Delighted to welcome Adrian Magson to Love Books Group Blog. Today is publication day for Rocco and the Nightingale. Adrian is here for an exclusive interview.
When a minor Paris criminal is found stabbed in the neck on a country lane in Picardie it looks like another case for Inspector Lucas Rocco. But instead, he is called off to watch over a Gabonese government minister, hiding out in France following a coup. Meanwhile, Rocco discovers that there is a contract on his head taken out by an Algerian gang leader with a personal grudge against him.
An Interview with Adrian Magson
Describe yourself using three words?
Driven. Dreamer. Inventive.
What inspired you to write your first novel?
Years of reading crime novels from the age of 8, of writing hundreds of short stories and features for women’s magazines (while trying to sell a novel. This took 6 books before it finally worked).
What time of day do you like to write?
I try to stick to office hours, beginning at about 9am (-ish), but my most productive time is late afternoon. Then there are times in the middle of the night when inspiration strikes.
What is your favourite book and why?
Assuming you mean my own book (which sounds a bit conceited), it’s always the last one (in this case ‘Rocco and the Nightingale’ – ‘Nightingale’ for short). In second place is ‘Red Station’, the first in the Harry Tate series, and third place ‘The Watchman’, the first in the Marc Portman series. And, of course, ‘Death on the Marais’, the first in the Inspector Lucas Rocco series. I think I like these firsts in series because they mark a change in direction each time, which is exciting. I love writing series but I think I must have a short attention span.
How did you pick the title of your book?
I look for a link to the story. In ‘Nightingale’ it was because that is the name of the professional assassin sent to eliminate Inspector Lucas Rocco, and I thought it had the right ring to it. Sometimes, however, this isn’t too easy because other books with identical titles might already exist, which can confuse the browser. Sometimes my agent or publisher might have a view on it, which is when we roll around in the gutter until one of us shouts, ‘Okay!’
Are the characters in your book based on real people?
Mme Denis, Rocco’s neighbour, is based on our elderly and very sweet next-door neighbour when my family lived in France in the 1960s (and where I went to school in a village not unlike the setting, Poissons-les-Marais). I have only used one real (live) person, however, and that was in my last book, ‘Dark Asset’, because a teacher friend of mine in Malawi asked me to – but only if the character met a nasty end. He did and my friend was delighted. Well, he did ask…
What’s your favourite word?
Conniption. Although thankfully I have very few reasons to use it. It means have a rage or a fit of hysterics.
If you were a colour what would it be?
Blue. Not because I’m sad. It goes with almost anything.
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
Definitely, go with the flow. I’ve tried planning but always go off-piste as soon as I start writing in earnest. I work on the basis that if a plot surprises me, it’ll surprise the hell out of the reader.
Who is your favourite Author?
It changes. The current favourite is Mick Herron, a spy writer. Leslie Thomas, though is probably my overall favourite.
You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?
The Saint (Leslie Charteris), because Charteris’s hero got me hooked on writing crime thrillers with a touch of humour. Virgil Flowers (John Sandford), because Flowers is a bit of an anti-hero, which I like. Modesty Blaise (Peter O’Donnell), because she was the first kick-ass heroine I ever read and she still hasn’t been bettered in my view and didn’t need a Spandex cat-suit. Charlie Muffin (Brian Freemantle), because he’d turn up inappropriately dressed and not give a damn.
What book are you reading at the moment?
‘The Plea’ (Steve Cavanagh). It’s very good.
Where in the world is your happy place?
With Ann, my wife – wherever she is. She makes me smile. Is that soppy? Of course and I don’t care.
If you had one superpower what would it be?
Invisibility. That could be a problem at book launches… or maybe a boon.
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?
I think Fagin was very misunderstood, although he’d be accused of feeding the gig economy now, I suppose.
Are you working on a new project?
Yes. But I can’t say anything about it, not because it’s secret but in case I jinx it.
Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?
‘Nightingale’ comes out on the 19th October. I think it’s being launched at Goldsboro Books in London’s Cecil Court, but don’t anyone hold me to that in case it changes.
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