Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, an isolated industrial city in East Yorkshire. His trilogy of Private Investigator novels featuring Joe Geraghty are published by Fahrenheit Press and he’s hard at work on a fourth. A prolific short story writer, his work has appeared in various volumes of “The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime”. Nick is also the co-founder of the Hull Noir festival.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
I find myself in the slightly unusual position of having my first three novels, which feature Joe Geraghty (Private Investigator), republished by the amazing Fahrenheit Press, complete with corking new covers. As well as being gritty and gripping crime novels, they chart my home city of Hull’s transformation from being labelled the UK’s top ‘Crap Town’ through to being the current UK City of Culture.
Who would your book be perfect for?
As a writer, you always hope a wide audience will be interested in your work, but I guess mine will appeal to those who enjoy UK-set crime novels, particularly if you’re looking for a strong sense of place and are keen to maybe discover a place you maybe haven’t actually visited. I’m not a fan of gory crime novels myself, so you won’t get any of that, but if you like a bit of northern violence and swearing, I’m your man.
Did you have a favourite character to write?
The trilogy is told through the eyes of Joe Geraghty, so I have to choose him. I’ve become quite fond of him, it has to be said. When I was thinking about what form he would take, I knew I had to play against the PI stereotype. Joe doesn’t have femme fatales walking into his often (or at least, not very often), doesn’t have a bottle of whisky in his drawer (he’s strictly a lager man) and doesn’t necessarily try to wisecrack his way out of situations (because being punched really, really hurts). The challenge was to take the US template and subvert it into the present day in the north of England.
What inspired you to the write the book?
It really all starts and ends with my city of Hull and a need to explore it and make sense of it for myself. ‘Broken Dreams’ is about regeneration and dirty money. ‘The Late Greats’ is about a missing musician and was inspired by hanging out with mates back in the day. ‘The Crooked Beat’ is about cigarette smuggling, the temptation of using the docks in the city too great.
What has been your proudest bookish moment?
I’ve made some great friends through books – authors, readers, bloggers – and long may that continue. In terms of events, I’ve been lucky to do some crackers. Taking part in ‘Yorkshire Pride’ at Harrogate in 2015 is a highlight, essentially Glastonbury Main Stage for crime writers. Iceland Noir in Reykjavik was fantastic, but being part of the team which put on Hull Noir in 2017 as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations was something else. We brought 40 authors to the city and produced the entire weekend, learning as we went along. It was back-breaking, stressful and rewarding in equal measure. We’re waiting to hear the result of our funding bid to (hopefully) run again, November 2019 – watch this space!
Do you have any questions for your readers?
I think social media has changed the game, so it’s an ongoing conversation between writers and readers, all bound together by a love of the genre and books. I am fascinated by the response my city often receives, good and bad, so it’s always interesting to hear what others think about it.
What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?
I’m tempted to say the next one! Reading is a total pleasure, so it could be one of hundreds. If you really do want to pin me down, I’d go for something by Steinbeck, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, maybe. Or maybe it’s ‘Catch 22’. Or maybe it’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ today. Or maybe it’s a crime novel…Raymond Chandler, Ian Rankin, George Pelecanos…
What are you working on now?
I’m hard at work on Geraghty 4. It has a title in my head, but it’s a secret for now! Coming back to a character is an interesting challenge in many ways, but I’m hugely enjoying it.
Thank you for stopping by today Nick, come back soon.
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