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.

Santa Monica Suicide Club coverI’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.

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