I would like to introduce you all to Owen Mullen who is the author of the Charlie Cameron series. I recently interviewed Owen and asked him about his books which sound fascinating. There’s also a really interesting author bio at the end.
First of all can you tell me what type of books you write?
An author friend recently described it as tartan noir with plenty of noir. I always say I want to write books that I want to read. That means strong believable characters, strong story lines and unexpected twists. So Games People Play is about Charlie Cameron Glasgow PI…someone recently described him like this: Charlie’s Rick in Casablanca, he’s Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep. He’s wonderful.
What is your latest book about?
Old Friends and New Enemies is the 2nd in the Charlie Cameron series. This time Charlie ends up fighting for his life when he discovers the body of an old friend.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
I don’t but several people who know me say they can spot me….although they don’t say which one…it would be nice to be the hero.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Many things, song titles, documentary or news article, or just something someone says. Games People Play came from a conversation on a beach with my wife Christine
Do you have to do any research?
Always. How much depends on the story. Even places and things you know well are constantly changing. I talk to people, visit the area, take photographs and read up on things.
How long on average does it take you to write each book?
3 to 4 months for the first draft, and normally about a couple of months to finish.
Can we expect more from you?
Yes. The third Charlie story is underway; also a long short story. I have a few other projects on the go too.
Do you find social media useful?
Invaluable… as an indie author you can either strap on a sandwich board or get yourself out into the world of social media. I have met so many helpful people this way.
Would you like to see any of your books made into a film?
Who wouldn’t? Yes that would be amazing.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to write their first book?
I always give the same advice. Get started. Get better. Keep going.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I used to be in bands so music is still big for me, apart from that I love travel, cooking and football.
What’s your favourite word?
Don’t have a favourite but dubiety is a good one. Haven’t used it yet…I’m saving it for the right sentence.
About Owen Mullen
School was a waste of time for me. Or rather, I wasted time; my own and every teacher’s who tried to get me to work. It took twenty years to appreciate what they were telling me. Life has rules. They aren’t written down but they exist nevertheless. I got that. Eventually. But by then I was thirty five.
Along the way I missed an important clue. At ten I won a national primary schools short story competition – and didn’t write anything else for forty years.
SMART BOY WANTED
As a teenager my big obsession was music. Early on I realised if I was successful I would probably be rich and famous and pull lots of girls.
So how did that turn out?
Well, you haven’t heard of me, have you? And this morning I caught myself worrying about the electricity bill. So the short answer is: one out of three ain’t bad.
Running around the country in a Transit van with your mates is fun. It’s your very own gang. You against the world. Until you fall out and the dream lies bleeding on the dressing-room floor.
When that happened I went to London
[everybody from Scotland goes to London, it’s like first footing at New Year, or ten pints of lager and a vindaloo on a Friday night; a sacred tradition]
and became a session singer. I also started gigging with different bands on the circuit.
Back in Scotland – most of us come back with wild tales of great success, none of them true – I wondered what I should do with myself and didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Her name was Christine. We got married, I went to Strathclyde Uni and got a bunch of letters after my name, and toughing it out at Shotts Miner’s Welfare, or dodging flying beer cans at the Café Club in Baillieston, was in the past. The long hair was short now, I wore a suit and pretended to like people I didn’t like because we were ‘colleagues’.
After many adventures I started my own marketing and design business and did alright. Christine and I were very happy, we travelled all over the place; India, Brazil, Botswana, Nepal, Borneo, Japan. One day I suggested we move. To the Greek islands. So we did. We bought land and built a beautiful villa overlooking the Mediterranean. Then the pan global financial crash happened, years of fiscal carelessness finally caught up with Greece; the exchange rate dived and the cost of living in Paradise went through the roof.
I had to do something. Then I remembered the short story competition. I had been good at writing, hadn’t I?
I wrote another short story called The King Is Dead…the first thing I’d written since primary school. When I typed the last word [Christine taught me to type] I held the pages in my hand then started to read. An hour and a half, rooted to the chair unable to believe what was in front of my eyes. For four decades I had shunned a god given gift. And as I read I started to understand why. It was awful. Not just bad. Bloody terrible.
But I kept going.
And now, eight years and seven books later, three literary agents plus two I turned down [they were reading a different book] I am a writer. My books are on Amazon. People buy them and come back for more.
One seasoned London agent has predicted I am destined to be ‘a major new force in British crime fiction.’
So is the moral: follow my example, find something you’re good at and stick with it. Hardly. I didn’t, did I? Do it your own way; it’s your life.
Contact Owen on firstname.lastname@example.org