Tuesday, October 7, 2014

9mm interview: Mark McGinn

I hope you're enjoying 9mm's renewed regularity - we've been going at an interview a week for the past couple of months now, with plenty more in the pipeline. Thanks so much for your support of the series, the comments you leave, messages you send, or shares you do. It's all very much appreciated.

For the 88th instalment in the series, I'm going to delve back into the Kiwi crime writing community to bring you my recent interview with an author I was first introduced to earlier this year: Mark McGinn. As we'd say in New Zealand, McGinn bleeds red and black (being born and raised and continuing to live in Canterbury). Now a business consultant, he had a long career in New Zealand's court system, giving him an inside view of how the legal system works, or doesn't, and the parade of personalities that passes through the courts. Those observations have provided some real-life texture for his legal thrillers, which include the Sasha Stace QC novels BEST SERVED COLD and TRUST NO ONE.

In a recent interview on Smashwords, McGinn said he began writing in 2009 after discussions with a friend about their favourite crime writers. McGinn himself enjoys Peter Temple, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, and PD James. "There are so many great authors," he says. "I'm now reading more NZ crime authors and recognise they are just as good as anyone else, particularly Neil Cross and Paul Cleave."

McGinn has written three legal thrillers and a crime short story, all available on Smashwords, and is currently working on his fourth crime novel, another Sasha Stace QC story. But for now, Mark McGinn stares down the barrel of 9mm.

9MM: An interview with Mark McGinn

1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
Jack Irish, the suburban solicitor come private detective in Melbourne. Not surprising given Peter Temple is my favourite crime and thriller writer. Sadly, Peter hasn't put anything else out since he wrote Truth (a Steven Vallani novel) a few years ago. So I've been enjoying Paul Cleave, Neil Cross, and Vanda Symon and Greg McGee.

2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
The Wind in the Willows, although the Famous Five series came close. Kenneth Grahame had the ability to transport me to the world of Ratty and Toad and others with wonderful settings like Toad Hall.

3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
All non fiction articles. A couple of 'Perspective' pieces for The Press years ago about the emotional intelligence requirements to be effective in the police service and another piece on the futility of traditional adversarial bargaining in the workplace, both subjects part of my consulting practice.

4. Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
Who can I extort for touring and promotional commitments? I do love cooking and sometimes reflect this through my characters. And I enjoy editing my kid's assignments when they get sufficiently organised i.e. an hour or two before the deadline! Then there's jamming along to music with harmonicas.

5. What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?
Coming to Christchurch isn't quite the same as it used to be.The one thing the earthquakes can't destroy is our seasons and their colours, from the cheering Spring blossom around Hagley Park to the rich and warm colours of our Autumn poplars along the Avon. Sometimes its good to simply accept nature for the good things it offers.

6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
Oh dear! What a reckless investment that would be. If needs must, Jack Nicholson. He'd be capable of taking the necessary editorial licence to a new level.

7. Of your writings, published and unpublished, which is your favourite, and why?
I have a fondness for Best Served Cold as it was my first novel and after spending thousands of hours in courtrooms, I'd always wanted to write a story with a trial as the centrepiece. But my latest - 'Deceit' - is probably my favourite, with its single point of view and in Clay Tempero, a character I've come to know and enjoy.

8. What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a online or physical bookseller’s shelf?
Holding that first proof of the hard copy (I'd previously published online) gave me a warm glow inside. There's something special about seeing,feeling and smelling the complete product and knowing all that's gone into it. That little bit of self indulgence was enough celebration.

9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
I went to a workshop run by Bob Mayer a few years ago. In an audience of over 300 hundred people he and I were the only men in the room. I wasn't short of someone to talk to in the breaks! The workshop was part of a Romance Writers conference and although I knew that when I booked, I was still surprised. The term 'gender imbalance' doesn't begin to describe that!

Thank you Mark. We appreciate you taking the time to chat to Crime Watch. 


You can read more about Mark McGinn and his thrillers here:


Comments welcome. 

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