PJE: Harry, thank you for answering a few questions for us on BOOKPOST MORTEM.
Firstly, hearty congratulations on your well deserved success. With the highly original and gripping Fiona Griffiths series, you are now well on your way to being a world renowned crime author. We love Fiona and look forward to her further adventures. For me personally, as I am sure for others, the tightest suspense was her role undercover in The Strange Death. My review can be found at: (https://wordpress.com/post/bookpostmortem.wordpress.com/37)
With your latest, This Thing of Darkness, in my hands and due for review in BOOK POST MORTEM shortly, and The Dead House just around the corner I believe, where would you say that you have got to in Fiona’s journey?
HB: Hmm, probably not quite halfway. I guess the series will run to about 10-12 books all told and – just to be clear – the conclusion of the series will clear up all the mysteries of Fiona’s past and how come she is the way she is.
PJE: Do you agree that Fiona has turned out to be the watershed in the success of your career?
HB: Oh, for sure. I’ve had plenty of big book deals with major publishers in the past, but I’ve never felt nearly so attached to a character or set of stories before. Readers have unquestionably responded as well. The emails I get from readers are just far more passionate than the ones I used to get. It’s as though Fiona is a real character in their lives: one they care for and worry about. Truth is, it’s exactly the same for me too.
PJE: How would you label your previous novels, as far as genre is concerned? Of which one are you most proud? Do you plan more stand-alone novels in the future?
HB: My previous work was all over the place really, but I suppose it had a Jeffrey Archer-ish centre. The ones I liked the best and that did best with readers were The Money Makers (my first novel) and The Sons of Adam.
As for the future – I’m busy enough with Fiona that I can’t see a standalone coming any time soon, though there are one or two non-fiction things I’d like to write and I do have at least one killer idea for a standalone thriller which someone really needs to write. But, you know, time . . .
PJE: You are obviously a man with wide interests, besides crime and financial stuff. Where do Consistent Adherence to Democratic Principles etc fit into your writing? According to the gospel of St Google, that is?
HB: Ah yes, according to Google, I was born in 1821 and – alas – died in 1900. Google must be right because they’ve got a photo of me and everything, and, in any case, Google is always right. So sometime after I was born and before I dropped dead, I wrote some speeches about Consistent Adherence to Democratic Principles. And damn good they are too.
PJE: Wonderful; that must have given you a chuckle! It certainly puzzled me and stirred some interest in reincarnation…
That aside, I must recommend the The Writers’ Workshop unreservedly to all aspiring authors. (www.writersworkshop.co.uk) It has turned out to be a solid success, as well as a lot of fun, as I can testify from my participation in York Festival of Writing, 2010, and the professional help you have given me for my own work. I gather that you are now the Admiral of the Writers’ Workshop fleet, rather than the Captain. Who are your Captains there now?
HB: My time is mostly spent changing nappies and writing books now, so the people who run the WW are Laura Wilkins (ship’s captain) and Nikki Holt (her first lieutenant). They do a fabulous job, but I do still keep closely in touch in everything that we’re doing. And of course, while we still have such fabulous editors, it’s pretty easy to keep our (equally fab) clients happy.
PJE: Thank you for these insights, Harry. I hope you or your publishers will continue to keep BOOK POST MORTEM on their reviewers’ mailing list. We wish you and your family all the best for the coming year.
HB: You’re welcome and thanks, Peter!