Author Interview: Chris McDonald

a man reading a book and holding a cup of coffee; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to follow Chris on Twitter!

1. Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

To read, I like a paperback. Hardbacks are often too cumbersome to take around with you, and I can only listen to non-fiction as my mind tends to wander if I’m listening to a story!

2. Pick a genre, any genre!

It’s got to be crime. I write it, and it’s the genre I read the most.

3. What is the first book you remember reading?

The Hardy Boys

4. What book shaped your childhood most? 

… which I will detail here. The Hardy Boys were the books I kept coming back to. I loved the sense of adventure, the fact they were two normal boys going around solving these huge crimes. After that, Harry Potter took over and completely blew me away, but I occasionally venture back to read a Hardy Boys!

5. When did you first start writing?

2018? I think!

6. What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

I had an idea for an opening about a decade ago, and finally got round to exploring it. I never thought someone like me could write a book, so the thought of doing it was ludicrous!

7. What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

Probably A Wash Of Black, as it was my debut, and I proved to myself that I could actually do it! It also meant I met Sean at Red Dog Press, who has become a firm friend. 

8. Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

A Wash Of Black was the first thing I ever tried to write, and I remain very proud of it. I’d say my writing has got better, so hopefully the books gets stronger as the series progresses!

9. How many books/collections have you published so far? 

Three in the DI Erika Piper series – A Wash Of Black, Whispers In The Dark and Roses For The Dead. Five (so far) in the Stonebridge MysteriesThe Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello, Dead In The Water, Meat Is Murder, The Case Of The Missing Firefly and Mistletoe And Crime.

10. What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

The Erika books are police procedurals and the Stonebridge Mysteries are cosy crime. It’s nice to write something a bit different from time to time. 

11. Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head? 

For the Erika books, I wanted to get as much of the policing right as I could. So there was a bit of research there, and some of the stuff would make you shudder!!

12. To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I’m a big fan of not planning. In my head, I have a start, a middle and an end. It’s all about joining the dots from there. If I had the whole story in my head before writing, I think I’d get bored!

13. What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I’m published by Red Dog Press, who are an indie. They are doing great things, and the covers they are putting out are incredible. I will stay with them for as long as they’ll have me!

14. If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Harry Potter, easily! I’d love to visit Hogwarts etc. It’s a world I spent so long reading about, that actually going would be a dream come true!

15. Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes! I’m 20k words into a new detective story, 7k words into the 6th Stonebridge book and I’ve got a finished PI story that needs a good edit!

16. Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

I love Adam in the Stonebridge Mysteries. He is slightly based on me, so I feel like I know him well! He likes metal music, is a bit of a scaredy cat and is a bit of a nosey Parker!

17. What do you consider your *current* magnum opus? 

I think the second Erika book – Whispers In The Dark. It’s a more sophisticated book, better story telling and has a bit in it that was put there very deliberately to shock readers. Some still haven’t forgiven me!

18. Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

There’s not a lot of romance, but Colin and Adam’s friendship in the Stonebridge books are a lot of fun to write. They’ve been best friends for 20 or so years, so they’re super comfortable with each other, and there’s almost no filter with them!

19. Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

I have a writing playlist, and it starts with The Move On Tracks of Never Ending Light by This Will Destroy You. It’s Pavlovian in the fact that when I hear it, I know it’s time to get to work. I can’t listen to anything with words, so it’s all instrumental – Explosions In The Sky and film soundtracks are favourites. 

20. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Move the story on a little each day, even if it’s just a sentence. On my first book, I aimed for 500 words a day, and that seemed to be a good target. 

21. Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

Not contests, but I’ve submitted a few short stories. I was lucky enough to be included in the wonderful Noir At The Bar anthology, raising money for the NHS and, more recently, the Everyday Kindness Anthology which raised money for Shelter. 

22. Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Through doing the Blood Brothers Podcast, I’ve met a lot of brilliant authors who are also excellent people. This list is by no means definitive, but here goes.

Dom Nolan
Rob Parker
DL Marshall
Will Carver
Olivia Kiernan
Matt Wesolowski
Chris Whitaker
Stephen J. Golds
Janice Hallett
Jonathan Ames
MW Craven

There are literally HUNDREDS more!!

23. Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Find me on Twitter | Amazon | My Author Page.

4 thoughts on “Author Interview: Chris McDonald

  1. Nice interview!! I also remember reading Hardy Boys when I was a very small….10 maybe??. And I still do, sometimes. To relax my mind. The series is just too good.
    Thanks for posting

    1. I remember them and Nancy Drew were soooo big when I was growing up. I really must do a marathon of both at some point.

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