, it never seemed like a reality. It’s not like teachers at our schools are saying “that sounds like a realistic way to make a living”. So I never really believed I could be one. Then – when I was 19, a friend at the time asked – “If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?” I said I’d like to be a writer. She said, “why not try?” And I thought, yeah, I actually could try. So I did. I tried for years and years… going from novel to novel getting experience, and just a quick 12 years later my first book came out, and the crazy thing is that’s getting up to almost 20 years ago. My characters don’t age, but I do… and quickly too, it seems.

As for TQP – well, the idea came from the idea if I ever got married, and something bad happened to my wife – like – maybe she’d fall down a flight of stairs, or disappear – I would be blamed for it because crime writers would be able to stage such a thing. Could we? Probably. The idea scares me enough that I can’t get married… since I have stairs in my house.

J: Your insight into what a parent’s mind could be like when a child goes missing is impeccable, did you do any research into this?

PC: No, not into that – in these cases, I just do my best to capture what I imagine that grief would be like. But – this is the only book where I actually did do some research – I met with a Police Detective here in Christchurch and picked his brains as to how the investigation would unfold – first hour, the first evening, first day, what happens the second day, etc etc, and that gave me a roadmap for the first few days of the book. It was incredibly helpful – and to be honest, I felt bad because often when I write about the police in books, I have them chasing their tails for some time and making huge mistakes in the process… otherwise, they’d solve the crime by the end of chapter one.

J: Who would you like to see playing the parts of Lisa & Cameron and DI Rebecca Kent if The Quiet People was turned into a TV series/Movie?

PC: Oh geez – tough question, and until you asked it, I’ve never thought about it. Adam Driver would do a cool Cameron. Reese Witherspoon could do Lisa, and Halle Berry would make a nice Kent.

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?

PC: I was an avid reader – though I couldn’t name what I read back then as it’s all a blur. I still am. But of course, I’m a product of the 70s, which means I’m an 80s kid when it comes to TV – so The A-Team, MacGyver, Magnum – all that stuff I grew up with. My all-time favourite?  Probably Star Trek. I’m what I call a closet Trekkie.

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

PC: Tough. I have two. One is called ‘Kill Your Brother’ by Jack Heath. The other was ‘The Hate U Give’ by ‘Angie Thomas’. Two very different books – the first was a lot of fun, the second confronting and important.

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

PC: Favourite author – I guess Stephen King. It’s a bit of a cliché, but yes, I think he’s the best. Favourite book? Funnily enough, it’s not a King book, but it’d be The Passage, by Justin Cronin.

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

PC: Too many to choose from. But – it would be cool to go back in time and watch humans figure out what is edible. I’ve always wondered about that – in human history, people must have tried everything to know what tasted good and what didn’t, what had to be cooked and what could be raw. Would have been a messy time. So I’d love to see the moment where somebody looked at what fell out of chicken, and said, “Let’s try eating that”.

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

PC: Well, I guess I’d have to invite my Mum. She’s been dead a while, and I think she’d be slighted if I had other dead people around and didn’t ask her. But I wouldn’t want to get stuck talking to her all evening, so I’d probably invite one of her dead siblings so they could hang out. Then my Dad, who is very much alive, would be upset if he heard about this and hadn’t been invited, so I’d have to ask him too. Then I’d need somebody that I could talk to while those three are catching up because I’d get bored with them – I’d invite Tiger Woods in the hope he can help me with my slice.

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

PC: I had some cool stuff for 2020 that all fell apart I’d still like to do – from the Northern Lights in Norway to Machu Picchu, to the Great Wall of China, to a trip through the Caribbean, Morocco, Jordan, Portugal, I had 15 countries lined up… as soon as our borders open I’ll try to make it happen. But where would I really love to go that I don’t think I’ll ever really get the chance? Antarctica. I have this thing where I like to throw my frisbee in as many countries as possible (42 at the moment), and even though Antarctica is a continent, I’d love to add it to my list. But it’s not an easy trip to make, nor is it cheap.

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

PC: Well, years ago Michael Robotham gave me some great advice – he said always have some go-to stories for when you’re on stage. It doesn’t matter what you’re being asked up there, but have four or five great stories and try to use one or two of them when you’re up there.

J: If you were moving to another country, but could only pack one carry-on sized bag, what would you pack?

PC: Haha – I always travel with carry-on size luggage – even if I’m heading to Europe for a month or two. Ipad, passport, cash, sneakers, shorts, jeans, jacket, t-shirts. That’s all I ever need. Plus a bunch of cables for charging stuff – half my luggage is cables.

J: Do you have a hidden talent?

PC: I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under two minutes – or could use to. I know a couple of neat card tricks. And cats tend to like me.

J: Are you currently writing another book?

PC: Always!!

Paul Cleave is Christchurch born and raised, and other than a couple of years when he was living in London and bouncing around Europe a little, he’s always lived there. He started writing at nineteen when a friend asked him the classic question of ‘if there’s anything in life you could do for a living, what would it be?’ The answer was simple. He wanted to be a writer. For the next five years, he worked in the evenings on manuscripts that he has promised will never be taken out of the bottom drawer. Back then he wanted to write horror, and it was a few years in when he realised that crime – real-life crime – is horror. As he says, people don’t come home from vampire movies and lock their doors to keep them out, but they will come home from a movie like Silence of the Lambs and lock their doors in case the neighbour is planning on eating them. When he made that connection, he turned to writing dark crime fiction, writing first The Killing Hour, and then The Cleaner, in his mid-twenties. Not long after that Paul sold his house and lived with his parents so he could write full time – a gamble that paid off a few years later when Random House signed him up. From that point on he’s written his dark tales set in his home city, introducing Joe Middleton – the Christchurch Carver, and Melissa, and Theodore Tate, and Schroder, and Jerry Gray, among others to the world.
These days he still lives in Christchurch, but generally spends two or three months travelling overseas for book festivals and meeting readers and publishers and talking on stage. He always travels with his frisbee and throws it in as many countries as he can – often in iconic locations if possible. He’s thrown it on five continents, and in over forty countries – with the goal of throwing it in fifty before he’s 50. He’s also learning to play the guitar, he can hit a golf ball extremely far in the wrong direction, can do some basic card tricks, and he’s pretty handy with a power tool. He hates shopping and hates gardening, he can solve a Rubik’s cube in under two minutes and plays tennis as well as any six-year-old can.

You Can BUY The Quiet People HERE

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Paul Cleave has a website HERE

#GuestAuthor #Rod Reynolds @Rod_WR @BlackReedBay @OrendaBooks – answers my #questions

Thank you so much Rod for agreeing to do a Q&A session for my blog! My pleasure – thank you for having me!

I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? What was the inspiration for Black Reed Bay? I’ve always been a big reader but I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer – I come from a working-class background and, simply put, I didn’t know anyone who did a job like that. I was inspired to try writing by a combination of a former boss of mine who was writing a book and encouraged me to give it a go and was inspired when I discovered James Ellroy’s books. I’d never read anything like them at the time, and it made me want to be able to grip a reader the way his books did me.

Black Reed Bay was inspired by the real-life crimes attributed to the Long Island Serial Killer. I read some of the news coverage at the time, in around 2012, and there were some similarities with the book I was working on at the time (my debut novel, The Dark Inside) in terms of the bleakness of the locale and the hints of institutional corruption. I followed the case intermittently for a number of years (it’s still unsolved) and finally felt ready to write about it a couple of years ago.

Did you want to raise awareness to the victims of The Long Island Killer? Not necessarily – I feel like the media coverage of the case has done and will do a better job of that than I ever could (although if the book does raise awareness in any small way, then that’s a bonus) but I was very wary of writing about the case because of the devastating impact the murders have had on so many lives – both the victims and the family members who are left behind – and I wanted to make sure I could write the book without being disrespectful to those affected, or inadvertently adding to their suffering in any way.

How easy was it to write from a female point of view with DS Casey Wray? I didn’t find that aspect too tricky. My previous book, Blood Red City, featured a female protagonist, and I enjoyed bringing her to life. Obviously, as a writer, when you approach any character you want to make them credible and authentic, so I was doubly aware of that when writing a female character, but one of the things I wanted to do with Casey was to make her a normal person, who just happens to do an extraordinary job, so that allowed me to draw on elements of people I’ve know from all walks of life, to help create her – in terms of her sense of humour, for example, or her tenacity or self-doubt.

If Black reed Bay was turned into a movie/tv adaptation, who would you like to play DS Casey Wray and David Cullen? I always struggle with these questions because I don’t really ‘see’ my characters when I’m writing them – I’m almost watching the story unfold through their eyes – so I guess I just need to choose actors I enjoy watching. I’ve always liked Mark Ruffalo and I think he’s got that ‘everyman’ quality that would suit Cullen. For Casey, I think Toni Collette is an incredible actress, with the ability to portray strength and vulnerability all at the same time, so she would be perfect for Casey.

As a child growing up, were you an avid reader? Do you have a favourite book from your childhood? Yes, I was always a big reader – even down to the old cliché of reading with a torch under my duvet so I could cram a bit more reading time in. Like a lot of people, Enid Blyton’s books were the first ones to really grab me, so I read all the Famous Five and Secret Seven books I could get my hands on. The first ‘grown up’ book I read was when I was ten or eleven, my sister’s copy of The Firm by John Grisham, and I can still remember now how tense it made me feel – I was absolutely gripped.

What is your favourite book you read in 2021, and why? Since 2022 has just started, I’ll base this on 2021! I read a lot of great books last year, but my favourite was probably True Crime Story by Joseph Knox. I really enjoyed Knox’s previous trilogy, but even though this was a bit of a departure from those books, the trademarks that set his writing apart were all there, and I loved the oral-history style of the book and the way he weaved himself into the story.

Do you have a favourite author or favourite book of all time? I’ve got dozens of favourite authors, but I’ll stick with James Ellroy for my choice here, for the reasons mentioned above. My favourite book of his is The Big Nowhere – it’s the story where he really found his chops and established the three-protagonist structure he’d use for his more famous works. Even though it’s a gritty noir, it’s written with real heart, and at its core is a love story (even though the author would probably dispute that!) with one of the most poignant endings I’ve ever read (and my favourite in all of fiction).

If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why? Wow, there are so many I could list here. JFK’s assassination would be up there, because it fascinates me, and knowing all the things we know now, I’d be looking in about fifteen directions at once to see what really happened…

You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why? Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Hunter S. Thompson. You’d have arguments for years, and HST stirring it all up.

When you’re writing do like silence or do you listen to music? I don’t have a rule on this, depends on the mood I’m in. Sometimes it’s silence, sometimes it’s anything from instrumental to Metallica.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Writing advice? Read your work aloud to yourself. It’s the best way to catch clunky dialogue and all sorts of other duff bits of writing. If you mean life advice, I’d go with…stretch more as you get older!

What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received? My kids? Am I allowed to say that? Or is that too saccharine? If we’re talking material things, probably dinner at a rooftop hotel in Miami just after our wedding. Best views, best food, best cocktails I’ve ever had!

Are you currently writing another book? I’m always writing another book in one way or another, even if it’s just letting ideas develop in my head. I’ve not been as productive as I would’ve hoped over the last couple of years, thanks to lockdowns and homeschooling, so I am hoping to ramp up again in 2022, and there is a side project I’ve had on the back burner that I’m slowly re-working. But I would like to start work on a new manuscript this year – maybe that should be my new year’s resolution…!

As always, I must say a huge thank you to Rod Reynolds for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions,

You can follow Rod – Twitter HERE Facebook HERE or Rod’s website HERE