Author Q&A with Peter Robinson

Hi everyone,

Today I’m pleased to be able to share another Q&A with you all. Today’s one is with the creator of DCI Banks, Peter Robinson.

Peter Robinson’s latest book featuring DCI Banks, Sleeping In The Ground, was published just last week!

About the book:

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A shocking mass murder occurs at a wedding in a small Dales church and a huge manhunt follows. Eventually, the shooter is run to ground and things take their inevitable course.

But Banks is plagued with doubts as to exactly what happened outside the church that day, and why. Struggling with the death of his first serious girlfriend and the return of profiler Jenny Fuller into his life, Banks feels the need to dig deeper into the murders, and as he does so, he uncovers forensic and psychological puzzles that lead him to the past secrets that might just provide the answers he is looking for.

When the surprising truth becomes clear, it is almost too late.

SLEEPING IN THE GROUND by Peter Robinson is published by Hodder & Stoughton in hardback now.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

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Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between Richmond and Canada. Peter has written twenty-two books in the bestselling DCI Banks series as well as two collections of short stories and three standalone novels, the most recent of which is Number One bestseller BEFORE THE POISON. The critically acclaimed crime novels have won numerous awards in Britain, the United States, Canada and Europe, and are published in translation all over the world.

Peter’s DCI Banks is now a major ITV1 drama by Left Bank productions. Stephen Tompkinson (Wild at Heart, Ballykissangel) plays Inspector Banks, and Andrea Lowe (The Bill, Murphy’s Law) plays DI Annie Cabbot. The first series aired in Autumn 2011 with an adaptation of FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, the second in Autumn 2012, and the third in February 2014.

Peter’s standalone novel BEFORE THE POISON won the IMBA’s 2013 Dilys Award as well as the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel by the Crime Writers of Canada. This was Peter’s sixth Arthur Ellis award.

Find out more from Peter’s website, http://www.inspectorbanks.com, or visit his Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/peterrobinsonauthor.


Who I am …  

I am a writer who likes to write my DCI Alan Banks crime thrillers, but also one who likes to take a break and try other things too… short stories stand-alone novels, that sort of thing.   I split my time between Canada and England… I met my wife in Canada and her family is there, so Canada is part of our lives.    Books take up most of my time – whether reading, talking about, writing or promoting.   And I travel a LOT.

 

Writing …

is something I’ve always done – and I honestly can’t remember when I started, but I do know that from very young I had a big ledger type book in which I’d write and illustrated my stories.   Back then they would be my own versions of heroic and exciting stories like Ivanhoe, Robin Hood or William Tell.  Then I started reading science fiction and so I wrote it too … then this progressed into crime and thriller stories.   At about 16 years old I became interested in poetry, and I wrote almost nothing else for the next 15 or 16 years.    At that point I was bitten by the crime bug!

Inspiration …

I can never find an answer for this because I simply don’t know what it is!

 

My books …

They are more or less straight crime novels – featuring the policeman Alan Banks.  He started life with the Force in London, and then migrated north to Yorkshire – where he works with a small team.   He rather expected life to be more peaceful out of the big city – but he soon found out it wasn’t!

 

Social media …

I am quite sure it is important, and I am happy that I have a Facebook page and a website.  And having people chatter on social media does help a lot.  I worry about maintaining Twitter though, and I know that some authors are much more active on all forms of social media than others!

 

Fave thing about being an author: 

I think just being lucky enough to do what I’ve always wanted to do, and to be able to make a living out of it.   I see many people unhappy at work, and I thank my stars that I am able to do this job.

 

Least fave: 

I’d like to have more time to set aside for poetry.  Sometimes a writer realises they are spending too much time in their own heads as well… and we need to get out an meet people (which is why promotion tours are a good thing!).  So less of the hermit would be a good, if not productive, thing too.

 

Reading:

I always read and always have.  When I was a boy, people would say that I always had my head buried in a book.  I read a lot of crime and thrillers – although never when I am writing my own.    Also general novels as well as a lot of biographies and non-fiction.

 

Top books: 

I am always cautious with this question, because there are so many answers!    But a general sweep would bring up mostly classics, I guess.   Let’s see … Brighton Rock by Graham Greene, I’d had a Sherlock Holmes, so The Hound of the Baskervilles, the one for Yorkshire, so it would have to be Wuthering Heights and I love The Go-Between, so that would be up there too.

 

Leisure time …

Clearly reading is leisurely too!  Then there is listening to music and travel.  Sitting outdoors watching and listening to nature is big on the list, both in the Dales and in the Canadian lakes.

 

I don’t really have any hobbies – only interests like music, travel and books

 

Top destination

Each place I visit is the new favourite!   But I am going back to Japan next year, so that must be the real favourite.  I find the mix of old and new there utterly fascinating and they have a wonderful flare for art and design.

 

Food –

Steak, frites and something chocolate for pudding

 

Drink –

A nice southern hemisphere red wine – or that is what I drink most!

 

What else would I do –

I would probably teach English lit at some level.   I do occasional workshops still – and I have taught some classes at the University of Toronto … but the timing of promotional tours nixed those!   The thing about teaching is that you constantly learn in a way that just reading books doesn’t lead to.  You need to challenge students with ideas and angles – which makes you explore the subject.   I do miss that to some extent.


 

Many thanks to Peter and to Kerry for facilitating this Q&A! 🙂

Peter Robinson on The Team

Today I am delighted to have Peter Robinson, international bestselling author, answering a couple of questions on Bibliophile Book Club!

About Peter Robinson (via http://www.inspectorbanks.com):

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Peter Robinson was born in Yorkshire. After getting his BA Honours Degree in English Literature at the University of Leeds, he came to Canada and took his MA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor, with Joyce Carol Oates as his tutor, then a PhD in English at York University. He has taught at a number of Toronto community colleges and universities and served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor, 1992-93.

His first novel, Gallows View (1987), introduced Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks. It was short-listed for the John Creasey Award in the UK and the Crime Writers of Canada best first novel award. A Dedicated Man followed in 1988 and was short-listed for the CWC’s Arthur Ellis Award. A Necessary End and The Hanging Valley, both Inspector Banks novels, followed in 1989, and the latter was nominated for an Arthur. Both received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly in the US.

Caedmon’s Song, the first departure from the series, was published in 1990 and was also nominated for an Arthur. (It was reissued in the UK by Macmillan in September, 2003, and was published for the first time in the US by Avon Dark Passage in September, 2004, as The First Cut.) The fifth Inspector Banks novel, Past Reason Hated, won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel in 1992. The sixth, Wednesday’s Child, was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Final Account (UK Dry Bones that Dream) appeared in 1994 and won an Author’s Award from the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters in 1995.

The eighth Inspector Banks novel, Innocent Graves (1996) was picked as one of Publishers Weekly’s best mysteries of 1996 and selected as “page-turner of the week” by People magazine. Innocent Graves was also nominated for a Hammett Award for “literary excellence in the field of crime writing” by the International Association of Crime Writers, and won the author his second Arthur Ellis Award for best novel. In a Dry Season, the tenth in the series, won the Anthony and Barry awards for best novel and was nominated for the Edgar, Hammett, Macavity and Arthur Ellis Awards. In 2001, it also won France’s Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and Sweden’s Martin Beck Award. It was also a New York Times “notable book” of 1999. The next book Cold is the Grave, won the Arthur Ellis Award and was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. In 2006 it won the Danish Palle Rosenkrantz Award. Aftermath appeared in 2002 and made the top ten in both the UK and Canadian bestseller lists, where it reached number one.

In 2002, Robinson was awarded the “Dagger in the Library” by the CWA. The thirteenth Banks novel, The Summer that Never Was (US Close to Home), appeared on the New York Times expanded bestseller list in February, 2003, and on both the UK and Canadian bestseller lists and was nominated for an Arthur Ellis and an Anthony award. Playing with Fire, published in January, 2004, was nominated for both the Arthur Ellis and Hammett awards. Strange Affair (January, 2005) was nominated for Arthur Ellis and a Macavity awards.The books have been translated into nineteen languages. Piece of My Heart appeared in 2006, and in 2007, Friend of the Devil reached Number One in the Sunday Times hardcover bestseller list. In January, 2008, Robinson was presented with the Celebrates Reading Award by the Toronto Libraries.

Guest post:

Putting the Team Back Together

 

Although Alan Banks is the star of the show he has been well supported by Annie and Winsome down the years. Are the books more of a team story than they used to be?

Yes, I think they are. It took many years to find the right team, and I even had to kill off a couple of earlier members who weren’t going anywhere! I think now with Banks, Gervaise, Winsome, Annie and Gerry, I can switch between the characters to let Banks take a breather every now and then. He’s always there, of course, but not always to the fore. I’m not too sure about Doug Wilson yet, so I’m going to have to make my mind up whether to give him a bigger role or phase him out. If he goes, though, that will leave Banks completely surrounded by strong women, which was never my intention! Not that he can’t handle it.

 

Shaking up the dynamic between the characters also makes for interesting twists – Annie and Alan’s relationship for example.

Well, that’s always going to be there in the background of all their future dealings, but it’s unspoken for the most part. I think they have a good relationship now, which would probably be ruined by any rekindling of the romance, so that’s unlikely to happen.

 

Can a “bad seed” be introduced to the team or is it important that the core characters are a stable feature to ground the next story?

Yes, a bad seed can certainly be introduced, but would most likely last only one book, two at the most, before he or she had to suffer dire consequences. I mean, Chief Constable Riddle and DC Kevin Templeton were only marginally bent, but look at what happened to them! I also come back to DI Chadwick, from the late sixties, in When the Music’s Over, and I find him interesting to look at as a bad seed. His conduct was far from honest in Piece of My Heart, and his actions in the latest book would hardly count as exemplary police work. So there’s always the possibility of a bad seed in the future.

My thanks to Peter Robinson for answering those questions!