Nick Quantrill is a Hull based writer of short stories that have been published in Volumes Eight, Nine and Ten of “The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime” and the Joe Geraghty series of novels, which I love. This week saw the release of the third book in the series, The Crooked Beat, and I caught up with Nick and asked him some questions. Here is what he had to say.
I love Joe – Is he based on anyone or did he come solely from your creative mind?
That’s very kind. Joe’s very much defined by what he isn’t. I was conscious that writing about a PI in Hull wasn’t necessarily going to be an easy task, more that I had to make him relevant in some way. I wanted to move away from the PI clichés of femme fatales walking in with cases to solve, bottles of whiskey in the desk drawer and wise cracking when the chips are down. Joe is a fairly regular, if resourceful, northern man.
Which book did you enjoy writing the most?
I think the right answer to that one is always the current one. Once a book is finished, I quickly lose interest in it. I want to be pushing on with something new. In terms of the Geraghty novels, I’ve enjoyed writing all of them so far. “Broken Dreams” was the first one, so by definition it was exciting and different. Having the death of the city’s fishing industry in the background was a real opportunity for me to engage with my home city, too, and its history. “The Late Greats” looks at a reforming band, and given music is one of my passions, I had a lot of fun with that novel. Probably too much! “The Crooked Beat” instinctively felt more complex, both in terms of plot and the moral ambiguity in it, so the challenge felt that bit bigger.
Do you have any writing habits?
Only so far as trying to do a bit every day, be it editing or research if I’m not writing, every single day. If you do that, you keep your head in the story and you’re always making progress. In terms of place and time, I try and make the best use of what’s available.
Kindle/E reader or Print Book?
Tough question. Can I have both? No? I’m going to say my Kindle, but only because I don’t get to bookshops all that often these days. Kindle is just too convenient and easy, isn’t it? Weirdly, if I’m reading for research, it has to be print.
Ye Olde Dinner Party Question – top 3 favoured guests dead or alive and why?
Seeing as I’m a writer, I should invite a wordsmith. John Steinbeck is my absolute favourite, so he’s a must. His books are full of warmth and compassion, so I’d really like to confirm he was the same. I suspect he was. I’d also really like to invite my dad. He died just before my first book was published, and although he knew it was happening, it would be nice to tell him about all that’s happened since. Lastly, I would definitely want Billy Whitehurst to join us. He was my boyhood hero as a Hull City AFC supporter. He’s what you’d politely call ‘old school’. Alan Hansen is quoted that although he’d played against the likes of Maradona, it was Billy he feared the most. Literally. If we had any problems with the service or the food, Billy would sort it for us.
What one item would you save from a burning house?
We’ll assume my wife, daughter and cat aren’t ‘items’, so I’m looking at my pile of precious things, books and music, and what not. I really don’t want to sound like a raging egotist, but I have a box of cuttings and posters that I want my daughter to see when she’s a bit older. I’d hate to lose that. I’d also hate to lose my signed copy of Luca Veste’s debut novel, “Dead Gone”. It’ll be worth a fortune soon! Other things are just ‘stuff’. I also back my work up regularly to a SkyDrive, so no worries there…
Review: The Crooked Beat.
The third in the “Joe Geraghty” series finds Joe all at sea and unsure where his life is going – when his brother ends up in trouble though his immediate path is clear. Find the truth. Make things right.
This series has been steadily getting better and better and hey it was terrific in the first place. I particularly loved the use of past and present timelines in this outing – Buried secrets always make for a great reading experience and Joe is going to discover plenty. Cleverly intertwined, the two tales slowly come together to form the whole – with many surprises along the way.
The sense of place is fantastic..I have never visited Hull but after reading this and the previous novels I really feel like I have – and thats a talent to be sure. The backdrop adds great depth to the story and gets you involved.
As I’ve said before, the “private detective” in fiction is rarely used as successfully as your standard “DI with a past” but Mr Quantrill, like John Connolly and Robert Crais before him has managed to write a character you can get behind. And he’s British – whats not to love?
I would recommend these novels to anyone with a love of crime fiction. Perhaps slightly overlooked in the genre, that should be rectified. Start with “Broken Dreams” and take it from there…..
My thanks to the author for the copy of this book for review.
Find out more about Nick here: http://www.nickquantrill.co.uk/
Follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/NickQuantrill
Clickety Click for purchase information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nick-Quantrill/e/B003QNKHO2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Happy Reading Folks!