‘Know Me Now’, the third book in the Dan Forrester series, is CJ Carver’s new novel. It is being published as an eBook on the 14th December 2017 by Zaffre and will be out in paperback on the 11th January 2018. I am absolutely delighted to be participating in this blog tour which has been organised by the lovely Emily Burns, along with a number of other bloggers. I have for you all an interview with CJ Carver. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Firstly, can you tell me a bit about ‘Know Me Now’ please?
Quintessentially, the book is about friendship. Dan Forrester is one of a group of four people who’ve known each other since they were toddlers, and when the son of one of these friends – Dan’s godson – is found murdered, Dan teams up with his old friend DS Lucy Davies to find out what happened.
When Dan discovers his father has also been murdered, it suggests things are more dangerous than anyone imagined. A coded message is left in a newspaper advertisement; spies are engaged; an assassin deployed. And all because of a terrible secret that has been lying undisturbed for decades. A secret someone will do anything to keep buried . . .
Can you describe your book in five words?
Friendship, betrayal, greed, loyalty and love.
Did you have to do much research for it and if so what did it entail?
I’m lucky enough to have a family of top scientists to hand locally, and they are my first port of call for anything technical. The book is set mainly in Scotland, which was pretty easy to get to, but even though I only set a handful of chapters in Germany it was incredibly valuable going there to make sure I got things right, like police duties in the Federal Republic of Germany are a matter for the individual Countries (16), which are absolutely sovereign in this area… oh, sorry, I might have sent you to sleep with that bit of research!
How long did it take you to write this book?
The idea came to me over two years ago when lunching with a Professor friend of mine. From there, it germinated as I completed Tell Me A Lie, during which time I continued gathering more ideas and information until it was time to plot it out. From the plotting stage to sending off the proof, took around a year. However, if you’re talking about the first draft, this book was a good three months, which gave me time to put the manuscript aside occasionally to let it perculate.
I noticed that ‘Know Me Now’ is part of a series. Can it be read as a standalone?
Absolutely. I make sure that each book in any series can be read without having to read the others, and I was really pleased when a reviewer remarked that although Tell Me A Lie was her first Dan Forrester book (2nd in the series) she didn’t feel at all left out with any backstories. Oh, and I make sure there are no spoilers to the other books!
Are there more books in the series to come?
Ooooh, yes. I’m writing the fourth right now, and rather wonderfully had a “Eureka!” moment last week when I came up with a cracking idea for the fifth.
Can you relate to any of the characters in this book?
I think a writer has to relate to the characters they create, even the villains. I like to know what makes each person tick in the book, their dreams and their worst nightmares. I admit to enjoying writing DC Lucy Davies immensely as she is wonderfully outspoken and I wish I could be a bit like her!
What would your reaction be if one of them turned up on your doorstep?
If Dan Forrester turned up I would freak out because danger follows him like a shark follows blood. I would be looking up and down the street behind him for bad guys.
What has the publishing process been like?
I started out before the internet, so things have changed a lot. I think it’s incredibly exciting today with the self-publishing prospects and some indie authors are doing really well. Having a traditional publisher, however, does mean that it can be a bit of a rollercoaster from time to time, but that, I’ve learned, is part of an author’s life.
Is writing something you have always wanted to do?
Well, when I was ten, on holiday in Scotland, I announced to my parents that I was going upstairs to write a book. Neither looked up from their Agatha Christies, but I remember my father saying, ‘That sounds like a good idea.’ I started my “book” but after the first page realised I didn’t have much of a story and how difficult it was going to be! I gave up. When I toddled downstairs after about an hour, Mum and Dad never mentioned it, which meant I didn’t have to get defensive over it!
I eventually fell into writing, but only because I followed my dream: to drive from London to Saigon. On my return from the 14,500-mile journey, I was asked to write an article for Car Magazine, so I trotted to my local Waterstones and bought a book How to Write and Sell Travel Articles. It was probably the worst article I ever wrote, but it got published and, amazingly, I got paid. I’d enjoyed writing it so much I approached other outlets with my story and ended up becoming a travel writer which eventually led me to writing my first novel. (Which this answer to your question seems to have been…!)
Which authors if any have helped to influence your work?
Do you know, on balance I think Dick Francis had the biggest effect on my writing. Galloping adventure stuff I thoroughly enjoyed as a teen and an adult but what I found magical was that Francis’s books were written from the viewpoint of an “ordinary” person thrown into extraordinary circumstances, which is exactly what happens to Dan Forrester in my books.
A lot of people think Francis is lightweight, but his fast plots and authentic backgrounds in my view were outstanding, along with his characterisation. His books weren’t long, and they introduced me to punchy, no holds-barred storytelling. Now that, I remember thinking, is what I want to write: page turners.
What are your thoughts on social media?
It’s the biggest time waster of all time. However, it is also a fantastic support to writer’s and I couldn’t do without it. That said, when I’m writing I’m very strict about my time on Twitter or Facebook and set a time limit, maximum forty minutes.
Have you got any pearls of wisdom for people wanting to pen their first book?
WRITE. Just do it. Sit down and get started. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s rubbish, just keep going and before you know it, you’ll have a chapter, and then another. And another…
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a travel addict, so whenever I can I pack up the camper and hit the open road. My perfect day is walking across country with a stop at a pub for lunch somewhere, then tucking up with a good book and a cuppa at the end of the day.
You have been given a choice of three tasks: stay on a desert island for a month, spend a week in a prison or spend the night in a supposedly haunted castle. Which one would you choose?
Desert island, please! I’m a bit of an adventurer so I’d love the challenge. Can I take a copy of How to Survive on a Desert Island with me?!
About CJ Carver
C.J. Carver’s first novel Blood Junction won the CWA Debut Dagger and was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best mystery books of the year. Half-English, half New Zealand, C.J. has been a travel writer and long-distance rally driver, driving London to Saigon and London to Cape Town. Her novels have been published in the UK and the USA and translated into several languages.
‘Know Me Now’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Know-Me-Now-Dan-Forrester-ebook/dp/B0748J34JF/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Website – http://www.cjcarver.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/C_J_Carver