Wednesday, March 9, 2016
9mm interview: Daniel Pembrey
After the welcome by Susan Moody, our 9.30am panel "There's A Time And A Place for Everything" will consist of Guy Fraser-Sampson, Daniel Pembrey, Linda Regan, and William Shaw, and will kick-start what will be a fabulous day. You can read more about Deal Noir here.
You can read last week's 9mm interview with William Shaw here.
Today I'm very pleased to welcome Daniel Pembrey to Crime Watch. Daniel is a former financial analyst renowned for setting his thrillers and suspense tales in a wide variety of locations. He loves travel and has worked abroad, and this comes through in his writing: settings range from American locations like Silicon Valley, Seattle, and South Carolina, to European locales like Amsterdam and Luxembourg, where he lived for a while, and even into the game parks of Tanzania. Daniel also writes non-fiction articles for The Times in London, and other publications including Shots!
But for now the MBA graduate and former business development manager for a large Seattle-based internet company becomes the 141st author to stare down the barrel of 9mm.
1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
I’d have to pick Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, only because he’s so archetypal for that maverick-cop-with-a-true-moral-compass character. To my mind, he’s one of the purest distillations of the lone knight trope popularised by Chandler (Connelly being the first to admit Chandler’s influence). I’ve met Michael Connelly at Bouchercon, and can confirm that for someone who’s sold 60 million books, he’s a thoroughly nice and down-to-earth guy. Our feelings towards books and characters are influenced by our perceptions of their authors more than we might imagine, I sense.
2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
D.H. Lawrence’s Sons & Lovers, which I read at school. It is Lawrence’s first great novel and heavily autobiographical, involving the coal-mining communities of Nottinghamshire. The dialect in particular spoke to me in a peculiarly familiar way. Later I would learn that my great-grandfather had been a coal miner in that exact same neck-of-the-woods.
3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything): unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
I’ve loved writing (and reading) novellas, because of their pace and discipline. It was a thin market in print, but with the advent of e-books and Kindle they now thrive, particularly with the likes of Amazon’s Kindle Singles programme. I was lucky enough to have a couple of my stories selected as Kindle Singles and I’ll shortly be publishing a third.
4. Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
I’m not sure a writer is ever not writing, in one form of another! I love to travel to atmospheric locations and meet interesting new people, but that finds its way pretty directly into my writing. Recently I went on safari in northern Tanzania, which was quite a trip.I also love reading good travel books by authors such as Jonathan Raban.
I spend half my time in Amsterdam. There, I’d highly recommend the main public library, a few minutes walk from Centraal (train) station – the biggest public library in Europe and exemplary of good Dutch architecture. It’s possible to while away many hours there. It also does great events, including a crime month in June.
6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
May I cheat, and pick a lead character who came from me? For my Amsterdam cop Henk van der Pol, I’d have to pick the actor Mikael Persbrandt. He played Gunvald Larsson in the TV adaptation of the Martin Beck series, and has a magnificently brooding, maverick presence on screen. I find that with TV series now, I struggle to be drawn in if there isn’t at least one charismatic lead actor or actress.
7. Of your own books, which is your favourite, and why?
The Harbour Master, my Dutch cop book due out with No Exit Press later this year, because it is a complete story (told over six instalments in two-novel length books). Also, the location: that maritime heritage of Amsterdam, combined with its edginess and creativity as a hub today. We’re choosing cover designs right now:
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 bookseller’s shelf?
Fittingly I was in Amsterdam when my literary agent in London emailed me to say that No Exit had offered. They weren’t the only one to do so, but they were the clear choice. I headed to De Druif, my cop’s fictive bar. It is one of the oldest (and smallest)bars in the city. There, I had a Dubbelbock beer and a jenever (Dutch gin), as Henk would have done.
9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
BritCrime online crime writing festival last summer featured more than 40 British crime writers. The event was designed to be open to all, anywhere – via Facebook. I was on a virtual panel with Melanie McGrath, Kate Medina, and Quentin Bates, which I did back-to-back with an individual Q&A session. It made for two of the most intense hours of typing in my life – I think my keyboard had melted and was sticking to my fingers by the end! – but it was also exhilarating.
Thank you Daniel, we appreciate you taking the time to chat to Crime Watch