Joining me for this week’s Author Influences is crime thriller novelist Jack Steele. Grab a cuppa and be prepared for your TBR list to grow as Jack tells us about his favourite authors and books.
Hi Abbie, thanks for the invite, it’s great to be here!
Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Roald Dahl was a favourite author of mine. The two books I really loved were James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I would read these over and over again.
I enjoyed the ‘Peanuts’ collection of books by Charles M Shultz eager to read every one of the cartoon stories involving Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang.
The frequent visits to the library meant that other books that were temporary occupants on my shelf were The Cat in the Hat by Dr Suess, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis, The Railway Children by E.Nesbit and The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien.
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Yes, I loved it. I have a vivid imagination probably due to growing up as an only child. I would read all the time and make up my own stories. If only I hadn’t lost them! Just to be able to reminisce on my thoughts back then.
My English Teacher, Bernard Phillips, was able to add drama to the readings in his class. He would encourage us to emphasis the sentences especially those written by Shakespeare. That’s why The Merchant of Venice is such a favourite of mine and had such an impact on my writing. Through the eyes of Shylock, what he wanted was justified, but to everyone else it was an outrage.
The final scene of my crime thriller Long Shot has the perpetrator of the crimes justifying their actions to Detective Joe Stone who is trying to come to terms with the events and the person who did them.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I enjoy most genres – comedy, science fiction, horror, dystopian, supernatural, dark fantasy but crime thrillers are my favourite. I started to read the Alex Cross series by James Patterson and found them an easy read with short chapters and this style of writing had an impact on my style. Fast – paced page turners with cliff hangers, moral dilemmas and believable characters.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I have a few unfinished stories which are dystopian. Set in modern day but with events about to turn for the worst. It was mainly about fending for oneself when all about you is falling to pieces.
I have always had dreams/nightmares about being chased or I am doing the chasing! Probably watching too many movies/ TV programmes like The Walking Dead, Resident Evil, Divergent, Mad Max and I am Legend.
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Definitely James Patterson focused my attention to writing crime thrillers. I had the stories rattling around in my head for what seemed an age but I never found the time to sit down and write! When I watched a few TV programmes that were vaguely similar to my stories it was then that I decided to write not one but a series of books, providing the response was there! Thankfully I was encouraged to write the sequel and now I have the first draft of book 3 down!
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
James Patterson obviously but I have also started to read his Women’s Murder Club stories as well.
I have the good fortune to meet up with other authors at events like Harrogate’s Crime Festival and other local get-togethers. I really enjoy reading Barbara Copperthwaite, Tara Lyons, K.L.Slater and Shalini Boland books.
Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
That has to be Brighton Rock by Grahame Greene. I loved the gangster element and all the characters in the book. When the ending had a twist that was the moment I thought Wow!
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Thankfully no Abbie!
I had sent ARC’s to my reading group and readers who enjoyed my debut novel Loose Cannon. A few weeks later as the great reviews were coming in, I read in a Sunday Newspaper article that the government was considering forming a new anti-terrorist unit. This was one of the themes in Long Shot and despite being a work of fiction, parts of it could actually become fact.
A huge thank you Jack for taking part. I really enjoyed reading your responses!
The first two Detective Joe Stone novels Loose Cannon and Long Shot are out now! Here’s what they are about …
Detective Joe Stone has worked hard to reduce crime in and around London’s East End. The London Mafia had been instrumental in the operation; but is now being targeted by a serial killer. Stone is in a race against time to find and stop the psychopath before a gangland civil war breaks out.
Detective Joe Stone and his team investigate a major terrorist attack on one of London’s most iconic buildings. They soon draw up a list of suspects who are highly respected members of the community and government. When most of his team is attacked, it soon develops into a war of nerves and a race against time before a deadly weapon is unleashed with horrific consequences.
About Jack Steele
I was born in Hackney, London and grew up on the Bannister House Housing Estate in Hommerton. I now live in Nottinghamshire and married with two grown up children who now have lives of their own, leaving me time to indulge in my favourite passions, reading and writing. I still work full-time in the printing industry which is where I have been for the past 40 years. On many occasions it interferes with my writing, working extra hours or weekends, so it can be a balancing act but one I seem to manage along with an understanding wife of course.
I spent five years researching books, magazines, documentaries, movies and internet articles on various subjects as well as completing a creative writing course and attending workshops run by the Nottingham Writers Studio.
It was a great achievement in 2016 when I published my first Crime Thriller novel Loose Cannon with great reviews. It was the first in the Detective Joe Stone series and I was encouraged to write the sequel Long Shot which is due for publication on July 29th 2017.
My writing style is a fast-paced page turner with cliff hangers, moral dilemmas and believable characters.
I would like to thank all my readers, editors, bloggers and Crime book club friends who like you Abbie have been so supportive through this process. Your encouragement drives me on to write the next book in the series.
Aww Jack, it’s a pleasure!