Today we’re traveling to the outskirts of Gretna Green, Scotland to chat with Graham Smith. We’ll talk about how weddings, dialogue tags, Alistair MacLean, getting thrown out of a church, and the Simpsons come together as part of Graham’s life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a hotel and wedding venue manager on the outskirts of Gretna Green. I’ve been writing for eight years and am a time-served joiner.
In which genre do you write?
I write at the gritty end of crime fiction.
How many published books do you have?
At the time of writing I have twelve books published.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I tossed so many books across the room muttering that I could do better myself that it became time to put my money where my mouth was. Once I started writing, I found that I loved it.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
I am not a fan of dialogue tags such as “said”, “asked” or “replied” and to date I have written over a million words without using one.
What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?
I’d chose a faithful old lab. Man’s best friend has earned that title for a reason.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
It would look like the library in a country house. There’d be a big desk, an internet connection, a radio and a kettle.
What are you currently reading?
Deadland by William Shaw. I’ve only just started it so haven’t yet formed an opinion, but what I have read so far has been excellent.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I enjoy watching football and spending time with my son.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’m lucky enough to have met most of my writing heroes, but I think I would have to choose Alistair MacLean and ask him about the Russian convoys.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
I think the answer to this would have to be how wrapped up in the story I get. If I’m writing an argument, my jaw clenches to the point where it physically aches and I can get emotive when I’m putting my characters through emotional distress.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?
I once managed to get myself thrown out of a church while conducting research. I got talking to one of the priest’s helpers and they showed me the back rooms of the church and there was a safe that was six foot high by three foot deep and wide. I stupidly asked what they kept in there and the helpers stopped answering my questions and started crowding me out of the door. I realised my faux pas, apologised and left without pressing the matter further.
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?
I have never kept a journal or diary.
What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
Becoming an international best-seller despite twice failing my English exams. I have also been quoted on the websites of New York Times best-sellers when reviewing their books which is fantastically cool.
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?
I would focus on practising reading the passage aloud and making sure I didn’t come across as a terrible public speaker.
What do you miss about being a kid?
The family members who’re sadly no longer still around.
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
The Simpsons so I could join Homer for a beer or two at Moes.
If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?
I’d be Jake Boulder, as he’s all the things I’m not. I’d probably do what he does best which is fight for justice.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
It was called Breakers and it was on late at night when my family had gone to bed and I watched it because there wasn’t anything else on and I couldn’t be bothered to go upstairs and get my book. (I really really wish I had made the effort to get the book.)
A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?
“I bet you’re wondering how I knocked on your door, why I am wearing a sombrero and how I can speak aren’t you? Well, if you tell me who the killer is in Fear in the Lakes, I’ll answer your questions.”
Do you believe things happen for a reason?
Life is very much about what you make of it. If you have a positive attitude, good things are more likely to happen to you than if you have a negative one.
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
These but only if said in a mushy and patronising way.
Who’s a good boy?
Are you a good boy?
You’re a good boy, aren’t you?
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
I am a workaholic and this really helps me balance writing with my day job and family life.
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
Home, because there’s nowhere better.
Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc
It’d be a sunny day, I’d be at a quiet country pub which served great but simple food. I’d be sitting in the beer garden with a good book and the sun on my back.
It was great to learn more about you Graham. Thanks much for being a part of MTA. –Camilla
Detective Beth Young traced the body in her mind… His skull wasn’t harmed and neither was his spine… as if someone wanted him to survive only to experience the utmost suffering.
When Laura Sinclair arrives home, she is horrified to discover her sweet, kind, husband James close to death. But this is no robbery gone wrong. There are over 200 breaks to his bones, each apparently applied carefully, symmetrically, methodically…
Laura insists that James is a man with no enemies. But how much does she know about her husband? And what secrets are hidden in the email account she discovers, filled with cryptic messages?
When two bodies are then pulled from Lake Windermere exhibiting similar injuries – it becomes clear that the killer they are calling the Sculptor is on a mission.
But Detective Beth Young is too. She knows that if she can work out the secrets of James’s past, she has a chance of locating The Sculptor’s next victim… and maybe the killer too.
More about Graham:
Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.
He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has six books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and three novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder. His latest series features DC Beth Young and after the first in the series, Death in the Lakes, was released to critical acclaim, Fear in the Lakes was highly anticipated before its July release.
An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009.
Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, ten attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.
Where to find the book:
Fear in the Lakes – https://geni.us/B07RFRDCT7Cover
Connect with Graham:
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