Blog Tour: Deadly Lies, by Chris Collett #FAQs @JoffeBooks

Today I’m delighted to welcome Chris Collett to my blog. She’s going to be answering some FAQs she gets asked by readers, but first here’s some info on her latest book:

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About the book:

Discover a new detective in a tough city. DI Tom Mariner thinks he’s seen it all, but now he faces an investigation which will push him to his limits.

Journalist Eddie Barham is found dead in his home. A syringe in his arm and a note by his side reading, ‘No More.’

Open and shut case of suicide? Not for DI Mariner. Hours before, he saw Barham picking up a prostitute in a bar. Mariner discovers Barham’s younger brother, Jamie, hiding in a cupboard under the stairs.

Jamie must have witnessed his brother’s death, but his severe autism makes communication almost impossible. Mariner is determined to connect with Jamie and get to the truth. And is the journalist’s death related to his investigation of a local crime kingpin?

What other dark secrets does Jamie hold the key to and can Mariner keep his relationship professional with Barham’s attractive sister, Anna?

In a nail-biting conclusion Mariner races against time to prevent more lives being lost.

Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. This is the first book in the DI MARINER SERIES, more books coming soon!

THE SETTING
Birmingham is a city of stark contrasts with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Playing a key role in the industrial revolution, it helped shape the nation’s manufacturing industry

But with its many green spaces, Birmingham also borders on the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, is just a few miles from Stratford on Avon and a short drive from the wild country of mid-Wales.

Birmingham’s population is large and ethnically diverse, and while urban regeneration has forged a modern and culturally vibrant city, the decaying remnants of the industrial past and 1960s concrete jungle give it a unique and gritty character; the dark underbelly policed by DI Tom Mariner and his team.

THE DETECTIVES

Detective Inspector Tom Mariner is, on the surface, an average dedicated policeman, but his experiences as a younger man have given him an insight into life on the dark side, and a clear sense of right and wrong. Mariner has little interest in material things. He lives in a modest canal-side cottage, enjoys the occasional (real) beer and game of dominoes and drives an old car. He is most at home in the outdoors, with an OS map and a compass, and in times of crisis, will take off and walk for miles in any weather.

Police Constable Tony Knox has recently transferred to the West Midlands force and finds himself back in uniform following an undisclosed transgression. A scouser with the gift of the gab, and an irrepressible ladies’ man, Knox is initially wary of the inscrutable DI Mariner, but, when a need arises, is grateful for his unquestioning support and the lack of curiosity about his personal life.

PRAISE FOR MARINER
I really couldn’t put it down’ Raw Edge Magazine

‘Collett is a wonderful writer, subtle, clever, strong on atmosphere and character. This is a fitting follow-up to her debut and reassures the crime fan that the police procedural is in safe hands. More, please’ Yorkshire Post

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FAQ’s:

Who is your favourite author and why? It’s utterly impossible to isolate one author and depends largely on where I’m up to with my own work and my mood of the time! While I’m working on a DI Mariner book I try to steer clear of crime fiction, partly for a change and partly to avoid any sub-conscious influence. At these times I’ll read anything that’s been recommended by friends or that takes my fancy. I recently enjoyed The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and I loved Ian McEwen’s Saturday. The list of my favourite crime authors is pretty comprehensive (and growing!), but includes the usual luminaries: PD James, Kate Atkinson, Ian Rankin, James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, Raymond Chandler alongside newer authors like Rosamund Lupton and Elly Griffiths.

What is your favourite book and why? At the moment I would have to say Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. In Thomas Cromwell Mantel has taken an unprepossessing man and somehow created a charismatic (and I think sexy) persona. I found the book totally gripping and am eagerly awaiting the third in the trilogy. The most affecting book I’ve read was Chris Mullin’s ‘Error of Judgement’, the true story of the six men wrongly convicted of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, events that, not surprisingly, I touch upon in the DI Mariner series. The revelation of such overt persecution within the institutions designed to protect us, along with that feeling of ‘it could happen to anyone’, is terrifying and kept me awake for nights.
Who is your favourite character from any book ever written? There will be many, many that I’ve forgotten but, from my childhood, Katie Country Mouse was a feisty little rodent, and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander is a masterpiece of underplayed anarchy.

 

Other than your writing & reading what do you like to do? As readers have probably deduced, from Mariner himself, I love walking and the outdoors, especially escaping to some of the wilder areas of the country, like Northumberland or mid Wales. We’ve walked the South Downs way and bits of England’s coastal paths, and of course frequent the many Birmingham parks and canals. I take lots of photographs too, some of which are used on my web-site http://www.chriscollettcrime.co.uk. I’ve played badminton for years now with a group of good friends, and I love theatre and cinema – when the lights go down I still get that same frisson of excitement I did as a child!

If you could recommend 3 books what would they be & why? Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, because it’s so utterly absorbing (see above!). The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch is witty and original, and has a wonderful light touch. Stuart; a life Backwards, by Alexander Masters is compelling, very clever structurally and brilliantly highlights the plight of many vulnerable young people, but manages to do it in a very emotionally engaging way.
If you could have any one person read your work who would it be and why? The commissioning editor for ITV or BBC drama, so that they might recognise a potential TV or radio series!
What were you like at school? I was pretty quiet, and a mediocre student. My daughter and I recently came across my school reports, which did not make pleasant reading! And I remember the head of English quite literally laughing at the suggestion I should take Advanced Level English, because I was, in her words, very unlikely to pass at Ordinary Level. And yes, I’d love to come face to face with her now, mostly because I passed both – ha!

What inspired you to become a writer? Reading good adventure stories as a child and realising, rather late in life, how much I enjoy the process of writing and could usefully harness my compulsive day-dreaming habit.
What’s your favourite/ most memorable reader review? An independent reviewer described Mariner as the kind of detective I would want looking for me if I disappeared.” which I rather like. The most memorable overall is a Guardian review of Deadly Lies, in which the reviewer quotes a specific phrase; a central character in the book has autism and I’d described the condition as ‘evolution’s kick in the teeth’ for the age of communication. I’d worked hard to say something original so it was nice to have that recognised.

What is your favourite time of day to write? I don’t have any strict rules about this, mainly I think because when I started out I had to fit it around my job and family. I still often find that a snatched few minutes can be more productive than a whole day that’s planned in.

And favourite place? I work on a hybrid laptop/tablet, so now that the children have left home, I have the luxury of working where ever I like. This is usually in my little office at the front of the house, or less often (mainly because I’m easily distracted by the birds, squirrels and occasional fox) in the dining room overlooking the garden.
From your works which character is your favourite and why? Inevitably it would have to be Tom Mariner, because I’ve got to know him so well over the series, but I also have a soft spot for Tony Knox, who’s a bit of a rascal.

 

If you could ask another author any one question, which author would it be and what question would it be? I’d welcome any plotting advice from Kate Atkinson!

 

Do you listen to music when you write and if you do what kind of stuff do you listen to? Not often, because I’m too easily side-tracked by my tendency to sing (or whistle) along. If I listen to anything it tends to be chamber or sacred music that I find evocative and atmospheric. I’ve recently discovered the work of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, who wrote some beautiful choral pieces.

 

What is the most unusual question or comment you’ve had since becoming an author? Whilst the DI Mariner books are set in Birmingham, I do take some licence with the exact geography, inventing some locations. Occasionally people tell me they have seen or even visited one of these fictional places, which is always interesting and I hope a testimony to how realistic they are.

About Chris Collett

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Chris Collett grew up in a Norfolk seaside town where she worked in a boarding house (now defunct) a local bakery (closed down) and a crisp factory (razed to the ground). Graduating in Liverpool, Chris has since taught children and adults with varying degrees of learning disability, including autism. She is now a university lecturer, with two grown up children, and lives in Birmingham; DI Tom Mariner’s ‘patch’. She has published short stories, teaches creative and crime writing and is a manuscript assessor for the Crime Writers Association.

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