Today the lovely Robert Scragg talks about guessing games, writing crime, being a big kid.
When did you start writing, and why?
I’ve always been a big reader, and got into Crime (fiction) in my mid-twenties. Love the constant guessing games, trying to figure out who’s doing what, and why. My guesses aren’t always right, but there are more and more where I thought “actually, even though my guess was wrong, that could have made a good ending too”. These ideas started to stack up and eventually, I thought “I should totally give that a go!”
Which do you like to write, series or standalones? If you write both, what do you find the difference?
Both. The four books I have out so far are all part of a series, but have been working on a few standalones recently. I think they both have their benefits. With a series, it’s like catching up with old friends. You already know how they think, feel and talk, so feels like it’s less effort. With standalones though, I love the appeal of a fresh canvas. Also, there’s an argument to say that standalones can keep readers on their toes more, as you haven’t got a main character who’s almost certainly going to survive – everyone is fair game!
What do you like to do to relax when not writing?
I’ve got three kids, two of which are under three, so most of my spare time is hanging out with them and my wife, regressing back to being a big kid. I’m a big martial arts fan too, and still keep up with it, even though I haven’t trained for a few years myself now. I’m lucky enough to live close to teh coast, so love heading to the beach most weekends too!
Who is your favourite of your characters, why and in which books do they appear?
I’ve got a soft spot for Nick Styles. He plays second fife to my main character, Jake Porter, but Styles is closer to my own sense of humour, outlook, etc. so feels more relatable for me.
Who is your least favourite of your characters, why and in which books do they appear?
That would have to be my antagonist in End of The Line – a far right politician by the name of Damien Winter. He’s just such an objectionable man, with views so far opposed to my own that it was tough at times to write the grittier parts of his dialogue without having a bad taste in my mouth.
Tell us about your last book…
End Of The Line came out 21st Jan this year. It starts with a popular vlogger being murdered during a live-streamed broadcast, and spirals off into terrorism, far right politics and Brexit related angst. There’s genuine fears of riots in the streets, and as if that isn’t enough to deal with, Porter has personal problems. His wife was killed a few years back in a hit and run. No arrests were made, but when there’s a link between her death and a fresh crime scene, Porter has to juggle justice for his wife with stopping London from burning around him.
What’s coming next…
This was my last book on my current contract, so I’m about to speak to my publisher about a few standalone ideas for a next project.
Robert Scragg had a random mix of jobs before taking the dive into crime writing; he’s been a bookseller, pizza deliverer, Karate instructor and Football coach. He lives in Tyne & Wear, and is a founding member of the Northern Crime Syndicate crime writers group. For a full list of upcoming events and more info about Robert and his books, visit www.robertscragg.com
Thanks Rob, it’s a good balance with writing crime and playing the big kid with your own children. Hope you have fun in all parts of your life, and look forward to the next book.
Tomorrow, we talk to Anne Coats.