I’m crossing over the pond for this interview with Richard Jay Parker, an author who came to my attention on Twitter. Considering the story line of his novel, this meeting on Twitter gives the whole thing a little edge. I hope you enjoy the interview and follow-up by reading his novel.
Let’s find out more about Mr. Parker and his work:
Virginia: Where are you from?
Richard: I’m from South Wales originally but lived in London for fourteen years when I was a TV writer before re-locating to Salisbury three years ago.
Virginia: How long have you been writing?
Richard: Just over twenty years – I’ve been lucky enough to have made a full-time living from writing although there have been spectacular peaks and troughs over the years.
Virginia: What do you write?
Richard: I was formerly a TV scriptwriter, script editor and producer but I started writing novels about a decade ago. It’s taken me that long to get my first thriller STOP ME published.
Virginia: Tell us a little about your publisher and agent.
Richard: My publisher is Allison and Busby: http://www.allisonandbusby.com/book/stop-me-trade-paperback and has an eclectic range of authors although they are mainly known for their crime output. My agent is Conville and Walsh. I’ve been with them for just over a year.
Virginia: How many books have you published so far?
Richard: STOP ME – is my debut thriller.
Virginia: What is your writing day like?
Richard: I’ve designed my day so that, at some point, I have no choice but to write. I start at eight and finish between five and six, so this gives me plenty of time to catch up on emails etc before attacking the keyboard. I’m lucky that I have the whole day but, that said; most off my thinking is done before I sit down and that’s the vital part. I find working a plot in my head while I’m doing something else is a hell of a lot more valuable than hours spent sitting at a desk. I think it’s how a lot of writers work and, as long as you can make notes, getting the words down can be done when you find a spare moment.
Virginia: Can you tell us how you found a publisher and/or agent?
Richard: The agent came first. I was fortunate enough to get one with my first novel, which was a sort of warty character study but although it attracted a lot of positive feedback there was no offer from a publisher. When I decided, I wanted to write thrillers I had to find new representation. That took some time. I got an agent interested in my work but it wasn’t right for the agency he was with. A year or two later he was poached to another more progressive agency and he invited me to submit the book I was working on. He sent it to a number of publishers and it got sold on the second wave of submissions. There was another publisher interested but the bigger they are the bigger the committee is. I’ve very happy to be with Allison and Busby. They’re very forward thinking and know the sort of books they excel at.
Virginia: Tell us about the book that is coming out soon.
Richard: STOP ME is out on August 4th. The trade paperback is available in bookshops and sites and then the mass-market paperback is coming out in January 2010. I believe it’s going to be one of Allison and Busby’s first e-books. The subject is very appropriate for that. It examines how technology – emails and websites can be used for macabre purposes.
Everyone suspects there’s something sinister about email chain letters. STOP ME begins with an email chain letter from the Vacation Killer. It describes a girl and must be forwarded. If it ends up back in the killer’s inbox, he won’t slit her throat. Nobody takes it seriously to begin with until the jawbone of a prostitute is sent to the police. The missing prostitute fits the description in the email. But the real story of STOP ME is in the relationship between two men via a website.
John R Bookwalter claims to be the Vacation Killer and runs a website based around this alleged delusion. He’s never left the state of Louisiana and the Vacation Killer has killed around the globe. He’s dismissed by the police as a crank but claims to have Laura, the wife of Leo Sharpe. She disappeared in London and the Vacation Killer was suspected. However, her remains were never sent to the police and Leo wonders why – did the email get back to the Vacation Killer’s inbox?
But as everyone around Leo gives up on Laura ever being found Bookwalter is the only person talking about her in terms of her still being alive. A bizarre relationship ensues and Bookwalter comes up with the most plausible theory of how she was kidnapped.
Leo has to decide whether he should accept Bookwalter’s invitation to fly to Louisiana to find out if there’s any truth in what he’s saying. That’s what the title STOP ME refers to – more than the emails. It’s about being drawn submissively into something you know you shouldn’t.
Virginia: What are you working on now?
Richard: Have just finished the first draft of a new, dark thriller. I spoke to my agent yesterday and he has only forty pages left to read but is enjoying it. I hope everyone else will be able to read it soon.
Virginia: Do you have some words of wisdom for us unpubs?
Richard: Moving to the next project is vital. Some writers have many books inside them that they have to work through before they get to the one that will be a success for them. The only way to get there is to move on to your next project and write it while you’re waiting to hear about the previous one.
Virginia – Please visit Richard Jay Parker’s website
For overseas customers it’s available with FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING from the Book Depository where it is the current Editor’s Pick:
Am doing a book signing in Waterstones, Salisbury at 7:30 pm on Thursday August 13th
And signing in UK airports throughout the summer:
Thanks Richard for taking the time for this interview and watch out for strange emails.
Until next time,