So I'm back into the UK after a week long adventure in Cyprus I have come back to a wonderful guest post from a brilliant author. I seriously LOVE participating in these things because not only to I get to hear and see so many brilliant books, I also get to be part of an incredible community.
A family of four is found murdered in the heart of one of the new Art Deco estates in the city. It’s a brutal crime, committed without mercy. Under questioning, a suspect confesses, but Danilov is not convinced of his guilt. When the accused is murdered on the steps of the police station, he investigates to clear the man’s name, diving deep into the dark heart of Shanghai, uncovering the greed and jealousy, triads and police corruption that lurks in the City of Shadows.
This is the second book in the Danilov series. The first, Death in Shanghai, is also available from Carina.
Guest Post: I’ve committed murder in the past.
I’m sorry that’s not an admission of some dark secret- an appetite for murder with all the abandon of Jack the Ripper with a new knife.
It is simply that I write historical crime and love doing it. I’ve tried to write more modern stuff but I’m afraid, for me, it always falls flat unless there is a historical element added to it.
I think having a crime in the past allows me to distance myself from it, creating a situation and a time which allows the most heinous murders to be committed without feeling a sense of threat or terror.
Like all good crime fiction, it gives a vicarious feeling of terror to the reader. But once it’s over, they can put the book down, make a cup of tea, and give the hubby a swift kick.
How did I get into writing historical crime?
Well, I did my first degree and postgraduate study in history. Weirdly, I’d fallen in love with the subject when I was six. My mother had given me one of those illustrated books of the kings and queens of England. I was fascinated by it and that fascination continued throughout my school years. It was a no-brainer which subject I would study when I went to University.
But why historical crime?
I'd been writing for most of my life, and had finished a couple of novels without ever publishing them. One day, I was re-categorising my books (as you do) and decided to change from an alphabetical author list to something more akin to the Dewey Decimal Classification.
I know, I know, either I'm terminally OCD or I have far too much time on my hands. Probably both. But I discovered that the biggest section was crime, followed by historical novels, with a wonderful cross-over between the two.
At the time, I was living in Shanghai and loving the city. Particularly, walking around the French concession and discovering the old art deco buildings that still exist in profusion.
Then a visit to the Shanghai Police Museum sealed it for me. Why not bring all those elements together in a historical crime novel set in the 1920s? Danilov was born and I began to write the first book.
I had finally turned to crime. Now I could murder people without serving a day in jail. Instead, I spend my days with my head in the past, dreaming of murder.
Crime. It’s quite a nice way to earn a living. Maybe crime does pay after all.
Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations. Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.
When he's not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.