Today we welcome John Day to join us for another author interview!
Born in England he spent most of his working life there running his own businesses. In 2005 he and his wife Carole, moved to the beautiful Channel Island of Alderney.
Inspired by a dream one night whilst on holiday, perhaps it was the wine maybe the rich food, we shall never know, the sudden desire to write surged through his active loins.
Although John has an extensive range of novels, we’re here to talk about Bent Penny, which I recently reviewed and you can find more about here!
The psychological crime thriller, set in London, begs to be read in one go, tugging the reader onwards through its intense drama.
D.I. Penny Britain is a brilliant detective, but despised by colleagues for not being normal, like them.
She has dark secrets and no man, or woman come to that, in her life. Until Paul enters her life, that is, but he is taken.
Her boss dumps a high profile kidnapping case on her. She discovers a trail of intrigue and murder out of all proportion to the crime. Then the dead bodies start piling up as someone covers their tracks. When Penny finally discovers the enormity of the threat she faces, her name is added to the hit list.
What is the connection to the gruesome Concrete Man murder? A dead body, but no victim.
Who is the serial killer dubbed the Index Murderer? Elusive as a ghost, forensically aware and super smart, leaving no clues. Who will be next?
Before we start, here’s the links to Bent Penny on Amazon and Goodreads.
Now let’s welcome John! I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did!
What made you want to write crime?
It was a readership decision. I want readers to enjoy my work so if they don’t want spies and adventure, I will write crime.
What time of the day do you write best?
It is an odd process. I work from an outline and build each line into a chapter of simple and direct sentences that highlight the key elements of the piece. When I go to sleep at night, I develop the chapter. In my mind I am in the scene. I can take the POV of anyone and when I wake. All I have to do is bash it into the computer. In the final stages, just before editing, I do the same again, with the developed piece to add more description like sounds, smells, feelings…
What do you do to beat writers block?
I don’t know what that is. I have never experienced it. It could be that keeping the thoughts out, is the bigger challenge.
I created The Glass Beacon from just two items. I had the title in my mind and it had to include my home island. From that a WW2 spy thriller was born. No problem!
As I mentioned above, I use an outline to define the story. I do have occasions when I am bored with the section. Perhaps I have an exciting piece to write, but the lead in or out has to be written first. Because of the outline I can pick the bit I want to write and another day I will feel fired up to do the lead in. There is no point writing if you don’t feel enthused and fired up. I shows in the words you use.
In a way, an outline is like the idea for a short story. There is no loss of creativity within the section and you know exactly where you are with the book. It is a great aid to consistency.
I loved Holly! Is she based off a certain someone?
Holly is a cat! Many years ago, this black & white moggy entered my life as a kitten. At that time, I had just started up my own business and worked from a bedroom. It was dead of winter and I could not afford to put the heating on to keep warm.
Holly would hang like a scarf around my neck as I worked at my desk. Shared bodily warmth. Later, she ditched me for a desk lamp. She would curl around the base, under the warm glow.
The cat and I were very close. She also had attitude and some amusing behaviour patterns that I include in my Bent Penny and Dirty Penny books. I thought the lonely Penny needed a devoted friend to share her thoughts with and Holly has been immortalised as her faithful and smart pet.
Yes, you guessed it, I am a softie.
An example of Holly in Bent Penny.
Penny followed Holly to the kitchen, the cat sought refuge there because she recognised the man’s voice. Last time that man called, the place went crazy with gunfire.
Penny didn’t care why Steve was calling, she needed him in her life after all. She had no hang-ups about telling him she had changed her mind and would go with him. Holly would have to go into quarantine of course, but she would survive that… so would Holly.
What was your favourite book as a child?
There wasn’t a single book. It was anything Enid Blyton churned out.
I propose to read one of her books if I can lay hands on one. I am 70 and wonder if her magic could be rekindled in my old brain. Not to copy, I wouldn’t want that, but I fancy writing a children’s book.
Thanks again to John for joining us! I have to say I am extremely jealous to hear you’ve never experienced writers block – who agrees that he’s very lucky?
I’ve also just got to say that Enid Blyton played a massive part in my childhood, as I’m sure she has many of yours! Have any of you read her books, and what are your favourites? I remember loving The Wishing Chair series!
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽