Interview with Howard Linskey - May 2016

For those that don’t know who Howard Linskey is, I suggest you look him up….like now! I discovered him back in 2012 with his first book in the David Blake series. Once I read that I was hooked. His 3 books in the series were published by No Exit Press, and have since been optioned for TV by the same Producer from Harry Potter. David Barron. 

Howard’s second series of books featuring journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton have been published with Penguin Random House.I was fortunate to meet and become friends with Howard back in 2013, and since then I cannot call him anything other than Howie, so apologies to those who wonder why I am referring to him that way. It was established very early on that he and I were ‘Homegirl and Homeboy’ to each other, so I think you get the idea.

Now before you all start sighing and thinking, well she will just give him 5 stars because she’s his mate you are wrong. In actual fact I actually messaged Howie and told him that one of the characters in the first book I detested. Anyway, enough of the backchat, let’s see what my Homeboy has to say….

BCB) Wassup Howie? How’s tricks my friend?

Howie: I’m good thanks Homegirl. I’m at that nice stage when a year’s worth of toil is over, my new book is out, everyone is happy with the end result and I get to do events and guest appearances on lovely sites like yours, so that can’t be bad.

BCB: Niceties out the way, tell us about this new series.

Howie: ‘Behind Dead Eyes’ is the follow up to ‘No Name Lane’ and part of a series I’m writing for Penguin. They both feature young investigative journalists, Tom Carney and Helen Norton, plus your own absolute favourite character, troubled police Detective, Ian Bradshaw ;-). The books are set in the north east in the nineties and our heroes have to wrestle with the mysteries of missing people, cold case corpses and disfigured victims from the present. Along the way, they discover a world of corruption and betrayal full of shattered hopes. I try to write the books as mysteries that are ultimately solved by a combination of journalistic skill and police investigative work. 

BCB: This latest series is VERY different from the David Blake books, what’s that about?

Howie: I really enjoyed writing about David Blake but the trilogy seemed the right place to leave it. I didn’t want to just go on producing book after book about the same guy in similar situations. I was very keen to write ‘No Name Lane’. The idea for that book had been slowly developing in my head for, would you believe, fifteen years. I felt like I had to write it and, luckily for me, Penguin loved the story, so it was well worth spending so much time on it. 

BCB: Who are your author buddies, and do you read their books (no lying Howie I will know)?)

Howie: I am lucky enough to have a lot of author mates. It helps that I really enjoy the big writing events like Crimefest in Bristol, Bloody Scotland and the Theakstons festival in Harrogate, so I have been going to them for years and know lots of people. Authors do tend to congregate at the bar and they are a very sociable bunch in the crime fiction world. I do read author-mate’s books and am fortunate enough to be sent them by publishers these days, which is lovely but just adds to your sense of guilt if you can’t get through them all in time. I’ve just finished reading Steve Cavanagh’s ‘The Plea’ and Susi Holliday’s ‘Willow Walk’, both of which I heartily recommend to your lovely readers. Mark Billingham is a good mate too so I’m looking forward to reading his new one.

BCB: What’s the plan for this series? More books, just one more or will you wait and see?

Howie: I’ll wait and see. I am at the early stages with book three, which will be published by Penguin in 2017 and then I’ll know if I have enough good ideas to stick with the characters or if I’ll try something else instead. I do like my journalists Tom and Helen and I have a soft spot for my detective Ian Bradshaw even though you hate the poor lad. I’m sure you’ll be saying, ‘for god’s sake pull yourself together man’ as you read his latest exploits. 

BCB: Do bad reviews bother you, and do you ever actually take notice of them?

Howie: I do read reviews. I reckon most authors do, even the ones who claim they don’t. It’s a natural enough curiosity and it’s great when you have worked very hard for months on something and you get a lovely review. The bad ones bother me a bit but only for a second or two. There’s no point dwelling on them because it’s a matter of personal preference. I remind myself that 95% of my reviews have been extremely positive and kind and I have never had a bad review in a newspaper or magazine. If I get a duff review from a reader, because the book isn’t to their tastes, I have no problem with that. Occasionally someone writes something a bit harsh and will accuse you of laziness, misogyny or churning something out just for the money, none of which is true, and you want to tell them they are talking bollocks but that impulse soon passes. I never engage. You count to ten, think ‘bugger them’ and remind yourself that if the bloke from the Times or The Sydney Morning Herald really rates your book it can’t be all that bad. 

BCB: Okay questions getting too serious…what’s your party trick?

Howie: It’s not that impressive but I can drink a pint of beer down in one without using my hands or a straw. I’ll show you how when I see you at the bar in Harrogate. I’m sure you will consider it a useful life skill.

BCB: Books or Newcastle Utd…you can only pick one?

Howie: Blimey, normally a tough choice but it looks like my beloved club will be relegated again, after almost a decade of complete under achievement, so books would be a more positive option right now. At least they usually have a happy ending, unlike my team’s season.

BCB: Your proudest moment?

Howie: That’s a tricky one. I have had a series of lovely and proud moments since I became an author; meeting the producer of the Harry Potter films when he optioned my books, The Drop being voted one of the top five thrillers of the year by The Times, Penguin offering me a three book deal, donating a character to Alan Shearer so he could auction it to raise money for his charity…oh and having a very cool bath product named after me by the lovely lady who runs Soap Dodger. What was her name again? ;-) 

BCB: Your most embarrassing moment?

Howie: Ahem…I couldn’t possibly tell you that on a web site….it’s another one for the bar at Harrogate, preferably towards the end of the evening when you are less likely to remember it the next day. 

BCB: Well that’s all there is to it. Thanks for the chat Howie…..

Howie: Thanks for having me on your site Homegirl! Been a pleasure.