This afternoon folks, I’m made up (Scouse terminology meaning utterly delighted!!) to welcome Scottish crime writer Graham Smith to my blog.
Here, Graham chats all things regarding researching his Harry Evans series, his writing process, advice for writing police procedural to the aspiring author and how he founded crime writing course Crime & Publishment.
1) As a child, did you have a favourite author and do you have a favourite author now?
I wouldn’t say I had a favourite author, but I loved the Famous Five and Secret Seven books by Enid Blyton before progressing onto the Adventure series by Willard Price as I got older.
2) Did you enjoy English at school?
Not at all. I actually failed my English exams twice before the school appealed on my behalf after I’d left. I was subsequently awarded a pass, but the only thing I took pleasure from in those lessons was the time we were give The Hobbit as a required read.
3) Did you go to University and if so, did you enjoy your degree?
I never entertained the idea of university and the day after I left school, I started working for the family business.
4) Do you do much research for your DI Harry Evans series? How did you find receiving your first reviews for your HE novel and your Jake Boulder book?
I have to do a certain amount of research for every book, but it’s mainly fact checking and visiting locations where events in the stories take place. Those days waiting for the first reviews are the most nerve-wracking part of writing for me.
Until I see a few positive reviews come in, I can’t relax and be confident in the book. Even with my sixth release, The Kindred Killers, I was still waiting for the review that said I should have my fingers cut off so I could never type again.
5) What advice would you give to writers aspiring to write police procedurals in an authentic manner?
I’d say they need to befriend a cop in their chosen team and location who’s willing to give them information on correct procedure and how that area is policed. I’d also advise them to make sure they didn’t get too bound up with the procedural element as otherwise they’d be in danger or writing a manual. (A lot of police work is collating statements and filing reports, but nobody has yet written an interesting story about someone shuffling paper.)
6) How do you find juggling your crime writing with running a hotel in Gretna Green?
It can be challenging at times, but I love both jobs and the time away from writing affords me thinking time which means I never get stuck about what to write next.
7) Why did you decide to found Crime & Publishment?
As an aspiring author, I looked at the various writing courses that I could attend and found them all to be really expensive or not focussed on what I wanted to know. Because I had contacts who could be tutors and a hotel which could host C&P, I decided to take the plunge and see if I could create the kind of course I wanted. I’m incredibly proud of the success C&P has enjoyed and the gang who are all so supportive of each other.
8) Did you enjoy a particular genre of music growing up? How has that changed since you’ve got older? Are you a Rod Stewart fan by choice?
I listened to a lot of Eighties hair rock and those same songs still dominate my playlist now, although I will admit that do now listen to a few mellower, less angry, tracks. Regarding Rod Stewart, my favourite song of his is called Rhythm of My Heart.
9) I find the writing process particularly therapeutic. How do you find yours from first draft to published draft?
I enjoy throwing down the first draft, but never let myself forget that I’m nothing more than a stenographer for the voices in my head. I don’t enjoy the edits as much but I do recognise it’s a vital part of the process.
10) Do you have an agent, if so, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I don’t have an agent but my advice to aspiring authors would be to read five books in the genre they plan to write in and then write a 500 word review of each book.
When you know you have to write that review, you pay a lot more attention to things like characters, plotting and the little pieces of tradecraft authors use. I’d also say that writing a novel is about momentum and routine, every day you spend away from writing makes it exponentially harder to go back to that manuscript.
Therefore, once you start, make damned sure you keep at it.
Thanks for your time Graham.
Graham Smith – Bio
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.
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
He is the internationally best-selling author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and two novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.
Graham can be found at