Q: Tell us about yourself. What got you into writing?
D: A comment from an English teacher many years ago who said I had an inventive imagination and a good command of my native tongue… for a 13 year old.
Q: Tell us about the premise of Murder on the Movie Set.
D: It’s the 23 Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, and Joe Murray, along with his best friends, Sheila Riley and Brenda Jump, have been invited to Inverness to help TV megastar Carr Hanover learn who is behind a series of incidents which seemed to be targeting Hanover. It doesn’t take long for things to go awry when Hanover’s agent is murdered and the TV star disappears.
Q: What inspired you to write it?
D: I run a Facebook group focused on the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries (The Lazy Luncheonette Gourmet Group if you’re interested) and one of my members suggested a tale set in the Highlands of Scotland. The plot had been sitting patiently on my hard drive for a year or more, and it slotted perfectly into the Inverness/Loch Ness setting.
Q: Did you do any research for your book? If you did, what did it consist of?
D: Tons of it. I write full time and back in the days when I worked for other people, I travelled all over Great Britain. I’ve never been to Inverness, however, so I had do a lot of work on Google Maps for the physical locations, and a lot more on the history of the area. From there I had to create fictional bits and pieces and that involved making certain that there was no Plesiosaur Hotel, for example.
Q: How do you plan your writing session?
D: LOL. Planning and I go together like water and electricity. I just sit at the laptop and go.
Q: Do you have any certain rituals while you write? (I listen to music, I have a playlist for each project. Helps me concentrate on the story)
D: None. I’m extremely deaf, so music is out, and anyway with advancing arthritis I tend to dictate using voice recognition software rather than type. All I need to keep me going is a pack of cigarettes (yes I am that daft) and plenty of tea.
Q: Why do you write?
D: I find this world alternately absurd and disgusting, so I prefer to create my own worlds. They’re just as absurd but no quite so disgusting, although you might not think so with some of my Robert Devine titles.
Q: Do you enjoy editing?
D: I do not, but it’s a necessary evil, so I use my speech recognition software to red back the books when they’re completed. Beyond that, I employ Maureen Vincent-Northam a good friend and better than capable editor, who proofs and comments on all my work before it goes to darkstroke.
Q: Do you write in other genres? Have you ever written in different mediums?
D: I began writing for television about thirty years ago, but I gave it up when I had a five-hour TV serial rejected and saw the plot turn up on a well-known series six months later. I still turn out some northern English, working class humour, but I mainly stick to full length novels. I also script and produce my own vlogs, but they’re mostly for fun and promotional purposes. They turn up on Facebook, and one of these days, I’ll get around to working properly with my YouTube channel.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
D: Don’t expect the moon and sixpence, don’t expect royalties for hundreds and thousands of pounds (or dollars) but stick at it. If you’re good enough, you’ll get there.
Q: What are your future plans as an author? Are you working on another project?
D: I work mainly in crime, and I turn out both traditional mysteries and more hard-boiled works under both my real name and the pen name Robert Devine. The Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries have proved so popular that I couldn’t afford to drop them even if I wanted to. I recently attended my granddaughter’s wedding blessing (the actual wedding was a year ago but we couldn’t go thanks to coronavirus) which was held at a 16th century manor house near Cambridge. The blessing, the location, the party and the guests have given me the start of a new series, Mrs Capper’s Casebook, another light-hearted set of whodunits.
Thanks for your time, David!