The Editor: What inspired this story?
When I was growing up I was a big fan of the books of Dennis Wheatley.
I also loved horror movies (I still do!) especially the films that were showing when I was growing up, like The Exorcist and The Omen. I started writing thrillers but I always wanted to try writing horror books and I got the chance when my UK publisher – Hodder and Stoughton - said they would be happy publishing two books a year for me. The inspiration for the character Jack Nightingale was partly the Harry Angel character in the 1987 movie Angel Heart, played by Mickey Rourke. I loved the idea of a regular private eye being pulled slowly into the supernatural world, so he doesn’t realise what is happening to him. New York Night is the seventh book in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series. The first five were published by Hodder and Stoughton and were set in the UK. I am now self-publishing the books and have moved the character to the United States. The first self-published book was San Francisco Night and the next one will be Miami Night. Part of the inspiration for the books now comes from the city where they are set! In the latest book, teenagers in New York are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line. I had so much fun writing it!
The Editor: What methodology do you have for writing? Do you lock yourself away and smash out awesomeness or do you do it in stages?
Early on in a book I probably write about a thousand words a day, and I do it haphazardly, writing the scenes that I have in my head no matter where in the book they are! It’s not unusual for me to start writing scenes that eventually appear right at the end of the book! After about a month of doing that I become more methodical and start at the beginning and link in the scenes I have already written. At that point I am probably writing fifteen hundred words a day. As I near the end my word count starts to accelerate and over the last ten days I probably write thirty thousand words! I always think of it as a roller coaster, with a long lead up followed by a dash to the end! I sit in front of the TV with my Mac on a coffee table. I watch TV as I write and always have done. I did most of my homework at school and university with the TV on, and most of my working life was spent in busy newspaper offices so I need a buzz around me as I write. Working with the TV on helps when I need to describe a character’s clothing and the credits are always a good source of names! I drink a cup of coffee pretty much every half hour and my cat Peanut Butter sits on the sofa next to me to keep me company.
The Editor: What kind of books did you like growing up ?
The first books I read as a kid were by Enid Blyton. My mum bought me a second hand copy of Shadow The Sheepdog. I loved it and went on to read loads of her books including The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. By the time I was 12 I had moved on to thrillers and was reading the Saint books by Leslie Charteris and then moved on to Ian Fleming’s Bond books. I think those books inspired my love of thrillers.
The Editor: What would advice would give to children who don't like to read to convince them that reading is good?
I’m not sure that offering advice to children works! Telling them that reading is good for them probably isn’t going to get them reading – the trick is to expose them to books that inspire them and entertain them. That’s what my mum did with Shadow The Sheepdog. She didn’t suggest that I read it because it would be good for me, she started reading it with
me and I realised straight away what fun it was. That’s the key, I think. Parents need to read with their children, but need to choose books that the children can relate to. The schools have their part to play, too. I always remember being six or seven and having a teacher read The Faraway Tree (another Enid Blyton book!) to the class. We were enthralled.