As we’re all encouraged to stay at home we all need something to take our minds off the current situation so it’s the ideal time to huddle up with a good book.
We’re always keen to celebrate local talent here at ESP and when it comes to authors we’re notching up quite a few success stories so we’ve caught up with a few of Peterborough’s finest for a chat.
This time we chatted to author Tony Forder who lives in Peterborough and that’s where he set his series of bestselling crime thrillers featuring his lead character Peterborough-based DI Jimmy Bliss from the Thorpe Wood Major Crimes Team.
The first of his four books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, and The Reach of Shadows, were joined by The Death of Justice, in September 2019. Book number six, Endless Silent Scream, was published in March 2020.
Tony’s also written other thrillers, Degrees of Darkness, Scream Blue Murder and the sequel, Cold Winter Sun.
ESP – You’ve written several books now – where do you keep getting your inspiration?
Tony – “It can strike at any time. For my latest, I was sitting at home watching the local news on TV when I saw an item discussing young county lines drugs couriers and their lives of violence, abuse and addiction. It inspired me to write about one of them, and she became Molly, one of the main characters in my new novel, Endless Silent Scream.”
What can we expect from the new book – is it similar to your other novels?
“It’s the sixth book in my DI Bliss series, so once again it features the Major Crimes team from Thorpe Wood station in Peterborough. In that sense, it’s a police procedural/crime thriller, but hopefully readers will find it to be a completely different story albeit with some familiar features.”
Do you consider yourself a fully fledged author now?
“I do. This in my ninth book in all. I really feel that I hit my stride a few books back, and now I have a hugely appreciative following, feature regularly in online book group recommendations, and receive invitations to take part in literary events.”
What’s your ambition?
“I already achieved that when I saw my first book on the shelves at my local Waterstones. I then achieved my second ambition when one of my books first became an Amazon bestseller.”
It’s the Year of Reading in Peterborough where our literacy levels are low – why do you feel it’s important to get kids more engaged with books?
“It literally changed my life. I was a kid from a poor area of London’s east-end and reading opened up a whole new world to me. It stimulated my mind to the point where I knew I also had to write. I got a library card early on and have seldom been without a book since.”
Would you like to see any of your stories televised or turned into a film?
“I’d love to see my Bliss series on TV, and I think my action-adventure novel Scream Blue Murder would make for a pretty good film.”
Is it easier for new authors to find a platform now?
“Yes, absolutely. In some ways. Although it’s probably harder to get a contract from one of the major publishers, because you have to go through an agent as well, the advent of ebooks, print on demand and independent publishers now provides another way of breaking into the market. That has made it a very big pool to swim in, but it can get you noticed when you might otherwise have been overlooked.”
How did you first get started and what tips would you give to someone starting out?
“I started twice really. I used to write short stories, and after many years of doing so I plucked up the courage to enter a competition, which I was fortunate enough to win. That story, plus several others afterwards, was published.
“Later on I began to focus on novels, and had written two when I first approached a publisher after I’d been made redundant from my long-time job.
“My advice would be to believe in yourself, to always do your very best work, to persevere, and to accept that writing is like any art – it takes time to perfect. Once you’ve made that commitment, get yourself a good editor – they can make good books great.”