Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m so excited to be posting my interview with author Peter Swanson exclusively for this blog! Those of you who read my blog regularly will probably already know that Swanson is one of my all-time favourite authors and I really admire his work. You can find my review of his novel ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ here, and my review of his novel ‘Her Every Fear’ here. Thanks so much to Peter for answering my questions! So, here goes…
About the Author
Peter Swanson is the author of three novels: ‘The Girl With A Clock For A Heart’ (2014), ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ (2015) and ‘Her Every Fear’ (2017). His latest novel, ‘All The Beautiful Lies’, is due to be released on 5th April 2018. He lives in Somerset, Massachusetts with his family.
1) How would you describe each of your novels so far (The Girl With a Clock for a Heart, The Kind Worth Killing and Her Every Fear)?
I think they are all psychological thrillers and all slightly different. The Girl With a Clock for a Heart is a classic femme fatale noir, but reset in a different time and place.
The Kind Worth Killing is my version of Patricia Highsmith, mixed in with Double Indemnity.
Her Every Fear is my take on the paranoid apartment thriller, something along the lines of a book Ira Levin might have written.
2) I’m really excited to read your latest release, All the Beautiful Lies. Could you tell us a bit about this book and the inspiration behind it?
I wanted to write a gothic novel, and a whodunit, set on the coast of Maine. The book starts with a recent college graduate named Harry coming to live with his stepmother after the suspicious death of his father. There are two mysteries in the novel: How did Harry’s father die, and who, exactly, is Alice Moss, the stepmother.
3) How would you describe your writing process, from start to finish? How long does it usually take you to write a novel?
I take about nine months to write a first draft, writing between 500 and 1000 words every day, always in the morning. Occasionally I take a short break but I try not to. I think writing a little bit of your story every day is crucial in keeping it alive.
4) Could you tell us a bit about your writing journey and how you managed to get published? Did you receive rejections and how did you manage to bounce back from these?
I was forty four years old when I got my first publishing deal, so, YES, I’ve received endless rejections. The way I got through them is by reminding myself that I was a writer because I love to write. I decided I would always keep writing, no matter how many rejections piled up. And then one day an agent sent me an email, saying he’d read one of my short stories online and could I turn that story into a novel. I did, and that was the first book I sold.
5) There’s a big market out there currently for Crime/Thriller novels. What would you say sets you apart from other writers of the genre?
Hmm, I’m not sure, except that I try very hard to avoid the classic cliches of the genre. I like to write about unlikeable characters, heroes that don’t always save the day, villains that evoke some sympathy, and, hopefully, my books don’t go in predictable directions.
6) What inspires your writing and how do you manage to push through times when there is little inspiration or you don’t have many ideas?
Having ideas is never the problem. I have a ton of them, although that doesn’t mean they’re any good. The way I push through is the only way to push through: keep writing. Write even when you don’t feel like it, and even when the words are bad. That’s the only thing to do. And that’s how you discover if your ideas work.
7) What have you been working on recently? Is there a book 5 in the making?
Book 5 is written, and has gone to my publishers. There’s still work to be done, but I’m happy with it. It’s set in the suburbs, about neighbors and secrets. And there are murders, of course. There has to be murders.
8) Which books have you read recently that you’d recommend to others?
I’ve just read two books by Anthony Horowitz and loved them both. Magpie Murders is his take on a golden age detective novel, and House of Silk is a Sherlock Holmes story. Both were brilliant.
9) Tell me a bit more about yourself! What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to travel. Just got back from Guadeloupe with my wife and a couple of friends. I also love to read (no surprise there), and watch films. Honestly, I’m boring.
10) And finally, what tips of pieces of advice would you give to other budding authors?
Just keep going. Write the book you want to read. And read constantly–that’s very important!
Happy reading 🙂