Wednesday, 29 February 2012

PUSH-UPS: Nick Quantrill

So, what you pushing right now?
At the minute it’s all about my new novel, “The Late Greats”, which is the second Joe Geraghty novel. Geraghty’s a small time PI working in the isolated and maligned city of Hull. The first Geraghty novel, “Broken Dreams”, used the decline of the city’s fishing industry as its backdrop; this one is less specifically about my home city.

What’s the hook?
Trying to make ends meet, Geraghty becomes a kind of minder for reformed Hull-based Britpop band, New Holland. All he has to do is keep his eye on them until their comeback tour starts. But front-man, Greg Tasker goes missing, changing the job brief for Geraghty.

And why’s that floating your boat?
Basically, I got sick of seeing lazy cynical reunions (I’m looking at you, Blur and The Stone Roses…) and got to thinking that there must be so much bad blood and tension behind the scenes. A perfect starting point for a crime novel, I reckon. I’m a big music fan and spent most of my twenties hanging around with friends in bands, so it was a lot of fun to write, too.

When did you turn to crime?
It’s all I’ve ever written. I finished a part-time degree about six years ago, so I suddenly I had a lot more time on my hands. By then I was reading a lot fiction again and the idea of writing had taken hold. I’d felt my way back into it through the likes of Irvine Welsh, Roddy Doyle and Nick Hornby, but quickly moved on to Ian Rankin. The way he was combining social issues, location, and most importantly, readability, showed me what I wanted to do.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?
I read widely across the genre, but contemporary wins for me. My background is in Social Policy, and crime writing seems a natural extension of that. The world seems a mad enough place at the best of times, but good writing helps me make sense of it.

And, what’s blown you away lately?
I don’t read half as many books as I’d like to these days. Ian Ayris is with the same publisher as me, but like many others, I think “Abide With Me” is a great debut. Rather than being a crime novel, I think it sits alongside the likes of Welsh and Doyle. It’s a book about normal people being pushed to their limits and it’ll make you laugh and cry in equal measure. I’m not being massively blown away by the new one from Pelecanos, which is a shame.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?
I’m not really a big movie lover, more a boxset type of watcher, so I probably wouldn’t know. I’m a big fan of Graham Hurley’s DI Faraday which has just come to a close with “Happy Days”. I don’t see a lot of gritty British television appearing, but I’d really like to, and Hurley’s series would be perfect. In fact, some of them have been filmed by a French company, so no doubt BBC4 will buy them in due course…

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
I’m with Caffeine Nights, who are an indie publisher based in Kent. It’s what I know, so I can’t really compare. I suppose there are advantages and disadvantages. Caffeine Nights work very hard to promote me and I’m very grateful for that. However, it’s hard to compete with the mainstream on anything like a level playing field, but I wouldn’t say we’re chasing readers in the same way. As for paper or digital, I don’t really have a massive preference when it comes to my own work. I’m delighted to have it available in whatever format readers want and at a fair price. As a reader, I’m learning to love my Kindle. Neither format is going away…

Shout us a website worth visiting …
If it’s happening, Paul Brazill knows about it –

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …
I don’t know…I live a quiet life, getting the writing done around looking after my eight month old daughter, Alice. I spend my days alternating thoughts about murder with watching Postman Pat…