YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!! It’s finally my turn and I’m lucky enough to be the last stop on the blog tour for Michael Wood’s second novel, Outside Looking In.
Now, in case you didn’t know, I’m a huge fan of Michael’s DCI Matilda Darke novels. I read and loved his first book, For Reasons Unknown and you can catch my review for that by clicking HERE.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the blog tour for Outside Looking In from the start, because we’re doing something a little different to close the tour. It’s sort of a reflection post, with a few questions and I’ll throw in my review at the end for good measure 😉
First things first though…
About Michael Wood:
Michael is a freelance journalist and proofreader living in Sheffield. As a journalist he has covered many crime stories throughout Sheffield, gaining first-hand knowledge of police procedure. He also reviews books for CrimeSquad, a website dedicated to crime fiction.
About Outside Looking In:
When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead.
The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker – both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end.
The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there’s a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it’s going to take all Matilda’s wits to catch him, before he strikes again.
Some random questions from me to Michael:
You write fiction, so what’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told?
I can’t answer that question just in case the person I told the big lie to reads it. 😉
If you could be a superhero, who would you choose and why?
It would definitely be Batman. He’s my favourite superhero as he doesn’t have any actual powers. He has money and uses it to create things needed to fight crime. Very civil of him.
What literary character are you most like?
I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ve ever identified myself with a literary character. When I was young and first read Great Expectations I always wanted to be Pip and taken away from my life and shown a better one. It never happened. The older I get I think I’m more like a male version of Miss Havisham. 😂
Have you any secret talents?
None whatsoever I’m afraid.
Have you seen someone looking at/reading your books in public yet? Would you approach someone if you did and tell them you’re the author?
No I haven’t. I keep looking though. I did see a man pick my book up in my local Waterstones but he didn’t buy it. Fool. I’m not sure if I would approach them. Anyone could claim to be the author of a novel unless the writer’s photo appears on the cover.
When you edit do you leave anything big out? And does that something try to sneak back in?
You have to be ruthless in editing. It’s for the good of the story so whatever changes my editor suggests I know they’re only made to improve the story. With my first novel, For Reasons Unknown, there was an extra chapter towards the end in which a character died. My editor suggested leaving it out. At first I didn’t agree but when I came to writing book two I realised it was the best idea. Two heads are definitely better than one.
What are the best and worst things about being an author?
I love writing. I love my characters. I love researching and creating stories. I love hearing from readers saying how much they enjoy my books and characters. There’s very little I dislike about being an author. I’m still very new to this so I’m enjoying every aspect.
What would be your specialist subject in a quiz?
The comedy Red Dwarf. I’ve loved it from the beginning and it’s always my go to programme when I’m feeling blue and need cheering up. Series two takes me back to a time in my childhood that gives me comfort.
Top 5 movies/ books/ bands?
4. Back to the Future
5. L A Confidential
1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
2. Dracula by Bram Stoker
3. Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson
4. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
5. On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill
1. The Killers
5. The Feeling
Best and worst subjects in school?
Best was English. Worst was art (I cannot draw at all).
Have you ever won any awards?
None. Thanks for reminding me. 😞
Do you have a signature dish?
I have a few salmon recipes that I’m particular good at cooking. I love salmon.
What’s your favourite place on earth?
As my novels are set in Sheffield I should realistically say Sheffield. Although I don’t think I’ve been to my favourite place yet.
Who is your hero?
Good question. I don’t think I have any heroes but there are a couple of people who I greatly admire for either what they’ve overcome or the way they’ve shaped my life. Obviously, my mum and a good friend who shall remain nameless for fear of giving him a big head. 😂
Most influential authors to your work?
This could be a long list. However I shall stick to three: Minette Walters (first crime novel I ever read was written by her). Val McDermid (consistently writes at a high standard). Reginald Hill (he was more of a craftsman than a writer when it came to storytelling).
Would you give away your last Jaffa cake?
Where do you see your career going?
Onwards and upwards I hope. I’d like Matilda to be a long running series but I have idea for a couple of standalone novels too (one of which I’ve already written) and I have a great idea for a serial killer story that wouldn’t feature the police much at all (that’s still at the notes stage).
And after all that fun, here’s my review and make sure to read to the end for the last questions! 😉
My initial reaction on Goodreads:
I have just finished this book and I have so many feelings!!!! I am in bereft because I’ve devoured this book in one day after months of anticipation!
Michael Wood is an exceptional crime writer. He gives nods to other crime writers in this book, without realising he gives the same pleasure to readers of his books!
Outside Looking In is a brilliantly written, thoroughly engaging read.
From the opening pages (of which I started immediately once I got the book at midnight!!!) to the very last line, I was completely hooked.
I experienced a range of emotions reading this book, and I wasn’t expecting that at all!
The characters in Michael Wood’s books are so well thought out. I love his style of writing, and Matilda Darke is a brilliantly flawed protagonist. It’s not difficult to feel for her, to root for her and her team during the course of their investigations.
I’m always worried that after reading an authors debut that the follow up may not live up to its predecessor. With Outside Looking In, Michael Wood need not worry! A well plotted, thrilling and fast paced read, I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
My final questions…..
How do you feel now that you are a few weeks on from the publication of Outside Looking In and the blog tour has come to an end? Are you happy with the reception for the book? Would you change anything? What’s next for Michael Wood?
I am thrilled with the reception Outside Looking In has received. I already had the story in place when For Reasons Unknown was accepted by HarperCollins. As soon as I knew book one was to be published I started writing book two and it was finished (more or less) before book one was published.
People have been saying that Outside Looking In is better than the first which is wonderful to hear. For Reasons Unknown will always be special to me as it’s my first published novel. However, there is always pressure for the second to be just as good (or better) than the first. It’s a huge relief the fans of book one have enjoyed book two and taken Matilda and her team into their hearts so quickly.
My blog tour this time was twenty dates long (For Reasons Unknown was only ten dates), and it’s been fairly mixed. For the most part I’ve had some excellent bloggers. If I do another tour for book three I may go back to ten or maybe twelve and spread the dates out rather than have consecutive dates. What I’ve enjoyed doing this time around is taking quotes from various blogs and posting them on Twitter. They seem to have been received very well.
What’s next for Michael Wood? Well it’s quite an exciting time at present as I’m almost finished writing the third Matilda Darke novel. Hopefully it will be published early next year. I was surprised how people said Outside Looking In was unexpectedly darker than book one. I hope readers like their fiction dark as book three goes pitch black in places. I’m also working on something else featuring Matilda and her team. I’d love to give more news but I’m not allowed. As soon as I am able I’ll shout it from the rooftops.
I would like to take this opportunity, if I may, to thank all the bloggers who have taken part in my tour. They’ve written some wonderful reviews and I’m pleased you all seem to like Matilda as much as I do. Now, time to raid Sian’s snack drawer then get on with writing book three.
So, there you have it. I’d like to say a big thank you to Michael Wood for letting me close the tour, and answering my random messages with silly questions. It’s been a pleasure, and I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you would like to purchase Michael’s books, click on the relevant links below!
Happy reading! 🙂