Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Roger Silverwood to my blog. Roger is a very well established author with a very impressive back catalogue! How did I not know about him before now? Author, John Pye introduced me to Roger, who very kindly agreed to answer my questions. I’m sure you’ll enjoy his wonderful answers.
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I live on my own, in Barnsley, in a quiet little house in the middle of nowhere at the foot of the Pennines. I write because I can’t stop it. I have always enjoyed writing fiction particularly mystery and comedy.
But I didn’t get started writing properly until an accident playing football damaged my back and I was confined to bed. During some of that time, I wrote a book called DEADLY DAFFODILS which amazingly was accepted for publishing by the first publisher to see it. Thereafter, I have had 31 books published in the UK with various editions in the USA. I have also written a radio play called THE TOLLINGTON GHOST which was broadcast across the USA and Canada in March 2006.
I have written 4 stand alone novels, but of late, I write mostly about a character called Inspector Angel. He’s a detective of the old school trying to keep up with all the new features of forensic investigation. He lives in the market town of Bromersley in South Yorkshire with his wife, Mary.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Life. I can’t for a fact say where the ideas come from, but I watch the news and observe my friends and relations and from them sometimes recognise and isolate situations and relationships between them and the beginning of a plot may develop. From that situation I ask myself questions such as, what if he was murdered? what if she didn’t tell him about x?, what if an outsider came in? and so on. Then I ask myself what could be the outcome? Would it make an entertaining read? And does it have a surprise exposé? And so on. It’s a tedious method. I reject about 9 out of 10 of the ideas. It’s hard work but I know of no other.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Yes. My character, Inspector Angel is taken from a gentleman who is now dead. He was my backstop. He was a little unusual. He was educated in the university of life. He was dead honest but was not soft. I knew exactly what he thought on most subjects. When he was alive I used to talk to him a lot and draw him out on any subject I needed for my plot. Also I used to watch his mannerisms and facial expressions. He died not knowing his relationship to my main character. I loved him and miss him. Now I have to visualise him. My grandmother is my blueprint of Mrs Buller-Price, who appears in some of the titles. She loved everything and everybody, adored animals, wouldn’t harm a fly, gave generously to all charities and everybody else, and in my books, I sometimes write her in as a prison visitor. And my mother -God bless her – I use for most mature women. I exaggerate her bad points something wicked which I hope readers find entertaining.
How do you pick your characters names?
Very haphazardly. I don’t have a particular method. If I’m stuck, I look in the phone book.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I have a small bedroom upstairs which I use as my working place. It is furnished with conventional office stuff. Although there are built in shelves and a stand alone bookcase, the room is overloaded with books. Some are mine in their various editions; there are reference books and sundry other books mostly by current authors. If there is an empty place, there are books on it.
I have a four screen computer set up which helps me a lot when I am writing a book. Saves time searching back for character’s name, a date, making sure that the sequence is kept. It’s a place for any specialist detail you might need to refer to. It’s helpful when you are checking the copy through and ‘polishing’ the narrative.
I suffer from cold feet, summer as well as through the winter, so I have a special platform heater under the computer table on which I rest my stocking covered feet as I am writing. I go to the gym early every morning and when I come back I might start writing, or I might have to deal with yesterday’s post, or unblock the sink, or have the car serviced or check my bank statement, or pay a bill. I may have to discuss house-keeping matters with my home help, who comes in every day. When I have dealt with the humdrum chores of living, then I may have time to write. Most afternoons I can devote entirely to it. If I’m lucky I can write through to five or six o’clock. It depends on how easy it is flowing – or maybe it isn’t. I then knock off for an early supper and watch TV until around 8 o’clock when I go to bed.
Do you have a favourite author?
Dashiell Hammett and lately, John Harvey.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Stephen King, and I would say, ‘How do you do it?’
Were you a big reader as a child?
The first book I read with help from my father was Peter Pan. When we reached the end page I thought I was the smartest kid in town. As soon as I realised that I could read at a fair speed, I joined the local library and I couldn’t get enough of Richmal Crompton and the ‘Just William’ books. Then onto Ratty, Mole and Mr Toad followed by Biggles. The library opened the world to me, and I didn’t mind going to bed early in daylight if I had a book to read
When did you start to write?
I started at an early age. I lived in Barnsley but I was sent away to a school in Gloucestershire (don’t ask why!) where I launched a school magazine, which became very popular and exceeded the circulation of the official school magazine. So the headmaster banned it. I don’t remember much about it now, but I recall it’s Latin motto was Nunquam Tristor Momentum, which meant ‘never a dull moment,’ and was absolutely true. I had a great time at school. I left at 18 with my school certificate in eight subjects and a distinction in Art.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Funnily enough, I changed an ending recently. My character Detective Inspector Michael Angel always identified the baddy in the last chapter and locked him up. In my latest book, THE LIPSTICK MURDERS, the baddy had been identified and I had allowed him to escape from Angel’s hands by four minutes. I thought that in 26 books the copper had always caught the villain, so wouldn’t it be a change for the reader, for me to allow the baddy to escape? I thought that then in subsequent books, I could re-introduce him and Angel can arrest him then. It would make for a change.
Well, the publisher’s reader thought that the baddy should not be allowed to escape. So I gave way and rewrote the ending incorporating a little twist in the plot – all quireasonable – so that our hero got his man.
Thinking about it, I don’t know whether I should have made the change.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on another book which is not an Angel book. It’s about a police inspector working in the city for Scotland Yard and it is set in 1912. I promise you it is not about Jack the Ripper and it is absolutely fog free! It is tentatively called THE CLOCKWORK MOUSE MURDERS.
Do you have a new release due?
In May last THE LIPSTICK MURDERS was released in hardback. In September, for readers of eBooks, it was released entitled THE FACE OF A MURDERER. I expect my next book to be THE CLOCKWORK MOUSE MURDERS in 2017.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
The address of my website, which is a mine of information, is <www.rogersilverwood.uwclub.net>
Readers can always email me from a link on there, which is <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Many thanks to Roger for joining me on my blog and to John Pye for introducing us 🙂
You will find all of Roger’s books on his Amazon author page HERE