The dark side of the author: James Raven talks about upcoming novel Dying Wish

Interview by Esther Lee

Dying Wish is one of many crime books published by Robert Hale. What keeps you writing this genre and why? 

I became an avid reader of crime novels when I was in my early teens. My mother was a big fan of Agatha Christie and the great Mickey Spillane, and she got me hooked. Crime appeals to me because as a writer, you can really let your imagination run wild. I love to develop plots and create characters who are either good and honourable or incredibly evil and vicious.

Where do you find the inspiration for your books?

I’m a news junkie so many of my ideas come from the papers. I also draw on my years of experience as a journalist. Every day there are stories in the news that can be turned into a plot for a book. I have a folder full of cuttings that give me inspiration.

Do you think you have a bit of a dark side?

My friends tell me that I must have a dark side because some of the stories I come up with are so twisted and disturbing. In fact, more than once I’ve had to tone down my manuscripts before Robert Hale considered them suitable for publication.

There has been quite a surge in crime and thriller novels over the past few years. How does Dying Wish stand out from the rest of them, and what have you been doing to market this book?

It’s hard for any book to stand out in the current marketplace, especially in the crime and thriller genre. Competition is fierce. I like to think that Dying Wish will be noticed because the premise is somewhat unusual and some of the sequences are quite shocking. My agent described it as ‘a powerful book that’s not for the squeamish’.

I’ll be doing what I can to market Dying Wish by running online promotional ads, trying to secure reviews and sending out specially-made flyers. Hopefully there will also be a couple of book store events.

How do you want your readers to feel after reading Dying Wish?

Dying Wish is actually a pretty dark story and I’m hoping that readers will find it thought-provoking as well as entertaining. If when they finish it they feel it was time well spent, then I’ll be happy. It’s also the fourth in the DCI Jeff Temple series and it’d be great if readers are encouraged to check out the other three – Rollover, Urban Myth and Random Targets.

Tell us a bit about your next novel.

My next book is entitled The Blogger and also features Jeff Temple and his Major Investigations Team. It’s just been accepted by Robert Hale and is due out next year.

The idea came to me after I read about the huge growth in the number of online blogs and how some prominent bloggers have been murdered in recent years for running controversial campaigns.

It’s about a social justice activist who runs an online blog that has millions of followers. He promotes worthwhile causes and often criticizes governments and global corporations, which means he has some very powerful enemies. So when he dies in a mysterious fall from his balcony, there are more than a few suspects…

Dying Wish will be published by Robert Hale in June 2015.

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OUT NOW: Random Targets by James Raven

9780719813665Random Targets

A sniper launches a series of deadly attacks on Britain’s motorways, striking in the dark during rush hour and causing total carnage. No one knows who he is, or why he’s doing it, but, as the death toll rises, fear grips the entire nation.

It’s up to DCI Jeff Temple of the Major Investigations Team to bring the killing spree to an end but, as he closes in on the sniper, Temple makes a shocking discovery about the motive behind the attacks.

A ghastly precedent has been set and Temple soon realizes that in future anyone who drives on Britain’s motorways risks becoming a random target.

James Raven

James Raven was a journalist for most of his working life. After reporting for local, regional and national newspapers he moved into television in 1982 as a news scriptwriter with TVS television where he then worked his way up to become Director of News across Meridian, Anglia and HTV. When Granada took over most of ITV he became Managing Director of Granada Sport before setting up his own production company. James spends much of his time writing and travelling and also performs magic at various venues across the country. James has previously published five novels with Robert Hale, including Rollover and Urban Myth.

Buy your copy of Random Targets here.

James Raven launches ‘After the Execution’ in Southampton

After the Execution by James RavenWaterstones in West Quay, Southampton staged a launch party on Thursday night for James’s Raven’s After the Execution. People gathered for the evening and got their signed copies of the book. The staff also mounted a special display of the novel near the main entrance and in the window.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed the event and it was good to talk to people about the book. There was a lot of genuine interest and for any author that’s very satisfying.  Earlier in the day I was feeling anxious about it, fearing that not many people would show up. But thankfully there was a good turn-out.

As usual the staff at Waterstones were very helpful in organizing things. They laid out the tables and supplied the glasses and plates for the wine and nibbles.  It’s the second book launch I’ve had in that particular store and I’m looking forward to more in the future.’

– James Raven

More on After the Execution

Lee Jordan has spent ten years on death row for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s lost everything – his wife, his dreams, his future. He finally enters the death chamber at the famous ‘Walls’ prison in Texas. He’s strapped to a gurney and given an injection of lethal drugs in front of witnesses. Minutes later he’s pronounced dead. But that’s not the end of it. After the execution comes the shocking revelation – Jordan is still alive. And to stop him talking he has to die all over again – before he brings down the entire American justice system.

James Raven After the Execution launch James Raven After the Execution launchAfter the Execution is out now!

OUT NOW: After the Execution by James Raven

After the Execution by James RavenJames Raven was a journalist for most of his working life. After reporting for local, regional and national newspapers he moved into television in 1982 as a news scriptwriter with TVS television where he then worked his way up to become Director of News across Meridian, Anglia and HTV. When Granada took over most of ITV he became Managing Director of Granada Sport before setting up his own production company. James spends much of his time writing and travelling and also performs magic at various venues across the country. James has previously published five novels with Robert Hale, including Rollover and Urban Myth.

After the Execution by James Raven

Lee Jordan has spent ten years on death row for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s lost everything – his wife, his dreams, his future.

He finally enters the death chamber at the famous ‘Walls’ prison in Texas. He’s strapped to a gurney and given an injection of lethal drugs in front of witnesses. Minutes later he’s pronounced dead.

But that’s not the end of it. After the execution comes the shocking revelation – Jordan is still alive. And to stop him talking he has to die all over again – before he brings down the entire American justice system.

After the Execution by James Raven is available to buy now with a limited time only discount of 30%

After the Execution by James Raven

OUT NOW: Urban Myth by James Raven

Urban Myth by James RavenJames Raven was a journalist for most of his working life. After reporting for local, regional and national newspapers he moved into television in 1982 as a news scriptwriter with TVS television where he then worked his way up to become Director of News across Meridian, Anglia and HTV. When Granada took over most of ITV he became Managing Director of Granada Sport before setting up his own production company. James spends much of his time writing and travelling and also performs magic at various venues across the country. James has previously published four novels with Robert Hale, including Rollover.

Urban Myth by James Raven – Official Blurb

It’s the holiday home from hell, deep in an ancient English forest where no one can hear your screams. Something horrific is going on in the house – something that defies the imagination. Even hardened detective, Jeff Temple, hunting down a brutal killer, is shocked to discover the chilling secret.

When American Jack Keaton decides to take his family to the house on vacation, he gets a phone call from a mystery woman, warning him off. But Keaton ignores is. He brings his wife and two children over from Texas for what he hopes will be the trip of a lifetime. As soon as the family arrives, the nightmare begins….

Praise for the author:

“An excellent book. Extremely well crafted and readable. It has a real sting in the tale,” Fred Dinenage, one of Britain’s best loved TV presenters.

“Find a quiet corner and enjoy that rare thing – a tale that makes you hold your breath,” Nick Knowles, TV presenter.

“Extremely satisfying thriller and great entertainment,” Booksmonthly Review.

“Rollover is a cracking crime novel. The plot is pacy and compelling – the essence of the polished ‘unputdownable’ novel,” Hampshire View Magazine.

Urban Myth by James Raven is available to buy now with a limited time only discount of 30%

Urban Myth by James Raven

James Raven Book Signing in the New Forest for ‘Rollover’

RolloverJames Raven was a journalist for most of his working life. After reporting for local, regional and national newspapers he moved into television in 1982 as a news scriptwriter with TVS television where he then worked his way up to become Director of News across Meridian, Anglia and HTV. When Granada took over most of ITV he became Managing Director of Granada Sport before setting up his own production company. James spends much of his time writing and travelling and also performs magic at various venues across the country.

Here, James tells us about his book signing in the New Forest – where his book, Rollover, is set.

I went to Lymington in the New Forest for my first ever book signing on 21 April. My book, Rollover, is a crime thriller set in Southampton and the New Forest – so it was the obvious place to start a local promotional campaign. The signing was at the Waterstones store on the High Street and luckily for me it was market day and therefore quite busy.

I was very nervous to begin with but the response I got was terrific. There was a lot of interest partly because of the book’s setting in the forest and partly because of the lottery theme which strikes a chord with many.

Since I’m also a semi-professional magician, I did a few tricks for the youngsters who were there with their parents.

Overall, I was pleased with the way it went and I’m looking forward to the next signing at Waterstones in West Quay, Southampton on June 16.

James Raven

James Raven signs Rollover

Rollover by James Raven

Rollover is out now in Hardback. Raven’s next book, Urban Myth, is currently scheduled for release in September 2012, also in Hardback.

OUT FRIDAY: Rollover by James Raven

At the end of the month, James Raven‘s Crime Thriller Rollover will be published by Robert Hale Ltd. To see why Raven’s love of writing never quite went away, check out his post.

RolloverROLLOVER OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS – PLOT

It’s a rollover week on the National Lottery and the jackpot is a whopping £18 million. Journalist Vince Mayo has picked all six numbers, but before he can celebrate his spectacular win he’s battered to death at his home deep in Hampshire’s New Forest.

In a hellish chain of events, Mayo’s friend and fellow journalist, Danny Cain, is forced to go on the run when the police suspect him of the murder.

With Danny Cain still alive, and knowing the truth, the ticket can’t be cashed and the killers want their money, no matter what it takes. For Danny and his terrified family the odds of survival are stacked against them.

Rollover is out 30 March 2012 in Hardback and is available to pre-order now. Urban Myth is scheduled for release in September 2012, also in Hardback.

Rollover Author James Raven On How His Passion for Writing Never Went Away

Would someone murder an entire family to get their hands on a lottery ticket worth £18m? That’s the premise behind my crime novel, Rollover.

The idea came to me one Saturday night while watching the National Lottery draw on television. Within a week I had the outline of a story and eight months later the typescript was submitted to Robert Hale Ltd. Since then I’ve written another book, entitled Urban Myth, which features the same detective from Rollover and is published by Hale in September. Both books are set in and around Hampshire’s New Forest and my home town of Southampton.

It’s a great thrill to have two books published – especially since it marks the re-launch of my writing career after a gap of some thirty years!

I was barely out of my teens when I first became a published author. I wrote four thrillers in quick succession – all of them published by Hale – and I thought naively that I was destined to become a bestselling writer. All I had to do was carry on producing books.

I was a news reporter in those days and worked for a string of papers, including The Sun and The Mail. Somehow I always found time to put pen to paper, despite the fact that I wrote on a small portable typewriter and every draft had to be re-written from scratch. I even took a couple of years off to complete the first two books, and earned a living by doing a ‘Del Boy’ – selling jewellery from a suitcase in the streets at weekends.

But when my wife and I started a family I was forced to get a proper job again and that’s when I got into television as a script writer on a regional news programme. We had three children and my career blossomed. I went from script writer to producer, then to programme editor and Director of News and Sport. All well and good, but it left me hardly any free time. Gradually I lost the will and the passion to write. Eventually I stopped altogether. It was a great shame because I’ll never know how successful I might have been if I’d stuck with it.

I was happy in my career and went on to fill a group role in ITV, overseeing the news divisions of Meridian, Anglia and HTV, as well as a large sports programming department that took me all over the world.

But there was always something missing.

The urge to write returned briefly about twelve years ago when I decided to have a go at a screenplay. It was actually bought by United Productions, who intended to turn it into a one-off drama for ITV. But despite a long development process, it never got made and I became disillusioned.

The desire to write again came back with a vengeance early last year when I got the idea for Rollover. I suddenly realized what I’d been missing. And the good thing is that these days I can devote virtually all my time to it. As a director of my own television production company my workload is no longer demanding.

Having a book published is all the more exciting now that I’m older and able to fully appreciate it. Also, unlike in the late Seventies and Eighties, there are far more opportunities to get involved in the sale and marketing of my work.

I may not get to see Rollover piled high in book shops, but it’s on most online sites including Amazon, WH Smiths and Waterstones. And I can draw attention to it via my own newly-created website. None of this was possible when my earlier novels were published.

What’s more, I’ve produced a short video trailer for Rollover which I’ve uploaded to Youtube and Facebook. It’s already been viewed by hundreds of people so I’m hoping it will encourage at least a few of them to buy the book. Meanwhile the ebook edition of Rollover is published in August and I’ve already updated two of my earlier novels with a view to turning those into ebooks too.

So for me the second time around as an author is proving to be a lot more interesting and much more fun. I can get involved in the whole process, like helping to promote the book. It’s also much easier to monitor feedback through online reviews and such.

I’m already working on my next book and hoping that there will be many more in the future.

– James Raven

For more information on James Raven you can check out his website here.

Rollover is out 30 March 2012 in Hardback. Urban Myth is scheduled for release in September 2012, also in Hardback.