Today's Roving Eye Interview is with the best selling crime writer of The Advent Killer and My Bloody Valentine, Alastair Gunn.
1 – When did you first realise that you wanted to write for a living?
I’ve always written, in one form or another, but my first paid writing job was as a motor journalist for a modified car magazine called Revs. Unfortunately the magazine closed down in 2005, but losing that job prompted me to write my first book. Otherwise I might still be writing about alloys and body kits. Its funny how something that feels like bad luck at the time can prompt really positive change.
Actually I ended up writing crime fiction by chance. I had a concept fro a type of story, but it only worked if the two main characters didn’t meet till the end of the book. So I needed to keep them apart, and it turned out the best way to do that was to make one a criminal, and the other the police detective who has to track them down. A crime novel just grew from there. Weirdly, though, when I got signed by my agent, she suggested getting rid of the main concept, so it never made the final draft.
3 – What crime novel would you most like to have written?
Does 1984 (by George Orwell) qualify as a crime novel? I hope so, because I’d love to write something so ground breaking.
4 – Who is your favourite author outside of crime fiction and why?
Steve Baxter. He writes ‘hard’ science fiction, (based on established scientific theory). I’ve read lots of his books, and they’re all incredible (and superbly diverse) stories, but you can feel the weight of knowledge and research behind every plot.
5 – Who are you reading right now?
I’m reading Long Way Home by Eva Dolan, and I’m really impressed so far. It feels like every sentence was carefully crafted, and the characters are beautifully complex.
6 – If you weren’t a writer, what else could you see yourself doing?
I studied product design at University, and I’ve always been a car fan (hence the motor journalism), so if I wasn’t writing, I’d love to be a car designer. Either that or a racing driver.
7 – What was the last great book that you read?
The last book that really blew me away was Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. It’s a rollercoaster thriller that hardly lets up from start to finish. Plus, its set in post-Stalinist Russia, a time a fascinating as it was scary.
8 – How do you feel about e-books vs print books and alternative vs conventional publishing?
I actually don’t own an e-reader, but I don’t have anything against e-books, either. It was only ever a matter of time until technology provided readers with genuine advantages over traditional print, so as long as people are reading, I think it doesn’t matter how they do it, although there will always be some thing more intimate about reading a real book.
9 – What five words best describe your average day?
Writing. Or thinking about writing.
10 – Sum up your latest novel in less that 20 words.
The perfect valentine gift from Matthew Clark Leach’s new favourite author.