Interview – Stephen Puleston, author of the Inspector Drake novels
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Stephen Puleston, author of The Inspector Drake, and The Inspector Marco novels. Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, Stephen.For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
Stephen Puleston: I am a writer of crime fiction. I worked as a lawyer for many years representing clients in the criminal courts and doing divorce work. I’ve been writing for many years. When I started writing I hadn’t intended writing crime fiction but then I decided to use my experience and knowledge in writing a police procedural.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
SP: I like peace and quiet. I know some authors work with music playing in the background but I find it that immensely distracting. I either write or edit or plot every day.
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
SP: I think every writer hopes their work will be published sooner or later. The world of self publishing and e-books has empowered so many writers to offer their work to a new generation of readers.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have found yourself writing in the style/genres that you do?
SP: I have always loved reading crime fiction. And as there are so many excellent authors writing a whole variety of different sub-genres there’s always a new voice, and exciting new characters to enjoy.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us all about the first of your Inspector Drake novels, Brass in Pocket.
SP: Brass in Pocket is the first inspector Drake novel and is in the tradition of British detective writing. The book is written in the third person so there are multiple points of view the principal character is Ian Drake. He is a nuanced character, facing challenges in his personal and professional life from his OCD. After the murder of two police officers on an isolated mountain pass the killer starts sending Drake messages in the form of lyrics from famous rock songs. Drake has to face the challenges of a high-profile enquiry as well as the investigation touching his life personally.
SPS: Based in North Wales, is the book set in quite rural surroundings?
SP: All the inspector Drake novels are based in North Wales which is a spectacularly beautiful part of the world. There is quite a bit about the history of North Wales on my website as well as photographs of some of the wonderful scenery.
SPS: What can you tell us about your protagonist, Inspector Drake? Is he by the book, or will he cut corners to achieve results?
SP: Inspector Drake does like to get results. Occasionally he will cut a corner to see that justice is done.
SPS: How did you set about researching policing methods when putting the story together?
SP: Having worked in the legal profession for over 20 years I have good working knowledge of policing methods. I’m also very lucky to know a former inspector in the North Wales police who gives me lots of advice.
SPS: With a second book in the series, Worse than Dead, already out, how far would you like to take Drake’s story?
SP: The third Drake novel- Against The Tide – is out in the middle of November. I have the very basic outline of three more novels in the series, but after that who knows?
SPS: You have also released a novel based on another Inspector, Marco, this time set in South Wales in Cardiff. What can you tell us about Speechless?
SP: Speechless was inspired by reading a report about human trafficking to South Wales. And also it is about how the open borders of Europe have attracted thousands of people from Poland and other countries to work in the cities of the United Kingdom. John Marco comes from an interesting background himself which is threaded throughout the plot. It is written in the first person and is more fast-paced and grittier than the Inspector Drake novels.
SPS: How does the character of Inspector Marco differ to Inspector Drake?
SP: I have had some readers who prefer Drake to Marco and vice versa. Drake is a more complex, nuanced character. While Marco is more immediate, even more likeable.
SPS: Was it always the intention to have one series set in an urban location to deal with the different types of crime you might find there, to the more rural North Wales location of the Drake novels?
SP: There is certainly a great deal of difference between the setting of the Drake and Marco novels. And it was the intention to have strong urban setting for the Marco novels.
SPS: Are any of the events contained in the novel based on real events, however loosely?
SP: A lot of the set piece interviews and occasional courtroom scenes are certainly based on my past experience. Obviously they have been changed to suit the particular facts and circumstances of each novel.
SPS: How much does Marco’s alcoholic past affect the way he acts, and is related to by colleagues, in his job?
SP: An alcoholic detective is of course a well worn cliché and I deliberately chose to put that aspect of Marco into the background. There is a lot of tension between Marco and colleagues about his past all of which hopefully adds to be pace and tension of the book.
SPS: Do you plan on writing further books on Inspector Marco, and is there the potential for future work(s) where your two Inspectors may work together?
SP: The second inspector Marco novel should be out in May next year – the working title is A Good Killing. I am planning the third should be out towards the end of next year. At the moment I’ve not got any plans for both inspectors to be working together. I don’t think either would like to work with the other!
SPS: What kind of responses have you received from people who have read your work?
SP: I have been very lucky that a majority of the reviews for the novels been very complimentary.
SPS: We always take a look at an author’s covers; how did your latest covers come about?
SP: I use a professional cover design for the Inspector Drake novels. When the second inspector Marco novel is published next year there will be new cover for Speechless too.
SPS: What’s next on the self-publishing horizon for Stephen Puleston?
SP: I have the next two Inspector Marco novels planned for publication next year and probably after that back to Inspector Drake.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
SP: I had always hoped that I would have been able to secure traditional publishing deal. Various reasons mean it didn’t happen and I’ve been really excited to self publish my novels.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
SP: It is difficult to know exactly what to expect! I been delighted that over 30,000 copies of my novels have been bought and that brass in pocket was number one in the British detectives category on Amazon for most of November 2013.
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
SP: In a word perseverance. Keep on writing, polishing your craft all the time.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
SP: Although I mostly read crime fiction I do vary what I read. One of my favourite non-crime authors is Brian Moore and I recently read On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today, Stephen. All the best for the future!
SP: Thanks for giving me the opportunity for this interview.
SPS: For more information on Stephen Puleston and his work, please do visit his Showcase Author page here.