Det är knappast någon hemlighet att Mark Billingham är en av mina favoritförfattare och nyfiken som jag är så vill jag veta mer om honom. Vad passar då bättre än en intervju?
Describe yourself with three words:
Tall. Loyal. Loud.
When did you start your writing career?
Well I first began writing professionally for television in the late eighties and carried on doing that for a little over ten years. I got my first book deal in 2000 and ‘Sleepyhead’ was published in 2001. I have been a full time writer of crime fiction ever since.
Why Crime Novels?
Simply, because they are what I like to read. I have always been an enormous fan of crime fiction, so when I sat down to write a novel, there was no chance of it ever being anything BUT a crime novel. To this day, I’m a little disconcerted if I find myself reading something without a murder or two. Or at least somebody getting beaten up…
Is there any role models behind your main character Tom Thorne or is he plain and simple a fictitious person?
Yes, he’s purely fictitious. I always wanted him to be a character who would grow and develop over the series of novels and, to that end. I had no plan for him. I still don’t. The reader knows as much at any one time as I do about Thorne. This way, I hope that he will stay unpredictable. The day he ceases to surprise me AND the readers is the day I will stop writing about him.
How does it feel to see your own name on the top of almost every Best Seller Lists around the world?
Well that’s far from being true. I sell pretty well here at home and in a few other places, but there are PLENTY of countries where I don’t do well at all! I feel very privileged to be able to write full time and if, beyond that, people actually want to buy the books then that is fantastic. I still get a huge buzz out of seeing my books in a shop or spotting somebody reading one on a train or on a beach. The day I don’t get that buzz is probably the day to chuck it in and do something else for a living. Having said that, I’m not sure I could DO anything else.
What are you doing in your spare time, that is if you have any?
Trying to catch up on reading. Watching movies and listening to music. Oh, and playing the guitar badly. I’ve been having lessons for a wile and now I can just about bash my way through most Johnny Cash or Hank Williams tunes, which will do me very nicely.
Which swedish authors have you heard about and who is your personal favourite and why?
Well obviously I’ve heard of Mankell and of course Stieg Larsson, but my favourite Swedish crime writers are Wahloo and Sjowall who still do not get the credit they deserve.
Do you have any tips for all the writing wannabees out there?
Just to keep writing. Publshed writers are just unpublished ones who did not give up. Oh and read! I’m always amazed at people who think they can write when they never read. How can you be a chef if you don’t eat?
You have won some prizes. Which one is you most proud of?
Well, ANY prize is very nice, but I’m enormously proud of having won the Theakston’s Old Peculier award twice. It’s largely voted for by the public, so that means a great deal.
One last question: I keep coming back to your fantastic novel Sleepyhead. How did you come up with the idea of writing from the perspective of the victim? How did you do to climb into her head to see what she was seeing, feel what she was feeling and so on. I just love that novel and I feel that it´s time for a re-read. Anytime soon!
I was always determined to write from the point of view of the victim. In too much crime fiction, the victim is all but ignore. They are just there to make a plot happen and the reader never gets to know or care about them. I’ve always hated that. I wanted Alison in “Sleepyhead” to be a major character and getting inside her head was a real challenge. I hear a lot about “cliffhangers” and the other tricks involved in creating suspense, but the truth is there is no trick. If you want to create REAL suspense, just create characters that the reader cares about.
Jag var uppenbart inte så väl påläst då jag antog att han sålde bra överallt. Man lär sig något nytt varje dag!