I reviewed Keith Nixon’s wonderful novel, The Fix a week or so and at the risk of becoming his own personal Cathy Bates, I invited Keith along for an interview:
What inspired you to write your first book?
Fundamentally I’ve always wanted to write, it’s one of my earliest memories. However in the case of The Fix I was made redundant in 2009, the run up to the event wasn’t the greatest of experiences. I’ve (perhaps!) included some of the people and extrapolated some of events that occurred during that time. So, a negative turned into a positive.
How did you come up with the title?
I’m awful at thinking up titles, I usually ask opinions of beta readers, which occurred this time around as well!
Are characters and plots based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of the characters are borrowed to a lesser or greater degree from people I’ve been unfortunate enough to meet but no-one is entirely ‘real’.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Wow, this is really tough. I’ve read a lot over the years and my tastes have shifted as I’ve aged (gracefully). So what influenced me as a teenager wouldn’t do so now. I really appreciate books that build strong tension and interest through the characters and their activities where not a word is wasted & they move at pace. Overall I want to be entertained so I tend not to read incredibly deep and meaningful novels.
Pre-teen I used to read a lot of adventure books. Once in teenage years I moved into sci-fi, and influencers were the Foundation series by Asimov and Lord of the Rings. Early adulthood I shifted into thrillers and now I read a lot of crime / noir. The more recently influential books are Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials series, brilliant, epic stories that encompass many challenging aspects of life.
What book are you reading now?
Abide With Me by Ian Ayris. I recently read his novella A Day in the Life of Jason Dean and was totally blown away by the story telling.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m lucky enough to review for the Books & Pals blog so I get to read a lot of new authors. So the aforementioned Mr Ayris, Nick Quantrill, Ryan Bracha, Gerard Brennan, Heather Hampson, Tony Black & some guy called Mark Wilson are all new to me in the last 6 months or so. All great at their craft.
What are your current projects?
I have two on the go – a follow up to The Fix (of course as yet untitled) which is in a second draft & I aim to have out in May / June, plus a historical fiction novel I wrote some years ago that’s in edit & I will finish once the other is released.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I write in an evolutionary process, like being a landscape garderner without a complete plan. Some plots grow and take over, others wither and die. So I end up having to re-jig my plot at times. It can be a bit frustrating.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’d probably swear a bit less…
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure, it’s a crime / humour story seing a return of the enigmatic Mr Lamb and the Russian tramp, Konstantin. The main character this time also appeared in The Fix, but in a blink & you’ll miss it capacity – David Broadie. He’s a down on his luck reporter who has some old scores to settle. I’m writing it again in the mix of alternate chapters of 1st person / present and 3rd person / past. I like this for pace and economy and the ability to tie together multiple story strands.
Who designed the covers?
The brilliant Jim Divine. He has an uncanny knack to get to the heart of the story and how to represent it in an image. Way beyond me.
Which characters will you find hardest to part with?
Probably Konstantin, he has a devil may care attitude to life that I like. David Broadie has also been great fun too. Like me (!) he has a very sarcastic outlook on life. but he’s able to express it totally.
What’s the best thing and worst thing about the writing/publishing Biz?
The best thing is the people – I’m a natural networker and relationship builder (it’s my day job) but the people I’ve come across, in particular other writers, couldn’t be more friendly, helpful & supportive. There’s a natural desire to see everyone do well. Incredibly refreshing.
The worst thing is the old analogue based business model of the publishing industry. Good writers should be celebrated, whatever the medium. Thankfully the world is changing.
The Fix, by Keith Nixon is FREE on Amazon on 13th and 14th March 2013: