Peter Tickler has lived and worked in Oxford for nearly thirty years. He also studied at the University of Oxford, reading classics at Keble College. Previously a successful non-fiction author, Tickler turned his hand to novels in 2008 when Robert Hale published his first crime thriller Blood on the Cowley Road. The second of his Blood in Oxford series, Blood in Grandpont, was published in 2010. Here, he tells us where the Blood on… series all began…
Write about what you know. It’s an old adage, and for me it makes absolute sense. When I decided to try writing fiction, it was always going to be crime. Not because I have a huge personal experience of crime (none that I’m admitting to, anyway!), but because that was what I enjoyed reading – and indeed watching – on TV. But when it came to location, it had to be Oxford. I had lived some twenty-five years of my life there, as well as being a student for four years before that, so Oxford was what I knew – and loved. And it was Town not Gown that really interested me, the side streets and residential area of what might be termed non-tourist Oxford – the bits you rarely see on the TV programme ‘Lewis’. I’m also a great Oxford United fan. That is my Achilles heel, and so it is inevitable that Oxford United and its fans appear in my books. Of course these fans are entirely fictional, as are all the characters in my books. Only the dogs are real!
My first book, Blood on the Cowley Road, had as its central focus a mental health day centre, and again this derived from my own personal interest. Looking back at the three novels now available through Robert Hale Ltd – and indeed at the first draft of my fourth Blood book – I realize that I have continued to write about what I know. My characters are ordinary people: dentists and picture framers, lorry drivers and care workers, plumbers and administrators. And by and large they have the same sort of problems and lives that most of us will be able to recognize. Except that lurking there is the ever present possibility that they will suffer or commit murder.
My lead detective, DI Susan Holden, who lives in an unexceptional little Victorian terrace in South Oxford, has her own problems, of course. Don’t fictional detectives always have problems!? In her case, one of her problems is her mother. Or perhaps it is she who is a problem for her mother? She also has a high irritability rating and she – but I’ve given away enough….
– Peter Tickler
Blood on the Cowley Road and Blood in Grandpont are also available on ebook from all good ebook retailers.