Friday, September 3, 2010

Terrific interviews: Val McDermid, Peter James, and more...

It's been a fantastic few days for crime fiction fans listening to Radio New Zealand, who in general are often an excellent media outlet here in New Zealand when it comes to giving some 'space' to crime fiction reviews and interviews, with terrific long interviews with 2010 Cartier Diamond Dagger recipient Val McDermid (44mins) and #1 bestselling British crime writer Peter James (30 mins), amongst other crime fiction content.

Fortunately for all of us who weren't able to listen to the interviews live at the time, Radio New Zealand archives these kinds of things online. For those of you who have some time, I heartily recommend having a listen.

On Saturday 28 August, well-known New Zealand radio personality Kim Hill interviewed Val McDermid. It's a truly terrific interview, beginning with McDermid talking about why some people like reading crime fiction - things like "the promise of resolution" and providing "a safe place to be scared", like a rollercoaster - before covering everything from Val McDermid's friendship with Gordon Brown and her thoughts on Tony Blair, to interviewing Moors Murderer Ian Brady's mother as a journalist, to her days at Oxford, thoughts on psychological profiling, and much, much more. You can listen to the full interview here.

On Monday, Jim Mora interviewed Peter James on his Afternoons programme. This too is a great interview, with lots of interesting discussion and insights. The pair cover everything from James' love of cars (and the tragic history of the WWII B-25 Mitchell bomber he used to own), his aim to provide insights into all three aspects in his crime novels - the criminal, the victim, and the police, the horror of rape as a crime, getting the reality of police work into his novels, his in-depth research, the bravery of real-life police, and the original inspiration and impetus for the creation of Roy Grace. You can read the full interview here.

It's another excellent interview, during which, after commenting on how James uses the names of friends (and enemies, he jokes) in his books, Mora asks near the end of the interview whether James would use the name of the first listener to text in, in one of his future books. After saying he'd be delighted to, and that he'll use it in the book he is currently writing (DEAD MAN'S GRIP), the interview continues. When Mora chooses the name of Sarah Papesh, he notes that already (within about 2-3 minutes) they'd had 479 people text in! When I met James that evening in Takapuna (see picture above left), he was simply astonished by the response.

In other good news for Kiwi fans, James mentioned that as he has family in Hamilton, he is considering involving New Zealand in some way in a future Roy Grace case. So keep your eyes peeled for that!

On Tuesday, Kiwi crime writer and Ngaio Marsh Award finalist Vanda Symon, the creator of the excellent Sam Shephard series set in the southern part of the South Island, reviewed the latest novels from two big name British crime writers who have been visiting our shores recently - McDermid's TRICK OF THE DARK and BAD BOY by Peter Robinson - for Mora's Afternoons programme. You can listen to Symon's reviews here.

Along with all the great crime fiction content on Radio New Zealand in the past few days, a couple of weeks ago they also had a reading from THE FALLEN, the local #1 bestseller from young Ben Sanders, and an interesting short interview with Sanders, where he talks about reading Michael Connelly and James Ellroy, and the creation of Sean Devereaux. You can listen to that interview here.

So what do you think of the interviews and reviews? Do you like listening to authors and reviews, as well as reading such features and reviews in the print and online media? Have you read any Val McDermid, Peter James, Peter Robinson, or Vanda symon books? What do you think? Why do you read crime fiction? I'd love to read what you think. Comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a great one for reading or listening to author interviews though I am more likely to listen or watch one than to read one - it's something about being able to hear a person's tone of voice that grabs me. I don't actively seek them out though I do listen when I come across them. I always listen to our ABC's Book Show and did enjoy the interview they did with Val McDermid the other day and it made me think about reading one of her standalone novels.

    As for why I read crime fiction I have been pondering that quite deeply for several reasons lately - can't really put it into words yet but I will soon :)