AUTHOR INTERVIEW: CRIME THRILLER ROBERT PARKER






Robert Parker is a new exciting voice, a married father of two, who lives in a village close to ManchesterUK. He has both a law degree and a degree in film and media production, and has worked in numerous employment positions, ranging from solicitor’s agent (essentially a courtroom gun for hire), to a van driver, to a warehouse order picker, to a commercial video director. He currently writes full time, while also making time to encourage new young readers and authors through readings and workshops at local schools and bookstores. In his spare time he adores pretty much all sport, boxing regularly for charity, loves fiction across all mediums, and his glass is always half full.

His latest book is the crime/thriller, A WANTED MAN.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?


A Wanted Man started as a bad screenplay when I was around 18 years old. I created a very generic crime story, set in my home city of Manchester, UK, and if you can picture a Jean Claude Van Damme-style 90s action movie, but worse written, by a rather excitable 18 year old, then you are on the right lines. I worked on it for over a decade, on and off, then put it in a drawer, presumably never to be seen again. Then at 29, I started to write full prose again, and had written a few short stories about a character I was getting fond of. Ben Bracken - an ex-soldier, wrongly dumped from the army (or rightly, depending on your viewpoint) who was sent home to a country he didn’t recognize anymore. One night, I remembered that old screenplay, and I took Ben Bracken and dropped him right in the middle of it. The whole story came to life in ways that worked so much better, with themes I was much more in tune with. Six weeks later, I had a first draft.


Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?


I have to be honest and say that I didn’t find the initial writing of the book hard at all. I just let my heart go, and wrote what felt right and let the story look after itself. The key fundaments of the story haven’t changed at all since that first draft, but others have been changed many times, which leads me onto the part I did find fairly difficult – the redrafting process. Some drafts were only minutely altered from their predecessor, others chopped out thousands of words. I did 46 drafts in total, over the course of almost three years. I probably questioned by sanity many times during this period.


Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?


Originally, I self-published, without it ever entering my mind that I could or would do this for a living. I put it on the Kindle platform merely to see what happened, and I loved the process, truthfully. It was so exciting, and feedback was nearly immediate. I penned a follow up to A Wanted Man soon after, and that garnered a little attention, and it was suggested to me that I try to find an agent to represent the work. I approached well over 250 (I know this because I have over 250 rejection letters at home!) and ended up delighted to be working with Linda Langton of Langtons International Agency in New York. She has been huge in terms of my career, and my gratitude and loyalty to her is granite. We worked together on those multiple redrafts until she was confident it was ready, and that was when she approached publishers. Within two weeks, A Wanted Man was sold to Endeavour Press, and I’ve been delighted ever since.


Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?


There are certain industry quirks that have surprised me in my short journey so far, but the main thing that constantly surprised me in the best way is just how nice other authors are. I am star struck to be speaking with them half the time, but literally every single one I have spoken to has been warm, encouraging, helpful and kind. There is a saying in the industry that people in crime tend to be nicest, and I can certainly see the truth in that. 


Q: What other books are you working on and when will they be published?


Well, my second book Crook’s Hollow is a standalone, post-Brexit western set in the UK, and is being published on 18th March 2018 by Black Rose Writing. I’m thrilled that this mad little book has found such a great home. Following that, I should have some news on the return of Ben Bracken very soon. Watch this space.


Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?


There is a section in the book where it is mentioned that there are 160 active organized crime gangs in the city of Manchester, UK. That is not a fictitious stat – that was taken from my conversations with ex-policemen as part of research. In fact, the whole research process showed me that the fiction I was trying to create was not that far from the true fact of the matter. The stories I was told would make your eyes water.


Q: Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?


I don’t have any true lofty message aims with A Wanted Man, but if anything I would like to highlight the varying plights of veterans when they come home after service, and the true scale of the sacrifices that these amazing people have made. They are true, honest, real-life heroes, and should be viewed as such. It dismays me that they are not.

  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?


If you want to write, just go for it. There is no barrier whatsoever, as long as you have a pen and paper, you can do it. Write from your heart, your gut, your head, wherever, and as long as it feels right to you, it’s a great start. Be proud of what you are doing, and have fun. Don’t let anyone say you can’t do it. Turn negatives into positives at every turn, and don’t you dare ever quit.



About the Book:

Title: A WANTED MAN
Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 307
Genre: Crime Thriller

It’s down to fathers and fatherhood.

Ben Bracken, ex-soldier, has just got out of Strangeways.

Not by the front door.

With him, he has his ‘insurance policy’ – a bag of evidence that will guarantee his freedom, provided he can keep it safe – and he has money, carefully looked after by a friend, Jack Brooker.

Rejected by the army, disowned by his father, and any hopes of parenthood long since shattered, Ben has no anchors in his life.

No one to keep him steady. 

No one to stop his cause…

The plan: to wreak justice on the man who had put him in prison in the first place. 

Terry ‘The Turn-Up’ Masters, a nasty piece of work, whose crime organisation is based in
London.

But before Ben can get started on his mission, another matter is brought to his attention: Jack’s father has been murdered and he will not rest until the killers are found.

Suddenly, Ben finds himself drawn in to helping Jack in his quest for revenge.

In the process, he descends into the fold of
Manchester’s most notorious crime organisation – the Berg – the very people he wants to bring down…

This action-packed and fast-paced story will keep you turning the pages.
Manchester is vividly portrayed as Ben races around the city seeking vengeance.

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