Published by graham on Sat, 08/18/2012 - 13:09
Crime writer Graham Hurley admits to being mega-organised. 'The knowledge that I have to fill the fridge every day is a great discipline – and always has been. In a previous life I was a salaried TV documentary producer and knew I could depend on a monthly pay cheque. Once I stepped into the world of writerdom, that safety net vanished. In this business, especially in the current climate, you're always at the mercy of your last set of sales figures. If the stuff doesn't work on the page - and in the marketplace - you're going to be looking at an empty fridge.’ Thus the need for focus, unremitting effort and organisation.'
'I write full -time, in the sense that writing is my only source of income. I'm at my PC by half eight most mornings. I write one novel a year. I start in October and must be through by Christmas. A couple of months is normally ample time to get the thing finished. Making it possible to construct a working year around this spasm of intense writerly effort has always been a dream and since I became a full-time scribe- - 26 books ago - and it's always seemed to work. 5,000 words a day is a great way to bury the onset of winter. During the writing period pretty much everything - except weekends, the occasional speaking engagement, and our twice-weekly outings with three other guys in an offshore rowing quad - takes second place to the PC. Every writer I know follows a different route up the mountain. This one works for me. I love building the pressure as day follows day, until the book achieves a strange critical mass and begins to write itself. At that point, and beyond, you're gladly trapped in a kind of magic. Your attendance is still required at the keyboard but something else is going on amongst all those characters you've created. Weird but wonderful.’
'I live with my wife, Lin, in Exmouth, Devon. Our eldest son and his wife are round the corner and have recently produced the glorious Dylan John, of whom we see a lot. Our house looks out across the Exe estuary. In the milky distilnce lie Torbay and Berry Head. I must have checked oul this view on thousands of mornings and the play of light is never the same, It’s utterly magical.
‘I write in a tiny room five storeys up at the very top of the house. For 200 years this was nothing more than a draughty roof space with rattling tiles, an assortment of wild life and – on windy nights – the distant rasp of the surf on the beach. Seven years ago we had the opportunity to covert it into a different kind of head space: intimate, cluttered, cosy and warm, with the two Velux windows regularly carpet bombed by the marauding gulls. I love everything about it. Even the gulls.’
'When Orion, my publisher, gave me the green light for a spin-off series to follow the DI Faraday books I knew the lead title had to be based on the view from our window. The book's called Western Approaches and straddles the two loves of our lives: the coast and offshore rowing. The latter has become a particular passion. We row twice weekly, serious distances of 10-14 kilometres, sometimes upriver, sometimes out to sea, but wherever we go we seem to achieve that perfect marriage of exercise, scenery, wild life, ace conversation. and lungfuls of the sweetest air in the world. To have found a place like this is truly transformative.’
'Backstory began life as a response to readers wanting to know more about why and how I wrote the DI Faraday series. Happy Days brought the series to an end after twelve books and when I thought about the journey I, Joe Faraday and a handful of other characters had made I realised that this was, in some respects, the story of a decade. I'd never wanted to write crime fiction but circumstances left me no choice and on reflection I've been very glad to put Portsmouth under long-term surveillance and watch and record how things changed. A lot of this stuff found its way into the Faraday series and Backstory gobbled up even more of it up.’
'In my experience, books can come from a million places: a glimpse of a face in the street, a fragment of conversation overheard on a train or in a pub, a three line story in the Guardian or our local rag. Sometimes it comes from a title, like Sabbathman, or a first line: Faraday was asleep when he went through the windscreen. Just occasionally, like now, a book is brewing in the darker recesses of my imagination as a result of a series of chance conversations with mates. But currently I'm working on trying to crack the Kindle Self-Publish challenge. This, believe me, will change the face of what us writers do.'