Wednesday, April 13, 2016

9mm interview: Tim Weaver

Greetings everyone, and welcome to another edition of 9mm, our long-running author interview series here on Crime Watch. After a week off following the festivities of Deal Noir (along with plenty of antipodean crime awards judging going on right now), we're back with our 145th victim... I mean participant.

Today, I'm very pleased to welcome Tim Weaver to the 9mm fold. Tim is a former journalist who wrote about a diverse array of things in the arts, leisure, and entertainment field, from English football to South African cricket, technology, gaming, TV shows, films, and books. As a journalist he also wrote about parenting, and was the editor of specialist video games magazines for owners of Nintendo and XBox gaming consoles. He is now a full-time author.

After ten years of chipping away at his debut crime novel, Chasing the Dead, Tim was published in 2010. He has since published another five books in his series starring missing persons expert David Raker. The second, Dead Tracks, was a #1 bestseller on Amazon, and the fourth, Never Coming Back, was a Richard & Judy Book Club selection and shortlisted for Crime & Thriller of the Year in the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards in Britain. His latest novel is What Remains (Penguin, 2015), which sees Raker joining forces with a Met detective friend who lost his family and had his life and career consumed by his inability to solve the brutal murder of a mother and her twin girls.

Next month Tim will be appearing at Crimefest Bristol, a terrific four-day crime writing festival that is well worth travelling to from afar to attend.

But for now, Tim Weaver becomes the latest author to stare down the barrel of 9mm.


Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
It’s hard to choose one. Even though my books are set in the UK, I grew up reading American crime and mystery fiction, so writers like Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Michael Connelly, and Thomas Harris were a huge influence on me. I adore John Connolly’s early novels too, when the supernatural was less overt, but my favourite American crime novel – A Simple Plan by Scott Smith – isn’t actually part of a series at all.

What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
When the Lion Feeds by Wilbur Smith. It wasn’t the first book I loved, but it’s the one that always sticks with me. My mum was a big, big fan of his and used to leave his books lying around the house all the time, and one day when I was maybe fourteen or fifteen I picked it up and decided to give it a go (as an escape from the tedious set texts I was studying at school) and thought it was amazing. Actually, Wilbur Smith was really my gateway to thrillers – through him, I eventually made the sidestep into crime fiction, to stuff like Michael Connelly, and once I got into that, I started thinking about writing something of my own.

Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
I had a script made into a drama for Channel 4 as part of a season of short films when I was eighteen, but that was about the sum total of it. I never published anything because, to be perfectly honest, I was never very good at finishing anything – at least, until I finished Chasing the Dead.

Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
I should probably think of something sexier than, “I’m a film and TV geek,” or “I really love sport”, but… er… I’m a film and TV geek and I really love sport. Football, cricket and American TV shows tend to be the main reasons for me not hitting deadlines, especially at this very moment because the cricket world cup is on. I love books too, of course, and try to read as much as I possibly can. Outside of that, I love seeing the world (although hate flying), I endure exercise in order not to suddenly wake up looking like the Goodyear blimp, and I probably drink too much tea. But then I am English, so that’s allowed.

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?
I live in Bath, a pretty huge tourist town, so the checklist of things to see and do is quite long. If you can squeeze in a bit of shopping afterwards, I thoroughly recommend Bath’s two brilliant independent bookshops: Toppings on The Paragon, and Mr B’s on John Street. For a town the size of mine, having two such vibrant indies, as well as a huge branch of Waterstone’s, makes Bath a real find for literature lovers.

If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
I’d happily take Bryan Cranston as a sixty-year-old Tim Weaver.

Of your books, which is your favourite, and why?
They all mean different things for different reasons. It’s like being asked which one of your kids is your favourite! But I suppose, if I was pushed, I’d have to say I have a soft spot for The Dead Tracks, my second, because – due to a series of XXL-sized cock-ups – it was hardly in stores for the first month, and when it did appear, it was buried on the bottom shelf where no one could see it. Then, about eighteen months later, it got picked up by Amazon as a Kindle Daily Deal and sold brilliantly as an ebook, giving it a Hollywood-scripted moment of redemption.

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?
With shock. Actually, I still feel a little bit like that, even seven books in. I think because I’ve never taken this opportunity for granted, and because writing books has been what I’ve always wanted to do, right from when I was a teenager, I still get that thrill from seeing the finished thing. I feel even more honoured that I get to do this full-time too. I mean, making up stories full-time – what could be better than that?

What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
Probably doing a panel at a literary festival one year and one of my fellow panellists leaning over to me and saying, “I need you to tell this audience to keep their voices down to a whisper when they ask questions. I have very sensitive hearing.” Er, yeah. Yeah, I’ll definitely alienate the entire audience by asking them to do that. A very odd moment.

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


You can read more about Tim Weaver and his David Raker books at his website here, or come along and meet him in person at Crimefest in Bristol next month. He is part of the "Obsession: A Thin Line Between Good And Bad" panel at 11.20am on Saturday 21 May. 

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