Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A chat with Roger Price #UK #crimewriter

Welcome to the blogsite, Roger. I’m delighted to touch base with you yet again and would like to congratulate you on your writing success and thank you for contributing your writing skills over the years to our numerous charity anthologies. Thank you for joining us today.

Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A. Hello, Paul thank you for having me. My tagline says I’m a ‘Crime Fighter Turned Crime Writer’ and although it’s a little cheesy it says it all really. I retired from the police in the rank of detective inspector in 2008 having served over 31 years in Lancashire, mainly on the CID and drug squads, and on the Regional and National Crime Squads. I have so far published four crime thrillers in two different series and now write fulltime. I live near Preston and am married with two grown-up children, two grandchildren and one motorbike.  

Q. When you’re not writing, what leisure time activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
A. Vodka and a good Merlot aside, I like to get out on my motorbike when I can – at least once a week, weather permitting. I also love to read crime fiction and love watching TV dramas.

Q. What drove you to begin a writing career?
A. It’s an itch I never found the time to scratch as a working detective, although I had done some training over the years. I firstly, did a writing correspondence course in the mid-eighties but never knuckled down to write. I did an Advanced Creative Writing course at Preston College in 1996/7 but then did nothing with it – though in my defence I was on the National Crime Squad at the time and partway through the six month course I disappeared to Bangkok on a covert job for nearly a month!
Then in 2011 I started writing in earnest having forgotten everything I thought I knew. It was time to start learning again, and then to see if I could actually write, and if I could, would anyone wish to read it? I just had to do it, that darn itch just wouldn’t go away.    

Q. What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing any writer at the present time?
A. There is a lot of debate as to whether it matters whether you are traditionally published or self-published; but unless you are signed by a huge publishing house who have decided to make you successful come-what-may – usually because the author is already famous and they have paid a huge advance – the biggest challenge is about discoverability. Irrespective of which route an author chooses to become published, there is little difference in-so-far as the writer is required to do as much as possible to promote their work. If a writer can’t be bothered marketing their own books, why should a reader entrust time and money in reading them. But it is a busy old marketplace and it takes a lot of time and effort to start to build an audience. A continuing challenge; but once someone tells you they have read and loved your work it makes all the difference. You have an audience, it just needs widening. 

Q. Do you have an office or ‘space’ where you write from and is it at home, or elsewhere?
A. At present I tend to do all my on-line marketing in a small room next to the kitchen during the day, and some writing, but my main writing place is behind a desk in the loft. The added isolation – even though the house is empty during the day – seems to kick start my creative processes and add a business-like aura to my writing place. That said, I intend to turn one of the spare bedrooms in to a proper office/library.

Q. What inspires you – or has inspired you – to write a particular book?
A. I tend to feed from my previous work experiences to feed my imagination, but the food can be just a small aside as opposed to a huge lift from a real job I’ve been involved in. For example, in my latest book – Vengeance – there is a large element which comes from the time of the sectarian troubles in Northern Ireland. The spark for this came from a chance meeting I had with someone in the mid-eighties, would you believe. That person left an impression on me and I extrapolated from that whilst writing the book.

Q. I’ve always argued that to be a good writer you need to be a good reader first. Do you think that is true or false?
A. Absolutely true. And a continuing truth at that. By the time I started to write my first book –By Their Rules – I had forgotten anything I’d been taught formally. And although I did have an early draught professionally critiqued to ensure I got the structure correct, the really critical bit is how does the book work as a story? Lee Child has never had any formal training in creative writing and claims that all you need to do is first read 3,000 novels. That’s probably pushing it a bit, but the principle is there.  
Q. Which of the books that you have written so far is your favourite and what can you tell us about it without giving the game away?
A. A lot of authors may always say their last work is their best, and perhaps it naturally is, but my last – Vengeance – is my favourite, and hopefully, my best too. I loved exploring the ‘Irish Troubles’ and bringing some of that bigoted hatred into a modern context. I tried to go carefully with it too, so as not to offend anyone. I’m also enjoying the developing relationship between maverick DI Vinnie Palmer and his sidekick TV News reporter Christine Jones. I know in real life that the police and the press can often have a fractious relationship; both searching for the same thing but driven by different agendas.

Q. What methods have you used to engage with your readership? Social media, press announcements, or book signings? What works for you that you might recommend for others?
A. A lot is done via social media in its varied formats. I’m also building an email list to which I send the odd newsletter which features news and giveaways from time to time. I also do a continuing programme of talks. Many in libraries, and now some for private groups including the odd after-dinner/lunch talk for which I now charge a small fee. I always monitor reviews and comments on Amazon and Goodreads and endeavour to thank/reply to those as timely as I can. I also have manged several features in regional newspapers and magazines and am always looking for a new way to reach out. I’ve also appeared as a guest on BBC Radio Lancashire a few times which is a great way to spread the word.    

Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone starting out on a writing career?
A. Read as much as you can in your chosen subject or genre. Look at what engages you as a reader and what turns you off. A good trick is to note when you put a book down and why. Discarding interruptions or dropping asleep late at night, and suchlike; when you have finished the book, whether you liked it overall or not, go back through your notes; you’ll learn a lot. I’ll bet with you now that you will have rarely put the book down during dialogue (unless it has been long and wordy - which should have been edited out) or during an action scene. I would also advice that when you have finished your book and been through it many times until it is as good as you can make it, then get it critiqued. I paid for a professional one with my first book so I could get the structure correct, such as sorting out point of view etc. but aside from that give it to people whose feedback you trust to be honest and constructive. I still have a number of readers who will look at every book I write before I even consider sending it off. Oh, and grow a thick skin, you may need it from time to time.    

Q. Do you have website or social media page you would like to invite us to visit?
A. My website is www.rogerapriceauthor.com and my Blogsite (where you can join my mailing list if you wish) is www.rogerapriceauthor.blogspot.co.uk

Q. Do you have links on twitter or any other social media sites? 
My Facebook Author Page is: 
And my Twitter account is: @RaPriceAuthor

Or you can email my author account at RAPriceAuthor@aol.com

CLICK HERE for Roger's amazon page  but enjoy this sneak preview of the book coverfs below....