Inspiration behind the book
I’ve always had an interest in real murder investigations and forensic pathology. When I was 24 my nurse girlfriend gave me a book of forensic pathology which is given to doctors. In the inscription she wrote “if this doesn’t put you off, nothing will!”
I read a number of crime books that inspired me to move to the genre:
- Last Bus to Jericho – Colin Dexter.
- Then onto Patricia Highsmith
- P D James (loved Dalgliesh as a detective.)
- Ian Rankin – Noughts and Crosses
- Raymond Chandler a lot later in life and loved it, particularly the Big Sleep and The Lady in the Lake. I think that Chandler is a fascinating person because he didn’t start writing until his 40s, chronic alcoholic, madly obsessed with a much older woman, fascinating guy actually.
- I like Elmore Leonard, James Ellroy. I think they’re really funny, dark and clever.
I’ve always been in the psychology behind things, of why people do things. That’s linked to my interest in mental health
I used to drive past St Monica Church, and I kept thinking about a British priest, coming over The whole process took 7 years before I really started doing it. I’d written Taking Leave, and The Manic Depression book and another book called “The World According to Ned” and I think in the end it was a trip back to LA in 2007 that made me get going on it. I don’t know where the plot came from, it just came, it was just one of those things.
I suppose we live in an age of branding and genre and really I want this current book to be a series but I don’t want it to be formulaic because that’s dull. Basing it on a detective fiction plot is formula but you don’t need to have a book written by a computer or three research assistants. You have to put heart and soul into a book. That’s what I believe anyway.