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The incredibly prolific crime writer Graham Smith

Graham Smith has been a fan of crime fiction since reading a Famous Five book at age eight. One day, as you will learn, he decided he could write at least as well as some of the books he was reading.

As he says on his website: “I turned my hand to writing in my late thirties and consider it to be the most infuriatingly rewarding hobby imaginable, although I’m well aware that I’m nothing more than a stenographer for the voices in my head.”

Meet author Graham Smith.

Welcome, Graham. You’re the author of not one, not two, but three mystery series. Tell us a bit about how you wrote them. Did you tackle one series first, or do you write concurrently? And do you sleep?

I write all of my books in much the same way, on my couch with the TV on low in the background. I basically just get my butt in the seat and try to write a minimum of 1,000 words per day.

I wrote the first books in the Harry Evans series first and then interspersed them with the Jake Boulder series. At that time I would have an idea for a story and then I’d give it to either Jake or Harry depending on which of the two would best be suited to the plot. I wrote the DC Beth Young series after the first two as I’d moved to a new publisher and the contract I had meant I had to give Beth my full attention. I do sleep, but it seems I need less and less the older I get.

I understand you’re also a builder and hotel manager. Tell us about your ‘other life’ and any personal bits you’d like to share.

I’m a former joiner and when I got the opportunity to run the family hotel and wedding venue, I transitioned from using my hands to using my head. It’s a very different life but I love what I do as our core business is weddings and it’s always great to work with customers who are having a wonderful time.

Were your detectives created from whole cloth, or were there inspirations behind these characters?

I find that all the characters I create have their roots in people I know. No one character is solely created from one real person; rather I think of them as a blend of influences and characteristics that make them who they are.

When and why did you become an author? Was there an ‘event’ or did you always want to write?

I kind of fell into writing after realising that I couldn’t keep tossing books across the room muttering “I could do better than this” without trying my own hand at writing. I did have an attempt in my teenage years that was so shockingly awful I’m delighted to say it’s lost to the sands of time.

How do you publish, and how often?

I generally have one or two books out each year and the scheduling for each release is very much down to my publishers, their publishing schedule and how quickly I can write the books. I currently have releases scheduled for April, July and October 2021, plus I have another novel out on submission with my agent so that may or may not be published next year if a publisher snaps it up.

Who are your authorial inspirations?

I think every author I’ve ever read and been entertained by has to count as an inspiration as I love being transported to a new world. Certain authors I would class as inspiring are Diana Thomas, Craig Russell, Lee Child, Matt Hilton, Zoe Sharp and A.A. Dhand.

What do you prefer to read?

I am crime fiction through and through, but I read most of the sub genres such as historical, espionage thrillers, crime action thrillers, police procedurals and so on. The only crime novels I tend to sidestep are the cosy mysteries as I like some grit in my novels.

Do you have any brilliant tips for other authors, whether emerging or established?

The best tips I can offer are to get your butt in the seat and start writing. You can edit bad writing, but you can’t edit a blank page. I’d also say to read five books that are in the same sub genre as the one you’re planning to write and then after reading them, write a 500-word review. The review needn’t be critical or effusive, but it must cover the various elements of a story such as pace, plot, character, any themes and how the novel makes you feel. Knowing you have to review a story in this way makes you much more of a careful reader and gives you a better understanding of the various tools in a writer’s toolkit.

Thank you so much, Graham!

Please find Graham Smith at these locations:

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