Hello and welcome this very special guest post Q&A. What’s so special about it? Well, are you sitting comfortably? You are? Excellent, and then I shall explain all:
You may or may not be aware of the independent publishing powerhouse that is Fahrenheit Press. If you are not then you jolly well should be. They are publishers of some of the finest crime authors and books that the UK and beyond has to offer. Aside from their main label, they also have the Fahrenheit 13 imprint which publishes experimental and very edgy noir, mostly in the novella format.
But now there is something new: their brand new imprint: 69Crime:
As you can no doubt deduce from that impressively cheeky logo above, 69Crime publishes not one, but TWO novellas in one. That’s right, double the bang for your hard earned buck.
AND, not only that, but they are reversible too.
Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? No…. way!
Totes way! Have a look at this wee video thingy:
Isn’t that the coolest thing? If you want to know more about why and how 69Crime came about then hit this LINK to find out more.
So, what’s this post all about then?
Well, the very first book in the 69Crime series is a double header with Nick Quantrill and Aidan Thorn. Nick is the co-founder of Hull Noir, and writer of the Joe Geraghty series of novels (pub by Fahrenheit Press), whilst Aidan is the author of When The Music’s Over (pub by Fahrenheit 13) and Rival Sons (pub by Shotgun Honey).
Now both Nick and Aidan thought it would be a great wheeze to do a Q&A for the launch of Bang Bang You’re Dead and Worst Laid Plans wherein they asked each other the questions and then each one answered them too.
And then Aidan flipped Nick over and did him again. That is, he asked the questions and Nick answered them (filthy minded animals, the lot of you!), and they have given little beardy old me the privilege of hosting the results 😃
So below I present the inverse of the, um, verse of the previous Q&A that was performed yesterday as at time of writing. Of course if you’re reading this on any other date than the 16th June 2019, then, er, oh sod it, never mind.
Enjoy the Q&A 😄
AT: As you know, I’ve now read Bang Bang You’re Dead twice (only the second book I’ve ever done that for by the way, the other being The Great Gatsby, so you’re in good company!). I loved it when I first read it and enjoyed it just as much this time. Something that really comes across is the city of Hull, seen through the eyes of Sam, fresh from prison, the city almost plays like a character in itself. Is place important to you when you write and how true to the real Hull is the one you write in this book?
NQ: I know you re-read ahead of us having the book published together, but I’ll take being in the same company as F. Scott Fitzgerald, even though I haven’t read him. For shame, as I love a lot of classic American literature. Anyway… you’re spot on, Hull is hugely important to me when I write. When I started to write, there was never any intention to set the stories elsewhere. It’s as much making sense of the city for myself as it is bringing a largely-ignored place to the page. The Hull in ‘Bang Bang’ is largely true… it naturally had a tighter focus on one part of the city, the area I grew up in, and became a lot of fun to work in those parameters. I’ve worked in the shopping centre, frequented the pubs, met some of the characters etc… I did take one liberty, though, as the underpass where the story concludes doesn’t really exist.
AT: You usually write about a PI, but in Bang Bang You’re Dead you’re writing from inside the criminal underworld. You write like you’re perfectly at home in this world, did you enjoy this flipping of perspective from the Geraghty novels?
NQ: I did, and I think that was part of the challenge. When Andy at Byker Books (who originally published ‘Bang Bang’ a few years back) asked if I’d like to write a novella for a series he was developing, my first thought was to write another Geraghty story. It was only when I started to think about it that I realised it was a chance to do something different. I’m maybe more naturally drawn to writing the crime solver than the criminal, so it became a challenge to turn it on its head.
AT: Sam is a complicated narrator for Bang Bang You’re Dead. He’s constantly conflicted, often going against his better judgement because of loyalty or pressure. Complex characters are great to read, did you have fun creating him and the supporting cast here?
NQ: For sure! Sam’s maybe not a bad kid, but circumstances and what we might see as poor choices put him into a tight spot. It’s putting your characters into these situations that both fire the plot and make it interesting. Ultimately, we’re all complex – no one’s all good, or all bad – and I want Sam (and all the other characters) to wrestle with dilemmas within their own worlds and see where they choose to draw the line.
AT: Personally I love the novella form, there’s something kind of cinematic or quality TV drama about it. I’m a huge fan of Jimmy McGovern’s TV work and Bang Bang You’re Dead puts me in mind of his stuff. It reads like it could be perfect for adaption to screen. If you had to pick actors to play Sam, Weasel, Jonno, Tardelli and Vinnie who would they be?
NQ: Being totally honest, I’ve never given it a moment’s thought. I did have a nibble of TV interest over the Geraghty stories, but even then, I never gave any thought to that stuff. It’s maybe weird, but when I see my characters, I don’t really see faces. I know some writers swear by visual prompts when writing, but it doesn’t work for me. If Jimmy McGovern wants to give me a call, though, I’d be more than happy to trust his judgment when it comes to casting…
AT: I’ve made no secret of the fact I’ve looked up to you as a writer ever since the days of the Byker Books Radgepacket series. It’s a great honour to be published alongside you in this first 69 Crime book. Who were the writers you admired when you were starting and do you think they’ve helped shape your style?
NQ: Very kind, the fiver’s in the post! The weird thing is, when I started writing seriously around 2006(–ish), I knew no one in the real world who was doing it and had no idea an online network existed. I was just banging out short stories on my own MySpace page (remember that?) and I suspect it was crossing Paul Brazill’s path that opened up a whole new world of opportunity for getting short stories published. The other big delight for me was discovering the work of Ian Ayris. They both write very differently to me, but watching them develop their own style, no fucks given, was very inspiring in helping me to see that being true to yourself and writing what you want to write is important. It really helped me to develop the idea of Joe Geraghty and a PI series of novels set in an unfashionable city in the middle of nowhere. On a wider-scale, Ray Banks and his brilliant PI series featuring Cal Innes was certainly a blueprint for showing me that you can write such contemporary stories, as was Cathi Unsworth’s ‘Weirdo’. In terms of place, I always (and still do) look to up to the top dogs – Rankin with Edinburgh, Connolly with LA, though Graham Hurley’s Portsmouth novels really resonated, as our cities maybe aren’t that dissimilar.
AT: There’s a great buzz around Fahrenheit Press at the moment, but we all know that it’s tough in the indie/small presses. You’ve been involved with a few, what’s special about Fahrenheit and if you had to do an elevator pitch to someone as to why they should read one of their books how would you sell it to them?
NQ: For me, it’s that Factory Records ethos that Chris has, a vibe that says you can do things differently and do it on your own terms. I love the fact Chris backs his own judgment and puts his money where his mouth is, really walks the walk. But when you dig a bit deeper beyond the Twitter feed, you quickly see there’s a publisher who really cares. As authors, we’re looked after, but the team really go the extra mile to make readers feel valued, and it’s not just a meaningless platitude to secure a sale. If you buy a Fahrenheit book, you’re part of the family, and that’s the elevator pitch.
You can buy this wee marvel of a book direct from Fahrenheit Press below:
Ooooh, there is something else you should know: if you buy the paperback directly from that there link above you also get the eBook COMPLETELY FREE!!!! That’s right, you heard me, FREE. And this isn’t a one-time offer, oh no. Whenever you buy any paperback directly from Fahrenheit Press you receive the eBook free.
So, go fill your boots.