Welcome to my Writer Wednesday feature! Each week, I interview one fellow writer, who could be at any stage of their writing career. The aim of this feature is twofold: to showcase a fellow writer and to find out more about him/her, and hopefully to find in their answers some helpful hints to help out with your own writing! The interview questions are the same for everyone, but each interviewee gets a unique Kung Fu KAPOW! Question. Watch out for them, they’re doozies!
And now, introducing this week’s willing victim…
I met Quentin at Crimefest 2011 in Bristol when we sat together at the Gala Dinner. We hit it off right away, with our common interests in writing and martial arts, and we’ve kept in touch by email ever since. I am pleased to be featuring him today in my Writer Wednesday feature!
Quentin has a colourful background. In hiw own words: “Quentin Bates dates back to the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis and was brought up in the south of England. In the year that Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s Prime Minister, he was offered the opportunity to spend a gap year working in Iceland and jumped at the chance of escape. The gap year turned into a gap decade, during which he worked as a net maker, factory hand and trawlerman, started a family and generally went native.” Back in England, he worked as a truck driver, teacher, fisherman, and as a freelance journalist writing about nautical stuff. His first book, Frozen Out (Frozen Assets in the US), was published in 2011.
You can find Quentin on his website, Graskeggur.com, which means “Greybeard” in Icelandic.
When did you start writing?
I started writing pretty much around the time I learned to read, or so I’m told. It was a long time ago and I don’t remember, but Mrs. Smith (who taught class 3Z) told my Mum when I was nine that I would be a writer. Then there was a long hiatus as I pursued a very different career before falling into journalism largely by accident. From there it was a sideways step to writing books and ultimately to fiction, although I’m still working in my own obscure backwater of nautical journalism.
What genres do you write?
Scandinavian crime fiction, set in Iceland. To be pedantic, Norway and Sweden are the Scandinavian countries, but Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Greenland and the Faroe Island with their cultural and linguistic similarities are generally lumped lumped in with them under ‘Scandinavia’, when ‘Nordic’ would be a more correct term. So I call the genre Gloomy Nordic Crime Fiction, although I try and do without some of the gloom and hopefully inject a dash of humour. While there are plenty of British writers who set their work in other countries, most of them have the sense to choose somewhere warm and sunny. Only a few of us have been short-sighted (or brave?) enough to set our books in places where research can be interrupted by snow-blocked roads or volcanic activity.
Sum up your current WiP in 10 words or less.
Who locked the boss in the cold store, and why?
What’s your ultimate goal as a writer?
I don’t know about other writers, but fundamentally, I write because I want to be read. If I can make a living at it, so much the better.
How close are you to achieving this goal?
It’s hard to say. Achieving a goal is a dangerous thing, as once you get to that point, there’s another goal lurking just beyond the horizon. Let’s say I have many more dragons to slay, but I haven’t seen them all yet. I already write for a living, but would much prefer to be writing books for a living than what I do to keep body and soul together. I’ve no idea if that’s a realistic possibility. But so far Frozen Out is selling steadily and the sequel is due to be published next January, so somebody must be reading this stuff.
Any quirky writing habits?
Sadly, no. The demands of journalism teach you to just sit there and crank the words out, even when you’d rather be doing something else.
Best writing snack?
Hmmm…occasional lumps of crystallised ginger. I have a jar of it here somewhere. Otherwise, tea, lots of tea. My family are convinced that a critically important part of a writer’s working day is spent staring into space while the kettle boils again.
Kung Fu KAPOW! Question:
If your current WiP/latest book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your lead character(s) and why?
That’s an awkward a question, not least because I’m not a big movie watcher, preferring to curl up with a book if I have a few free hours. I have no real idea…my lead character, Gunna, is a middle-aged woman police officer who isn’t exactly a slimline model, and there aren’t that many visible actresses cast in that mould. I certainly didn’t have any actresses in mind when she jumped onto the screen. In an Icelandic production, maybe Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir or Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir, each of them fine Icelandic character actresses of roughly the right age for Gunna, but who might have to bulk out a bit on cheeseburgers to reach Gunna’s proportions. Take this as a cop-out if you will, but my real preference would be for a little-known or underrated actress who could take my character and make a success of her.
Thanks for popping by, Quentin! And for those of you who want to whet your creative appetite, why not sign up for my Birthday Bash Blogfest? There are prizes to be won! Click HERE for more information!
And don’t forget to comment on yesterday’s post for Katie Salidas’ Pandora’s Box Book Blitz Tour. One random commenter will win a copy of her latest book! Click HERE for the post!