I am delighted to be joining in with Russell Day’s blog tour for Needle Song today. I have a fab interview with the author himself to share with you.
Many thanks to Emma at #damppebblesblogtours
Interview with Russell Day…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’m very much a city boy, raised in north London, I don’t trust air that I can’t grind between my teeth. I was born the year England won the world cup, young enough to not remember the sixties and old enough to be embarrassed by the seventies. I’ve spent a lot of the intervening time avoiding work, riding motorcycle and getting tattooed.
Most of what I write is either set in London or in a big anonymous city. I like the way the urban setting can be crowded and chaotic but still leave the characters isolated.
I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, which a long time ago now, but I only really knuckled down and started putting the hours in when I turned forty.
All of my work is based around crime of one sort or another, though I like to take a fairly board view of the genre. One of the first things I had published was a heist story, set in a world where the church had taken over policing. I suppose you could class it as science fiction, but for me the heist was the real focus of the story, and the subsequent double-cross of course.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Usually I get one small scene pop into my head or some throw away line will lodge in my brain. With my novel, Needle Song, I had this picture in my head of a man, in broad daylight, sneaking away from someone else’s house. It bothered me that he would make such a hash of trying to be clandestine, so I began to wonder if, maybe, he was meant to be seen. Eventually the idea turned into a story line.
Funnily, the picture I had in my head didn’t make it into the finished book.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
My grandmother had a martyr’s complex, she couldn’t rest unless everyone knew she was suffering. In Needle Song the narrator’s father is much the same.
How do you pick your characters names?
I start with the character’s age, work out the year they were born and google: popular names in 19__. Then I work down the list until one feels right. Quite often, with main characters, I use nicknames because I like tagging a bit of back story to them.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I find it hard to rough out a draft in one big piece, so I tend to edit as I go along. One thing I try not to do is develop a ritual. I think is you convince yourself you can only write at a certain time, in a certain chair, on a certain keyboard, then you’re setting yourself up to fail.
For me the most important thing is to just sit down and write, no matter how little or how bad. A couple hundred words of edit fodder is better than a blank page, at worst it gives me a chance to practice my proofreading.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Joolz Denby, Micheal Connelly, Lionel Shriver, David Nicholls and Paul Torday.
To be honest that list could go on for miles.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I think, Lionel Shriver. I’d like to know if she based the character of Kevin on someone she knew.
Were you a big reader as a child?
I came to reading quite late, if you exclude comics, though I’ve always loved stories. We had a neighbour, when I was a kid, who used to come for coffee twice a week. She was a really lovely woman, kind, generous, a diamond through and through. She was also a pathological liar who never stopped talking. Without drawing breath (I swear she could breathe through her ears) she’d spout complete bullshit for hours on end.
I loved it, I could have listened to her all day. The fact not one word of it was true didn’t matter, I just liked hearing the stories.
I didn’t start reading novels until I was about fifteen. Once I started I couldn’t stop.
When did you start to write?
I started in my teens. Unfortunately, I thought writing was something you either could or couldn’t do. I wasted years, making the same mistakes over and over, because I didn’t go looking for help. And I was lazy, that didn’t improve things.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I’m going to cheat here, if I may, and use a film. At the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, I think Paul Newman should be heard to shout: Missed!
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. It’s a murder mystery where the crime is being investigated by a woman with dementia. As the book progresses so does her condition, the more of the plot is revealed, the less the protagonist can comprehend it. The way it’s plotted is incredibly clever.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Are You Sure the Statute of Limitations is up?
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Harry Bosch, Michael Connelly’s LA detective. I’d take him to the Ace Café, on the North Circular road. I don’t see him as a tea-at-the-Ritz type.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I was once bitten by a mouse.
What are you working on right now?
A slightly odd-ball heist novel set in the aftermath of a pandemic. It’s going to be told from three or four different viewpoints.
Tell us about your last release?
Fahrenheit Press signed me up for two novels, Needle Song, is the first. It’s a murder mystery set in north London, and it introduces my almost anti-hero, Doc Slidesmith. Doc’s a highly eccentric tattooist, biker and Miss Marple fanatic. He’s smart, but he’s also underhand, devious and manipulative. If you like clean cut protagonists he’s probably not for you.
Do you have a new release due?
Ink to Ashes, the second novel featuring Doc Slidesmith, should be out later this year.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I’ve got a very sweet-tooth, along with rest of my family, so celebrations of any kind generally involve a chocolate cake.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I’m on twitter: Russ Day @rfdaze
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Russell 🙂
Spending the night with a beautiful woman would be a good alibi, if the body in the next room wasn’t her husband.
Doc Slidesmith has a habit of knowing things he shouldn’t. He knows the woman Chris Rudjer meets online is married. He knows the adult fun she’s looking for is likely to be short lived. And when her husband’s killed, he knows Chris Rudjer didn’t do it.
Only trouble is the police disagree and no one wants to waste time investigating an open and shut case.
No one except Doc.
Using lies, blackmail and a loaded pack of Tarot cards, Doc sets about looking for the truth – but the more truth he finds, the less he thinks his friend is going to like it.
Fahrenheit Press: http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_needle_song.html
About Russell Day:
Russell Day was born in 1966 and grew up in Harlesden, NW10 – a geographic region searching for an alibi. From an early age it was clear the only things he cared about were motorcycles, tattoos and writing. At a later stage he added family life to his list of interests and now lives with his wife and two children. He’s still in London, but has moved south of the river for the milder climate.
Although he only writes crime fiction Russ doesn’t consider his work restricted. ‘As long as there have been people there has been crime, as long as there are people there will be crime.’ That attitude leaves a lot of scope for settings and characters. One of the first short stories he had published, The Second Rat and the Automatic Nun, was a double-cross story set in a world where the church had taken over policing. In his first novel, Needle Song, an amateur detective employs logic, psychology and a loaded pack of tarot cards to investigate a death.
Russ often tells people he seldom smiles due to nerve damage, sustained when his jaw was broken. In fact, this is a total fabrication and his family will tell you he’s has always been a miserable bastard.
Russell’s Social Media Link:
Check out the rest of the blog tour for reviews, and more, with these awesome book bloggers…..