This month we have the pleasure of interviewing local crime author Chris (AKA C. J.) Grayson and we have been asking him all about his exciting career in crime writing...
Hello Chris, thanks so much for talking to us. Crime fiction is so popular at our libraries and our customers are always telling us how much they enjoy it.
We’d love to know, when did you start writing crime fiction?
I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. It was based down in Portsmouth. It was about a killer who kept murdering people and the protagonist turned out to be a superstar sniper who eventually gunned him down. It was ridiculous, and safe to say I never published it.
Why do you have a passion for all things crime related?
I'm not sure really. I'd say I find crime related things exciting, and everything associated with it, i.e crime scenes and police procedures. It's a good way to escape from reality. Not only crime, but I do have a love for horror, which in some ways, go hand in hand.
Have you always loved writing?
Not always. I was more of a maths type of guy at school. But then I started reading books (crime) and it had me! At sixteen, I wrote my first unpublished piece, then another when I was twenty two, which was equally as rubbish. I didn't write for a while then started Someone's There when I was twenty six.
What made you pick a local setting for your second book?
Good question. Probably the familiarity of knowing where it's based. In a way, I hoped readers who weren't from Darlington would feel the location was portrayed well, better than a fictional town would be. For the readers who lived in Darlington, I hoped it would feel more real.
How do you find the time to do your writing?
I tend to stay up late and write, often till 2am or 3am then get up at 7am with the kids. I sometimes have spare time during the day but the kids come first regarding activities and their commitments, which is something I happily cater for.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writers out there?
I'd say believe in yourself to have the ability to be able to tell a story. There are many different ways to put a story together and each way isn't better than the other. Don't be disheartened about making mistakes, whether it be spelling or grammar, because even the most prolific writers make them. We're all human. I'd say write with an unbreakable passion and if it your own work excites you, then chances are, it will excite others.
What does your family think of you being a writer?
I caught my son asking Alexa who C. J. Grayson was the other night. Thankfully, nothing bad came up but my heart melted, as he often doesn't mention anything about it. As a whole, they are proud of me (I think), but understand I do sacrifice much of my own time doing it, but I wouldn't spend that time doing anything else.
Where do you get all your ideas for such intriguing crime themes?
Often from true events. The start of 'Someone's There' came from my wife asking me to ring her phone because she'd lost it. As I rang it, I thought, what would happen if someone, other than the people in this house answered the phone? Then for my second, my wife was on her way back from the hospital with our youngest son and went to McDonald's. I then had the idea of what happened if there was a man under the bridge waiting for her. Then all I have to do it add another 100k words to bulk it up and come up with a back story and chain of events.
Who is your favourite author and why?
I'd say Linwood Barclay or Blake Crouch. It's very hard to choose. Linwood because his American thrillers are relatable, and the things that happen in the book could actually happen, which is a scary concept. His writing his very good too which great character depth. Each book of his I read, I feel the joys of escapism. Blake Crouch is bordering more on Sci-fi but his creativity and imagination is truly second to none. One of his most decorated works is the Wayward Pines trilogy.
Whats the best book you’ve ever read and why?
Probably the hardest question of them all! Probably 'Trust Your Eyes' by Linwood Barclay. The storyline is amazing but what's even better, is the relationship between the two brothers in it. The characters are the most important factor in any book, and Linwood does this very well.
Any plans for any new books?
Yes! I'm currently eighty six thousand words into book three, which will be the second book in the DI Max Byrd and DI Orion Tanzy series. I'm not sure how many I'm going to write in this series, but there'll definitely be another one after this. After that, I may try someone new, or perhaps delve into the horror or Sci-fi genre. Who knows?
We can’t wait to find out what other ideas you have up your sleeve!
C. J Grayson’s books Someone’s There and That night are available to borrow from our libraries now, why not use our app or our website to reserve them.