Q, How did you get started writing A, I always wrote but had never finished anything until the death of my son in 2007. It was a turning point where I decided I could no longer put off my dreams and finally finished my first novel in 2010.
Q, What drew you to crime fiction? A, I have always loved mysteries dating back to being a boy reading the Secret Seven stories of Enid Blyton.
Q, Which crime writers past or present have influenced your style of writing? A, I always loved the hard-boiled private eye stories of Hammett, Chandler and Ross Macdonald. They were the inspiration for Craig Campbell who I see as a modern Scottish version of those honorable, tough men. I also love many of my fellow Scottish crime writers, so there are probably some of them in there too.
Q, Which series of books to you find easier to write, the Reluctant Detective or Russell and Menzies A, Craig is easier because I’m not constrained by the rules of police procedure as I am in the Russell & Menzies books.
Q, Did you find it hard to get publisher interest when you first started writing A, Publishers are having a tough time and are looking for surefire sales, so new writers find it difficult to get noticed. Self-publishing has allowed me to get my books out to the readers.
Q, why did you decide to set the majority of your books in Glasgow? A, I’m a Glaswegian born and bred. The city is a complex mix of contradictions that make it almost a character in its own right.
Q, Did you find it hard to write the reluctant detective novels the Island Murder and the Good Girl as they were mostly set outside of Glasgow A, The two novels outside the city were set in places I was very familiar with, that each had their own very different characteristics. A private detective is allowed that little bit of extra scope to travel outside the city streets.
Q, Do you think that with the amalgamation in April of the Scottish police force in to one organization could affect your Russell and Menzies books in the future A, The new force means that I’ll need to do more research but it opens up the possibility of Russell & Menzies visiting other cities, so it could be interesting I think
Q, What kind of research did you have to undertake for your books A, For Soul seeker I spent time in the new Glasgow mortuary which was invaluable and fascinating. I also spoke to a police detective and pathology technician. I love the research because I get to speak to people about their job.
Q, Was it an easy switch for you to go from writing about one major character, the Reluctant Detective books to having a group of major characters, Russell and Menzies books A, After speaking to the policeman, the police procedural books became a lot more complicated. Category A murders are investigated by huge numbers of detectives and I felt I had to reflect that in some way. It gives me a huge creative sandbox to play in but it is definitely tougher than writing Craig.
Q, Since you have started writing crime novels have any known authors given you any advice A, Unfortunately not, although I have made contact with James Oswald who has won a publishing contract on the strength of his self-published books.
Q, Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa A, I wanted my detectives to be decent people first and foremost. Craig, Tom and Alex all have an essence of decency that I hope reflects my own approach to life and other people but in saying that I wish I had their bravado. Craig’s Ducati is definitely one part of him that I would love to have
Q, What do you see for the future of the Reluctant Detective and Russell and Menzies in your books A, I always have ideas and I’m currently writing the first part of a trilogy featuring Tom Russell as a young detective. My next full novel will be a very dramatic return for Craig.
Q. Have you been surprised by the success of your novels A, To some degree yes as I know how competitive the market is. I think Craig was a refreshing change from traditional police detectives, so that helped to gain some positive reviews. I set out to entertain and hope that people will continue to enjoy what I write.
Q, As a blossoming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share A, Write what you believe in, if it’s the kind of thing you would like to read, others will too. Get an editor, particularly if you decide to self-publish. Don’t put off publishing because you want the book to be perfect, no one has ever written the perfect book, no one ever will. Be positive and believe in yourself.
Reluctant Dectetive Books
The Reluctant Dectetive
The Good Girl
The Killer Performer
The Island Murder
Russell and Menzies Books
For more information check out the following websites
Sinclair MacLeod Amazon Page
Or his Facebook Book Author Page