Today I’m excited to welcome best selling novelist Peter James to the CTG blog.
His latest novel – WANT YOU DEAD – is out now (watch out for our review next week) and he kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his many writing projects for us …
Dead Simple, the first novel in the Roy Grace series, is also rumored to venture its way onto the London big stage in January of 2015. Can you share some of the difficulties or advantages of adapting a thriller novel into a production play?
The two biggest difficulties are firstly containing the action within the very limited confines of a stage and the maximum number of set changes is it possible to have, and secondly reducing the number of characters in a book into the relatively small amount it is possible to have, both for economic and logistic reasons, in a play. The biggest challeng we have in bringing Dead Simple to the stage is that one of the central characters spends around two thirds of the entire play buried alive in a coffin. In the novel, much of the suspense comes from things that are happening to him – water rising within the coffin, his air supply being cut off, the excruciating claustrophobic fear of the enclosed dark space. So we’ve had to explore all kinds of different ways to portray this, from projecting the image of the actor in the coffin onto a screen, to simulating the feeling of being in a coffin by plunging the entire auditorium into darkness.
You recently contributed to the New York Times best selling novel, FaceOff. What were the highlights from the collaboration with Ian Rankin? Any challenges?
The whole concept of FaceOff, asking crime and thriller writers to have their central detective characters collaborate with another fictitious detective was both brilliant and highly daunting. Also although Ian Rankin and I are both British, the laws and police procedures in Scotland, where his character John Rebus operates are different to those in England where my character, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace operates. But right from the getgo, this collaboration was a really joyful experience. I’ve known him for some years and always found him to be a delightful, friendly, generous spirited guy, and all of this came through in spades during our time working together on this. Ian has a huge amount of knowledge about music, and it was his idea to hang the story around a cold case, and a rock and roll era, connecting our two cities of Brighton and Edinburgh. We met over a pint – or three – of beer in Scotland to kick it around, Ian started the ball rolling by writing a couple of pages which he sent to me, then I continued while he went off on tour to the US. We wrote the story in quite a short time period, with no arguments whatsoever. It was a strange feeling writing some of the scenes in which I had his central characters act and speak – I felt as if I was treading on sacred ground! I think the only real challenge was the amount of alcohol consumption the whole collaboration required 🙂
With 25 novels translated into 36 languages, publishing the world’s first electronic novel, Roy Grace’s 10th novel, a children’s novel, a novella, your involvement in Hollywood, your endless devotion and support to your hometown of Brighton, and charitable work under your belt we are all left wondering what is next for the man who seems to have done it all, and more importantly, how do you celebrate your successes?
Thank you! The big goal I now have in front of me is to see my books really break through in the USA. I’ve spent so much of my working life to date in the US, I feel as at home in North America as I do in England. I’m completely certain, from both the wonderful reviews I consistently get in the US press and from the enthusiasm of my fans, that it is possible. As to how I celebrate my success – it may sound strange, but I celebrate very cautiously. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have such a huge and global readership, to be able to make a living doing what I love, and to be able to travel so much, but equally I know, from my own experiences as a reader, just how many of my favourite authors seemed to decline as they became increasingly famous – almost as if they felt they didn’t have to make the effort any more. I’m determined not to let that happen, and I try my hardest to raise the bar with each book I write. My extravagances, when I am in full celebratory mood, are fine wines and fast cars – but not together!!!
A huge thank you to Peter James for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit with the CTG blog.
You can find out more about Peter by hopping on over to his website: http://www.peterjames.com
Visit him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peterjames.roygrace
And follow him on Twitter @peterjamesuk