I am delighted to welcome Tony J Forder
author of Bad To The Bone to take part in my Q&A Interview on Blog Tour today.
A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.
A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.
As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.
As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.
When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.
Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost?
And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?
Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I am currently a part-time IT consultant to education, and a part-time writer. I haven’t yet committed to full-time writing because the IT work pays the bill; although getting up in the morning and thinking about nothing other than writing sounds like a great way to spend the day.
I am married, live in Peterborough, UK, and until December last worked as an IT network manager. I come from the east end of London, and grew up in some rough neighbourhoods, where you learned pretty early in life how to swim rather than sink.
I play guitar and sing, and used to also play bass, drums and a little keyboards. I write my own songs, and have been in a few bands. I love listening to music and am a big fan of 70s and 80s music, especially AOR stuff. I support Chelsea FC, and have done since I was eight, and I really enjoy rugby union. When I was younger (and fitter…and leaner) I ran the 100 yards/metres and did long jump at County level, and I also did a bit of boxing and karate. What with my football, no day passed without my being involved in something sport-related.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I knew I wanted to write when I was just a kid. I started off writing short stories. My early influences were fantasy books (big favourites were The Man Who Was Magic and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen), so my stories naturally gravitated towards that genre. This turned to dark fantasy and then later on, to horror. I completed many dozens of these before believing I was any good. Then I sent one off for a competition, which I won. That led to publication by Pan books, followed by three more publications. I moved on to novels quite late in life I suppose. I came very close to bagging a publisher and then an agent, but not quite close enough. At the back end of 2016, knowing I was going to write more, I decided to self-publish, but then Bloodhound Books came along and signed me up, which was an enormous thrill.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
Hmm. Well, I’m firmly in the psychological/crime/mystery/thriller genre, and I tend to drift between them. Bad to the Bone is a crime thriller leaning towards the procedural. I have another book due later this year, Degrees of Darkness, which is on the darker side of psychological crime thrillers. I have also completed the first draft of a fast-paced chase thriller.
What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
It’s only recently that I have been able to devote more time to my writing. Prior to that I wrote as and when I could squeeze it in. Now, on my writing days, I am at the computer by around 8.00am, I break for lunch, and then get stuck back into it for another couple of hours. If I have a process it is to write down a very basic storyline, and then get stuck into the first draft. I write about half a dozen chapters and then go back, take a look at the structure, do some editing, and often this leads me to introduce other chapters and even characters. I then do the same for another few chapters until the first part of the book is in place and, moreover, inside my head. Then I rattle through the rest of the book until that first draft is done. This is then set aside for an unspecified amount of time while I start the process all over again for something new. I usually have two or three ideas in my head until one takes over. The process is a little different for my current WIP, as this is my contracted follow up to Bad to the Bone, so whilst I have other ideas in my head, this is the one I need to write now.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
I use the names of people I know or have met all the time. As for the characters, well of course there’s a lot of me in them. Family members see it much more than I do, so I’m clearly not aware of it as I write. Often I form an amalgam of people into a single character. I haven’t written a character who is a complete rip-off of someone I know. The abducted daughter in Degrees of Darkness was based on my own daughter, and she still sends her therapy bills to me.
Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
One or two incidents, yes. But there are some awful crimes and murders taking place in my books, and as far as I am aware I have not committed any – although there were those blackouts in 1995… There is one personal experience that does make Bad to the Bone, however: its lead character, DI James Bliss, is diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. That’s something I know about well, as I was diagnosed with the condition around 15 years ago, and still live with it.
What research do you do?
Whilst these are works of fiction, I like to be as accurate as I can be. I have spoken to taxidermists, and I have liaised with both the Met and the NCA press offices to make sure I get as much right as I possibly can. Also, how on earth did writers manage without the Internet as a research tool??? Contacting the NCA actually prevented me from making a massive error with the very premise of my most recent book. That could have been terribly embarrassing.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
Michael Connelly – hands down my favourite crime writer; I would just love to learn from the best.
What’s your favourite book?
The Silence of the Lambs – it blew me away unlike any other book I have read before or since. Not just the premise, not just the characters, but also the razor-sharp writing.
What’s your favourite food?
My favourite dinner is my wife’s take on wienerschnitzel, her Sunday roast, or a nice ruby.
What’s your favourite film?
The Shawshank Redemption, based on the Stephen King novella.
What’s your favourite song?
This is a really tough one. It changes depending on my mood. Currently it’s Five Friendly Aliens by Danny Wilson.
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
I have my own website: tonyjforder.com
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tony-J-Forder/e/B01N4BPT65
On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who will publish his new edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone this spring. It is the first in a series.
Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.
Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.
The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.
During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”
Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.
Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day.
As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.
This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017. In the meantime, he hopes you enjoy Bad to the Bone, introducing DI James Bliss and DC Penny Chandler.