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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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