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Crime author of the month interview with RJ Mitchell


 How did you get started writing?

 Going back to my days in the Police I had always fancied writing a novel based on my experiences but the time had just never been right while a change of career into sports journalism meant the idea had to be shelved again. In 2007 my appendix burst and I knew then that the recovery period had presented me with the perfect chance to give it a go.

What drew you to write crime novels?

Having 12 years police service behind you is enough to provide anyone with a treasure trove of ideas, characters and experiences from which to draw upon when it comes to a novel and not to use them would have been almost a case of neglect. I am keen, one day, to diversify into historical writing, as history is my great passion and my degree is an MA Hons in British, European and Scottish Medieval History, but that is for later…I hope!! 

Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing? 

I am a big Bernard Cornwell fan and although he is not a crime writer, his style of writing is all about colour, characters and action. His books are real page turners and hopefully so are mine! In terms of crime fiction, for me Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse is the ultimate. 

When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest? 

Getting published was a nightmare! The first problem is to get an agent as you won’t get a publisher without one.  Despite being told my debut novel was like a cross between Life on Mars and a Martina Cole novel, I failed to get a deal and eventually it was 2011 before I got published..four years after I had written the original version of Parallel Lines: The Glasgow Supremacy. 

There are many interesting characters in your Novels, do you have a particular favourite one?

 I tend to like the bad guys. Right now I have just finished the first draft of my fourth book “The Shift” and the bad guy there is Bobby “Mojito” Dawson. The visual prompt for his character comes from a painting in Glasgow’s famous One Devonshire Gardens Hotel that hangs above the fire in the whisky snug and his nickname comes from my favourite holiday cocktail! 

What kind of research have you had to undertake for your Novels? 

Because I have so much experience in “crime” I am pretty lucky in that respect. But in my second novel “The Hurting: The Glasgow Terror” the story is set around a terrorist attack on Glasgow and I did have to do a fair bit of reading on terrorists etc. While my third book “The Longest Shadow” drew its inspiration from the wartime murder of Gertrude Canning, which I am confident is still the subject of an establishment cover-up that perpetuates to this day. So it all depends on the theme of the novel. 

Are the characters in your books based on any real life? 

Of course, because the type of people I met in “the job” were just too interesting and colourful not to use. But I tend to make my book characters hybrids of two or three people rather than based on just one single person. 

What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Scottish Crime Fiction Novels out there? 

Real life experience.  If you like your crime thrillers action driven with characters that are believable and full of betrayal heartbreak and revenge it’s time you met Gus Thoroughgood!! 

 Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?

 Thoroughgood’s love of music is very much mine but apart from that…well that would be telling!!!

If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned? 

My fourth book “The Shift” is due out in November and is set in 1989. It draws heavily upon what happened to me as a rookie cop just graduated from Glasgow University and also draws upon Glasgow’s infamous Ice Cream War. 

Out of all the Novels you have written do you have a favourite one that stands out to you?

I like “The Longest Shadow”, which is the third in the Thoroughgood series. As I mentioned earlier the inspiration for it was the 1942 murder of Gertrude Canning and I just found that fascinating material from which to pen my own novel.

As an up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share?

Never give up!


Parallel Lines

The Hurting

The Longest Shadow

The Shift ( Due November 2015)

Amazon Author Page


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