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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nickie's Ten Questions to Steve Mosby

This time I thought of asking some questions to Steve Mosby. Steve is a British author, who writes some of the best thrillers I've read in years. The first book of him I read, The 50/50 killer, I just could not put down! Since then I have read more books, equally pleasing and keeping me trying to find out how everything goes...

The interview was conducted in 2008. Here are the questions:

1) Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
I think so. Certainly, my parents always encouraged me to read books and write my own stuff. We were a fairly poor family, but my mother used to say "there's always money for books". I know that when I was messing up a maths exam at twelve, I was thinking: it doesn't matter, because I'm going to be a writer.

2) At what tender age did you write your first story?
Well, as above, my parents used to fold a bunch of A4 sheets into a book and sew the edge. I did 'choose your own adventure' books at that point - write numbers 1-400 through it, then do 'turn to 70 if you want to enter the room' entries. I imagine I was about nine or ten.

3) Why do you especially choose to write psychological thrillers?
It wasn't deliberate to begin with, and maybe it isn't now. My first book, "The Third Person", did the rounds at Orion, and eventually got published as Crime, so from then on I was a 'crime writer'. I like the genre because it's high-level and covers a lot of ground. 'Psychological thriller' is even better. I know I can write dark, fast-paced, character-based material and it will fit, and that's what I'm drawn to do anyway.

4) Have you a background in psychology (guess that would help)?
Not at all, but I've packed a lot of 'interesting' relationships and life experience into my thirty-something years and I have a lot of empathy for people, which I think helps. Even people who treat me badly, I tend to see things from their perspective as much as mine. My academic background is Philosophy. I think that's useful for many reasons, not least because it teaches you to appreciate other people's viewpoints, and, at the same time, to both attack and defend them. It's good for the logic of plot development, and also for understanding why people might think the things they do.

5) What did it take to find success in writing?
Well, 'success' is a subjective word, and I wouldn't describe myself with it just yet! I started to become comfortable after about ten years of serious writing. I think there's a lot to be said for Ray Bradbury's approach, which is to serve an apprenticeship, if only with yourself. Write a few hundred words a day, every day, for - say - ten years, and be enormously self-critical throughout. It sounds like a huge commitment, and in some ways it is, but writing is a craft like any other. Most days, I still feel like a complete amateur. Which is good, because I am.

6) How important are readers to you?
They're important, of course, and I love every email I get - even when they're negative! I would still be writing, even if I was never published again, because I love the process, but the reader contributes as much as I do. A book is just words on a page until someone reads it and 'creates' the story in their head. In many ways, they're more important than the writer. At the same time, although I wouldn't want to be talking to myself, there's a massive difference between telling people what they want to hear and saying what *you* want to say and hoping people want to listen. I always try for the latter.

7) Do you appreciate everything readers tell you? (or: how well do you handle criticism?)
I try to read everything. I take the relevant stuff onboard, and I respond when it's appropriate (if someone emails me). I mean, I'm interested and I care what people think. But the thing with writing and reading is that nobody can ever really be wrong, so I take the harshest stuff on the chin and not to heart. You do what you do, and not everyone's going to like it.

8) Do you care to disclose some of your plans for the future (in writing, I mean)?
I don't really have any! My next book, Cry for Help, is out this month (May 2008), and I'm contracted for two more. The first is well on its way; the second will follow eventually. That's writing for me: one word in front of the other. If you're paid to do what you love, it's the best life in the world.

9) Will you ever consider writing something completely different?
We'll see. My aim is to carry on as I am with the type of books I'm doing, but I'd never rule out branching out.

10) Who are your own favourite authors/books?
Books would take too long. Some of my favourite authors are: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Marshall Smith, Tim Willocks, Thomas H Cook, Jack Ketchum, Christopher Priest, Jack Ketchum, Mo Hayder, Val McDermid, Graham Joyce, Sophie Hannah and John Connolly.

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