Interview: Local Author A. M. Peacock | Living North

Interview: Local Author A. M. Peacock

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Adam Peacock
We caught up with local author A. M. Peacock to discuss his new novel Open Grave, a thrilling crime fiction novel set in South Shields

When did your love of writing start?
I technically didn't start writing until around ten years ago, while I was studying for my PGCE. I remember creating a short scene, in class, as part of an activity that we were set. The tutor was extremely complimentary about it and encouraged me to start writing. My love of books stemmed from my childhood, however. I was an R.L. Stine fanatic and loved anything by Roald Dahl. I also remember writing a story about an alien when I was in Year 4 and feeling pleased when the teacher gave me a sticker as a reward. When I was a teenager, my focus shifted to music and my main aim was to become a rock star. That didn't quite work out in the end, but it got me to where I am today so that's okay. 

When did you come up with the idea for the DCI Lambert books?
I don't plan my writing, as such, so I tend to come up with an idea and then just go with it. For Open Grave, the whole thing stemmed from an image I had of a crime scene, where two bodies were found in a ditch on Cleadon Hills (a bit grim, I know). From there, I had to come up with a world in which my characters could operate. I decided to set the books in and around the area in which I live, hence the references to South Shields/Newcastle, and I thought that this was relatively unusual at the time. It wasn't until I popped in to Waterstones one day that I discovered a whole section on 'Northumberland Noir'....

I started writing the book around eight years ago and, although that makes it sound like my writing process is extremely slow, it actually isn't once I get going. I wrote the first draft relatively quickly but, as I was teaching at the time, I put it away and didn't work on it for a few years. It wasn't until a career change a couple of years ago that I began writing seriously again. And, when I changed jobs again in January, moving to a four-day week, I was determined to finally get the novel finished. 

Where do you see the series going?
Open Grave is the first in the series and I definitely see more books involving DCI Jack Lambert. I'm currently working on the second one and I would hope to have it released at some point next year. Obviously, the dream would be to have a really gritty TV series made from the book but, outside of this, my main aim and hope is that the series carries on and people enjoy the first book enough to invest their time in my other work. 

Why crime fiction?
The short answer is that I have read a lot of crime so it seemed an obvious choice to make. I think what draws me to it is a love of the mysterious. Not knowing how or why something has happened, but trying to figure it out, appeals greatly to me. Writing crime fiction allows me to indulge in this and, hopefully, it will appeal to readers as well. 

Would you ever consider writing in other genres?
I would. I definitely want to write the second book before working in a different genre, though. Once book two is finished I will take stock and decide whether to go ahead with the third book immediately or whether to write something else. I really want to write a dystopian novel one day. I don't have a firm idea on what that would look like but I did once write a series of short stories involving a post-nuclear society. Something like that would really interest me.  

What would you do if you weren’t an author?
I used to be a teacher, but I don't think I would go back to that now. I do have another job, actually, working for a trade union. However, on a creative level, if I wasn't doing anything with writing I suppose I would probably dust off my guitar and have a go at playing music again. 

What’s your favourite book?
This is a difficult question but, today, my answer would be 1984 by George Orwell. It's so bleak but it's also such a powerful novel and I can't help but feel that we are kind of there as a society now. I often think about it, even when I'm not reading it, and that's the sign of a good book.  

Which other authors do you admire?
There are a number of authors I admire. I would say Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell are two of my favourites. I love Scandinavian crime and both Harry Hole and Kurt Wallander are excellent characters. I love Lee Child's writing and how he paces his books. You literally cannot wait to keep turning the page to find out what happens next! I am a big fan of most of Stephen King's work and his book On Writing is a great instruction manual on how to go about putting pen to paper. I recently read Dangerous Lady by Martina Cole and absolutely loved it. I can tell I'm going to read more of her work soon.

What are some of your favourite things about South Shields?
South Shields is a great place to live. I love the sea front, even though we don't get to experience it enough due to the bad weather we always get! I like to go running and the views along the coast are spectacular. The new media centre, The Word, is a great addition to the town and is not just a library but also a central hub where people in the community can go and attend all kinds of different events and exhibits. Outside of this, you could do worse than experience the food at Colman's chip shop, and Alderman's café at the marketplace do a mean hot chocolate!

You can find Adam on various social media sites including Facebook and Twitter at @ampeacockwriter, as well as his website www.ampeacock.co.uk
Open Grave is available to order in bookstores and online

 

Published in: October 2018

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