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