What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
For me it’s always the plot – the circumstances and events that a character will have to cope with decide who they should be – for instance in the Charlie Cameron series one of the main players is Pat Logue – a humorous, Glasgow wide boy – If I’d placed him in the Mackenzie opener, IN HARM’S WAY, humour would have detracted from the drama and he would have been miscast in that book.
Would you and your main character get along?
Almost always, but I would definitely be avoiding Danny Glass from FAMILY.
At what point do you think someone should call themselves a writer?
For me, someone is a writer as soon as they complete the first piece in their chosen medium – until then they are dabbling – how good or bad it turns out is a whole different matter.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do actually, and thankfully it’s always a very pleasant experience. Many of them have become friends as they’ve followed their favourite characters.
Have you ever traveled as research for your book?
I’ve used my travels a lot in my writing, most notably to the areas around the Thar Dessert for OUT OF THE SILENCE and New Orleans for SO IT BEGAN. I’ve used my experiences from living in London for THE GLASS SERIES and of course my life growing up around Glasgow for THE CHARLIE CAMERON SERIES, but the only place I’ve specifically travelled to for research was Marrakesh for a book that’s as yet unwritten.
If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?
There’s a few that appeal… investigative journalist Ralph Buchanan from OUT OF THE SILENCE could definitely have some legs, but probably first up would be the notorious, Sean Rafferty from THE CHARLIE CAMERON SERIES… a serious bad boy.
If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?
I’ve actually started writing a sequel to THE ACCUSED featuring our pal Sean Rafferty’s handiwork and I think it’s time to rattle his cage. But look out because he will definitely not be amused at what I plan for him.
What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?
My wife Christine is without doubt the person who is most helpful to my writing process with her focus and ideas, while, in equal measure I have been by far the biggest hindrance I could have wished for!
What inspired the idea for your book?
The inspiration for THIEF came from the character herself – Charley Glass blew into their lives like the storm she’d run from, keeping her past an unanswered mystery – just too good an opportunity to let go.