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Interview with Mike Scantlebury

Mike Scantlebury lives in Manchester, England and writes topical thriller novels, mysteries, and crime fiction. We have conducted an interview with him.

How did you begin writing on topical thriller novels?
I began writing in the 1990s when the city I live in, Manchester UK, made a bid for the Olympic Games. (We lost out to Beijing.) I didn't think this was a good idea and imagined how it might impact on our city, especially the crime levels.

What lead you to crime fiction?
I wrote Science Fiction in the 1980s, but noticed that all my SF novels included crime! Now I write Crime Fiction, most of which is set slightly in the future.

Do you do any background research before writing a mystery fiction?
Since most of my books are set in Salford and Manchester, the are in which I live, I don't have to do much research. I do what most authors do, 'write about what I know'.

Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from the News, radio, TV and online. I look at what's happening now.

Which is the most exciting aspect of writing in the crime and mystery genre?
The best thing about crime and mystery is that it usually starts with something bad happening, then there's a time of investigating and looking answers, then the answers come. It means that such novels always have a beginning, a middle and an end, which makes them easier to write.

Out of your many books, which three books are your favourite, why?
I like 'Kidnapping Cameron', (2012), because it is believable but never happened. I like 'Secret Garden Festival', because I invited people to contribute ideas and characters, (as part of the Festival), and the book was serialised in our local weekly newspaper. I like 'Prince William – at the 2012 Olympics' because it mixes Thriller writing with Romance.

Who is the key character in your latest book?
The new book is called 'Reverend Dumb' and plays a trick on the reader; it is supposed to have my usual hero Mickey as the key character, but he only appears in Chapter One briefly then disappears. He comes back in the middle of the book, then goes again. Finally, he appears at the end. Meanwhile, most of the novel is carried along by Deputy Director Caulfield and technician Terry from The Unit. It makes the novel a bit different.

What is so special about this character and how did you further develop him/her?
I call usual hero Mickey 'James Bond, retired'. He has a history in the Army and Special Forces but then gave it all up, to return home to Salford and live on his Service pension. It means he has all the skills of James Bond, but lives at home, in a city in the North of England, and all his adventures happen there. In recent years, he has been joined by a younger female colleague, Melia, who provides an interesting on-off romantic relationship with Mickey. Sometimes a book can revolve around her completely, and Mickey hardly appears.

Has any of the characters you have crafted taken over (you/your writing) during the writing process?
I think so, yes. It is often the 'baddies' that take over, such as Gorange, an international arms dealer and terrorist. He appeared in one book, then came back to terrorise Melia again, and in a number of novels has served as her nemesis, her arch-opponent. He has a life of his own.

In which ways do you draw your inspirations for the crime story development?
I like to plan my novels before I start writing, so I often know where the story is going and who is doing what, from the beginning to the end. This means that there is usually little room for things to develop in an unexpected way. But here's one example: Melia is a key character in many of my recent books. She is young, female. Doesn't she want a family? She is telling me that she wants to get pregnant in the next novel she features in. I have to listen to her!

Interview with Mike Scantlebury Reviewed by JaamZIN on 6:13:00 PM Rating: 5
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