There hasn't really been any coverage of Marriott's achievement in the New Zealand media yet (which is a shame), so I thought I would try to find a way to get in touch with Marriott myself, and find out a little more information for you all. I understand he may be featured in an upcoming story in the Hutt News though, which is great (I will link to this if it is placed online). In the meantime, here's what I've found out thusfar about Mr Marriott.
Bob Marriott was born in England, but has lived in New Zealand for many years. He is a freelance travel writer and photographer whose work has been published extensively in New Zealand, as well in in Australia, the United Kingdom, Southeast Asia, and the United States. You can read one of his travel stories about Laos here, and another about Guatemalan volcanoes here.
Marriott says that after a press trip to Malaysia a few years ago, he was asked to write for Fodor's, and has since updated or contributed to a number of their travel guidebooks, including several focused on New Zealand. You can sample his Fodor's writing here.
"I have travelled extensively and the characters I have met and places visited gave me the idea for a story," says Marriot to Crime Watch. "I worked on it spasmodically in between articles and travel for two or three years then last year decided to finish the book then do something positive with it. When I saw the CWA blurb on the net I thought ‘well why not?’"
Marriott says he always beleived IN THE LION'S THROAT to be a great story, but that he was surprised and delighted when it made the shortlist for this year's CWA Debut Dagger Award. Entrants have to submit their opening chapters (3000wds) and a synopsis of their unpublished crime novel. Marriott says, without giving too much away, that the 'backcover blurb' of IN THE LION'S THROAT would read something like:
‘Interpol Operator Brett Sadler wages a constant battle against drug smuggling in South East Asia and New Zealand. Tough and resourceful he lives in a world where death and violence are taken for granted, often resorting to unorthodox methods in administering his own form of justice. A fast-moving story that has some crisp, authentic dialogue and gripping action before reaching a stunning conclusion on a ruined mountain citadel in Sri Lanka.’
I'm intrigued. Hopefully a publisher will pick it up, whether Marriott wins or not (other shortlistees who didn't win have gone onto fine careers, including Anthony and Agatha Award-winning Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny (the Gamache series).
Marriott says he enjoys reading crime and thriller fiction, with Len Deighton, John Le Carre, and Frederick Forsyth all being past favourites. "Of the present day crop Lee Child would be my pick. I think he hit on a great formula with his character Jack Reacher."
Away from writing, Marriot loves fishing, when time permits. "I enjoy walking and swimming, ride a bike and play squash," he adds. "Occasionally, to the dismay of anyone else on the course, I indulge in very erratic golf."
The winners of the various Dagger shortlists announced at CrimeFest, including the CWA Debut Dagger, will be announced at an event staged on Friday, 23 July 2010, 6 – 7.30pm, at the The Crown Hotel, Harrogate during the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.
Do you like the sound of IN THE LION'S THROAT? Does Interpol, drug-running, and Asia Pacific intrigue sound like a good combination? Have you read any of the other past Debut Dagger shortlistees later published work (Bradley, Penny, Guthrie, etc)? Thoughts and comments welcome.