Our second featured author ‘In the Dock’ is Simon Kernick, one of Britain’s most exciting new thriller writers.
His big breakthrough came with his bestselling novel Relentless in 2007. Simon’s detailed research is what makes his books so authentic and he has interviewed members of the Special Branch, Anti-Terrorist Branch and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency to ensure authenticity in his writing.
Hi Simon. Please tell us about your new book in your own words
Siege (Out now in paperback) A group of ruthless, masked gunmen burst into the Stanhope Hotel and seize a group of hostages. The government has five hours to meet their demands before they blow up the building. Lives hang in the balance and only one question matters: Who will survive?
Ultimatum (Out in Hardback and ebook 31st Jan 2013) takes place over one dramatic day and starts with a coordinated series of bomb attacks in London carried out by a previously unknown terrorist group. The terrorists give the government an ultimatum. If their demands are not met by 8pm, they will carry out a major atrocity on an unspecified target. So begins a race against time to find out who they are, and stop them carrying out the attack. It’s very fast-paced with a number of intertwining plots and what I hope is a real ‘big bang’ ending.
Does your writing ever scare you?
Maybe not my writing, but my vivid imagination does.
Are you a disciplined writer?
Yes, I think so. I tend to write five days a week and roughly between the hours of 9 and 5 (and longer if I’m behind). I don’t think you can wait for inspiration to take hold otherwise you could be waiting a hell of a long time! In the end, you have to treat it like a job, albeit one that’s great fun.
Who is your most recognised character? What/who was the inspiration behind that character?
I have two central characters in my books. One is Dennis Milne, my renegade cop from The Business of Dying and its two sequels, and the other is Tina Boyd. Dennis was an amalgamation of a few cops I knew at the time (although none of them were killers as far as I know!), and Tina was a minor character from the early books who just became more and more central to my plots. I’m not quite sure how that happened. It just did.
Where do you write your books?
Usually in a bedroom upstairs in my house facing out on the road and the trees beyond. It’s a relaxing view.
Which crime fiction book, film or TV programme has had the most impact on you and your writing?
Get Carter (originally Jack’s Return Home) by Ted Lewis has always been a huge inspiration. It’s one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read. A real noir classic.
What is your favourite scene or line from any crime fiction book?
‘The right apartment was hard to find so they murdered the old lady.’ It’s the first line of Don’t Say A Word by Andrew Klavan, a fantastic thriller that I’ve re-read twice, and that line has been imprinted on my memory ever since I first picked up the book in a second-hand bookshop in Tenerife in 1993.
Which non-fictional killer frightens you the most?
They all do, to a certain extent. It takes a certain darkness in the soul to be able to kill another human being.
What tip would you give any budding writers?
Be patient, don’t spend too much time worrying about editing until you reach the end of your story (the most important thing is always to get words down on a page), and develop a thick skin. You will face many rejections in your struggle to get published, but if you’re determined enough, and your work is good enough, you’ll get there in the end.
E-book or paper?
Still paper. I’m a bit of Luddite.
If you were a fictional character, how would you write your own death?
In a blaze of glory, gunning down the bad guys in a ferocious firefight before being caught from behind by a lucky shot!
…and what would your final meal be?
If I had time between all the shooting, I’d dine on a dozen oysters followed by a rib eye steak, lobster and French fries, ending with my Mum’s trifle. I think that lot would probably finish me off anyway…