Friday 14 April 2017


Author David Jackson - Hope to Die featured on the blog yesterday (here) was kind enough to submit to some gentle questioning.

Is the writing full-time? What’s the day job or what were you in your pre-writing life?

It’s not full-time. I have a day job as a lecturer in a university science department. It’s nice to be able to keep both the logical and creative sides of my brain active.

What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?

There have been so many. If I had to choose one, I think it would be when five major publishers were bidding for my new series at auction. I knew then that I’d made it.

What’s your typical (book) writing schedule?

With a day job on the go, it’s difficult to be consistent. Usually I head up to my study after the evening meal. I’ll try to fit in other writing sessions when travelling, staying in hotels, and so on.

Do you insert family, friends, and colleagues into your characters?

Not as complete individuals, but I certainly borrow from them. For example, some of the funny things that Doyle’s daughter came out with in the New York series were taken directly from my own daughter.

How long did Hope to Die take from conception to completion?

Seven months of writing, but I’m sure I came up with the idea a few months ahead of that. I tend to be thinking about the next as I write the current one.

Are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?

I always plot. Nothing extensive, but a couple of pages of notes to guide me. I’ve heard too many horror stories of people having to throw away thousands of words when they haven’t planned and have then written themselves into a corner.

Are there any subjects off limits?

I don’t think any topic should be off limits, but there are certain types of crime I would skirt around rather than going into graphic detail.

Any unpublished gems in your bottom drawer?

Unpublished, yes. Gems, no.

Can you tell us a bit about your previous books?

I have two series in publication. My first four books feature New York detective Callum Doyle, an ordinary cop to whom extraordinary things happen. The debut was called Pariah, and the most recent has the title Cry Baby. Since then, I have been working on my Liverpool series. The first is called A Tapping at my Door, and features DS Nathan Cody, a man still haunted by his traumatic past. The new book is called Hope to Die.
Is there one of your books you’re more proud of that any of the others? Which and why?

That’s like asking me to choose a favourite from my children. Can’t do it, I’m afraid.

What are the last five books you have read?

Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough.
The World at War, by Mark Arnold Forster.
I, Asimov: A Memoir, by Isaac Asimov.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John le Carré.
Traces of Guilt, by Neil Barrett.

Who do you read and enjoy?

As you can see from the list above, I have very eclectic tastes. If we narrow it down to crime fiction, my favourites include Ed McBain, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, George Pelecanos and Dennis Lehane.

Is there any one book you wish you had written?

A difficult one, this. Again I’m going to narrow it down to crime fiction and say The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler.

Favourite activity when not working or writing?

Doing anything with the family, even if it’s just a walk or a movie.

What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?

I’m currently working on the third book in the Nathan Cody series, and since my publisher might read this, I’m going to say that it’s running completely to schedule.

What’s the best thing about writing?

Hearing from readers who have enjoyed my books and have made the effort to tell me so. It means a lot.

The worst?

The uncertainty. Not knowing how a book will be received, whether there’ll be another contract, and so on.

In a couple of year’s time…

I try not to have unrealistic expectations. If I still enjoy writing, and people still enjoy reading, then that will be enough for me.

Thanks to David for his time and Emily at Bonnier Zaffre for setting things up.

You can connect with David Jackson via his website -
and on Twitter - @Author_Dave


  1. Really good interview, for which thanks, both. I know all about juggling a 'day job' with writing, and I'm glad it's working well. Wishing you much continued success.

    1. Margot, I'm glad you enjoyed this one. My admiration for writers grows with each interview.

  2. Another interesting interview, and yes I must get going on his Liverpool books.

    1. I hope you enjoy them. I'm still waiting on a Leighton Buzzard or Luton crime novel.

  3. Thanks for yet another fine author interview, Col. "Seven months" sounds like a doable target for writing a book.

    1. So that gives you until November mate! Only joking.

  4. I will be interested to see what Moira thinks of the Liverpool series. I have a hard time getting myself to read books about serial killers.

    1. Yes, I would like to know what she thinks. I don't read many serial killer books and I don't object to them as such. The murders here seemed like a natural progression and escalation. The ones that annoy me seem to have the killer taunting the police usually aimed at the lead detective and then it kinds of seems like a pissing contest between the two.