Author Interview: ‘A Lot of Nerve’ by Ian McCulloch

About the Book:

Nothing is quite what it seems…

Jones is a chancer, a schemer, always on the lookout for the next big deal.

In a pub one day he notices some papers changing hands for large amounts of money. He manages to insert himself into the middle of what looks like an extremely lucrative deal, but the can of worms he opens catapults him into a situation more volatile and dangerous than he could ever have imagined.

Caught between a violent gangster and the machinations of the state, Jones finds himself playing each side off against the other in order to stay alive. In a world of deception and intrigue, the only thing he can be sure of is that people are prepared to kill for the mysterious papers.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’d worked for Marks & Spencer and one of their suppliers for quite a long time and when their fortunes took a bit of a downturn I, along with many others, was made redundant. I’d always had the dream of writing a book, so I decided I’d take a couple of months off and give it a go. When I was offered the opportunity to write freelance for Fulham Football Club and then for a number of magazines, the book found itself plonked on the back burner. I tried to write a ‘literary masterpiece’ in my spare time for a few years, but finally focussed sufficiently to write something a bit lighter and, hopefully, a bit more commercial.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Throughout my writing career I’ve worked from home and found concentrating incredibly difficult. Whenever deadlines have loomed I’ve generally gone somewhere like Starbucks to get things finished. But when I started on A Lot of Nerve I took my laptop and a chair out into the garden and discovered that without all the distractions of being in the house I could actually focus on what I should be doing. There is now a little patch of garden that I call my office – luckily I live somewhere warm at the moment. When I first started writing professionally I discovered that mornings are a terrible time for me creatively. Three o’clock in the afternoon to eight in the evening is my good time.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

No idea. I can sometimes feel quite daunted when I first sit down at the computer, but once I start typing something always seems to turn up.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

With A Lot of Nerve, I had a half page of notes – a vague main character, a rough idea of a plot and an ending. While they stayed fairly constant, huge parts of the story and a couple of other main characters appeared out of nowhere. I was definitely carried along by it all – I think I enjoyed not knowing what was coming next. There were two re-writes once I was taken on by David Haviland, and while they didn’t change the feel of the book, it looked fairly different at the end of the process. A big thanks to David for all his support.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

A Lot of Nerve is a thriller, peopled by gangsters and villains. It’s hard bitten but with a sardonically humorous edge. It’s actually a genre I don’t read. Perhaps I was drawn to it because it was a blank page, I had no preconceptions about what it should look like.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Jones should definitely be played by Tom Hiddleston! Finch by someone like Michael Gambon. DI Hernandez? Perhaps by Emily Blunt.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I do read a lot. I particularly like historical novels – writers like Bernard Cornwell and Philipa Gregory are favourites – and cold-war spy novels from writers like John Le Carre.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. He’s another favourite – I’ve read most of his stuff and just marvel at the sheer imagination of the man.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Impossible question! I’ve loved so many books over the years it’s very difficult to name just one, but I’ll say Alice Through the Looking Glass. I read it first when I was little and have read it regularly ever since. It’s like an old friend.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I’m not sure I’m the best person to offer anyone any advice, but I would say that while being a writer is a very, very difficult career, it’s one that can be the most rewarding in the world. In my case I’ve learnt that there is no substitution for hard work, just being prepared to do something over and over until you get it right.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

You’ll find me on Twitter @ianmcculloch


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