– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Singapore Killer’ blogtour, organised by Murray Bailey.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Murray Bailey got his first taste of success when he was published in the Times at 18. He also had articles published in his local newspaper. Although he went on to pursue a different career, he continued to write and became the editor of an international magazine and editor of 4 technical books.
His first work of fiction, I Dare You, was published in 2016. He has a series set around ancient Egypt (starting with Map of the Dead) and another set in 1950s Singapore.
Born in Manchester, England, Murray now lives on the South Coast with his wife and family.
PUBLICATION DATE: 1 JUNE 2020 | PAPERBACK | £7.99 | HERITAGE BOOKS UK
A helicopter crash results in the pilot and a military policeman burned to death. It’s unclear what they were doing, but this was no accident and the name BlackJack is found at the scene.
Ash Carter knew that the Special Investigations Branch were tracking a killer, and when a faceless body is found in Perak, and he loses contact with the SIB, he races to north-east Malaya to help. There Carter discovers a mysterious town that the locals won’t talk about.
With no sign of his contact and a mounting body count, Carter is drawn into a dark case from which there seems no escape.
This is the 5th book of the series.
The 6th and final book is called Singapore Fire and will be released in 2021.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve always written stories and thought I might become a journalist at one point. I had an article published in The Times at 18 as well as in my local paper. However I went off to university and studied Maths and Physics. I carried on writing—although rarely finishing a novel and for a year I became editor of a magazine and editor of a batch of technical books. However the breakthrough came from attending a course on structuring a novel. Suddenly it clicked into place and I could develop a plot.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I loved Enid Blyton as a kid—especially The Secret Seven. Also adventure stories such as The Three Musketeers and Treasure Island. I’ve read—and written—most genres, but discovered crime-thrillers quite late. It was Michael Connelly who started me off and I became particularly inspired by Lee Child’s books. These days, I tend to be frustrated with other books when I find them formulaic, too linear or without surprises. I guess my head fills with stories that I want to read—so that’s what I write.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I think I’d benefit most from meeting Harlen Coben. He’s so clever in the way he constructs his plots with hooks and twists.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d like to meet Madam Chau, Ash’s grumpy but likeable assistant. Why? Because I’d like to get to know her better although I suspect she’d give me a hard time.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. I have always tried to avoid such things so that I don’t become restricted. I used to have to find time to write—on the train to and from work, even in the bathroom while watching over the kids. These days I start as early as I can (because I’m a morning person) and just write. I believe in the principle that you can edit a bad page, but can’t edit a blank one. My objective is to write 1,500 words a day. The rest of the time is spent editing/researching/plotting… and occassionally working on a second book.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Writers always rely on real-life experiences. As a teenager my father told me I couldn’t be a good writer until I’d experienced life. I don’t know how he knew that, but I think he was right—certainly in my case. The Ash Carter series was inspired by my father who had been in the military police in Singapore in the 50s. I took him there for his 75th birthday for research and really saw the place through his eyes. It’s changed so much!
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m somewhere in between. For my first 2 novels (I Dare You and Map of the Dead) I plotted them thoroughly down to what happened in each chapter. I then found it far more exciting to roughly plot and let the story flow. I even surprise myself. Book 6 (Singapore Fire) is with the editor. The twist at the end of that one came as I was almost finished. I don’t know where it came from, but am so pleased. It’s the first time my wife has put a book down (by any author) and said, “It gave me goosebumps!”
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I found that attending a course on creative writing helped me understand structure. Before that, I think my early (pre-published) stories were fairly flat. I then found the best advise was to finish, set your story aside and come back to it fresh. Try and read it through a reader’s eyes.
And the Don’t? I guess my advice is to discover your own voice and don’t worry about convensions such as “show don’t tell”. Just write and then get feedback from your editor and early readers about what works and what doesn’t.
What are your futureplans as an author?
I have a whole bunch of WIPs: The final book in the Map of the Dead series (#3) and a stand alone crime story involving a group of treasure hunters. I’ve also got plans for book 3 of the Dare You series and a follow up to Black Creak White Lies.
I’m currently working on a standalone whodunit. I wasn’t intending it, but this week I also started writing a prequel to the Singapore series, possibly entitled Cyprus 6.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
“The man who had walked away from the helicopter crash—the man who had caused the crash—called himself BlackJack. It wasn’t particularly inventive or original. But it amused him because life was a game. A game of risk. A game of chance.”
This is part of a fabulous (short) promotional audio clip on Youtube with an extract read by the audio book narrator. You might like to listen.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Murray Bailey.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!