'Where did/do you get your ideas from?' Most writers will tell you inspiration tends to come from many different places. I’m no different in that respect. Naturally, I read a lot of crime fiction, thrillers and I also love historical and real crime books. Over the years I’ve put together a real crime reference section in my bookcase.
INTERVIEW WITH J. F. BURGESS…
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent and spent many years doing less than ideal jobs in and around the Potteries five towns, before finally taking the plunge and quitting work to follow my creative side. As a keen horse-racing fan, I started off in 2007 self-publishing betting how-to manuals.
Inspired by authors such as Mel Sherratt, Peter James, Val McDermid, James Oswald, Kate Ellis, and in need of a new challenge, I decided to try my hand at writing crime fiction.
After months of hard slog and sheer determination, I finished my first novel: The Killer Shadow Thieves. This is the first in a planned series of gritty crime fiction books set in Stoke on Trent, involving charismatic DI Tom Blake and his larger-than-life sidekick DS Jon Murphy.
The Killer Shadow Thieves…
Widowed detective DI Tom Blake sets off a chain of events that change his life forever, when the brutal murder of an alcoholic skinhead, and arrest of a vicious Turkish loan shark, unwittingly disrupts an international gang’s daring plans to steal the world-famous Staffordshire Hoard.
The follow-up, The Deadly Legacy, is a cult serial killer thriller, with a 200-year-old secret at the heart of a plot full of unexpected twists. This should be out in summer 2019.
In my spare time, I love to read, watch UK cop dramas and take walks along the canals of Staffordshire with my wife.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Most writers will tell you inspiration tends to come from many different places. I’m no different in that respect. Naturally, I read a lot of crime fiction, thrillers and also love historical and real crime books. Over the years I’ve put together a real crime reference section in my bookcase. Some of the crimes from the past are unbelievable and are a great source of material. My hometown of Stoke-on-Trent also provides plenty of inspiration. Its industrial past and demographic make it a great setting for gritty crime.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I suppose in a way they are. The people I meet can influence my characters to some extent. But I would say most of my characters are an amalgamation of different people: some from movies, books and TV dramas. In order to make a character believable/likeable, I feel it’s important for them to have real human traits so the reader can connect with them, even if they love to hate them.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
Usually, I base names around the characters age, personality traits and ethnicity. For example, if a character is 80-year-old white male, then he would have been born just after WWII and his name should reflect this. So, I normally use online names popular at any given period. It’s interesting to see how name’s come and go in popularity.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I usually spend about two months outlining the whole plot, then put all the elements into Scrivener writing software, but also mirror that with index cards on a cork board. I find this more intuitive and it gives me a new perspective, after staring at a computer monitor all day. Although I’m swaying more towards the index cards, notes and picture these days, as its much nicer way to work. You can see everything as a whole and move things around quickly. This method gives me an aerial view. You can’t really do that on a 20” monitor!
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
I like James Oswald, Peter James, Val McDermid, Kate Ellis and Mel Sherratt to name just a few. But I’m adding new upcoming authors to my to be read pile, all the time.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Peter James. How did he manage to make his character Roy Grace so immensely charismatic and likeable.
Were you a big reader as a child?
No, not really. I started when I was about thirty-five.
When did you start to write?
I’ve been writing for about twelve years but mostly non-fiction. But I’ve had the desire to write fiction since my early twenties.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Three spring to mind: Silence of the lambs, Gone Girl and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Blood sweat and tears or Enlightenment.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Either Roy Grace, Tony Hill, or Tommy Shelby.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve taken time out to market and manage the promotion of my debut THE KILLER SHADOW THIEVES, but the second book in the series, THE DEADLY LEGACY is a work in progress.
Do you have a new release due?
Not yet still working on it.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Spend most of the day replying to reader’s and fans kind enough to buy my book, and make sure there are no problems with any of the marketing channels, before winding down over a few beers with my wife and friends down the pub.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Readers can join me on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up to my newsletter to get news about my future releases, book giveaways and competitions.
Facebook: J.F. Burgess
Where can readers buy The Killer Shadow Thieves
You can buy the Kindle and paperback version form Amazon here, and the books is also enrolled in the KINDLE UNLIMITED program so if you've got that its FREE!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions
A pleasure and thank you.