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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

#Blogival Interview: Matthew Redford

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Welcome to the first day of the Clink Street Publishing summer Blogival 2017! To kick things off, I sat down for a chat with author Matthew Redford about his life, his writing, and his novel Addicted to Death.

Tell me a little about your background?
I was born in Bermondsey, south-east London and was raised on a council estate by my parents and my elder brother. And it is only right that I start with my family because they mean the world to me. If it wasn’t for their support and encouragement I doubt very much that I would be sitting here responding to your questions.
They introduced me to the wonderful world of literature, a place where one can be transported to a new world or be challenged to look at the existing world in a completely new light.
They supported me when I broke the news to them that I was going to study to be an accountant and I like to think that while my finance work requires me to follow rules and prescribed standards, the fact that I can throw off that rigidity when I write means I can create a written world which is more abstract, obscure and quirky.
How did you become interested in writing?
From a young age, I was interested in literature and part of me has always wanted to take up the challenge to see if I could write a book which could hold a reader from start to finish. I placed the thought on hold while I was training to become an accountant - my career came first - and it was when I felt my career was on track that I could resurrect the idea of writing a book.
And the genre of crime fiction has always appealed - the dark side of my personality must be coming through in some form.
Tell me about Addicted to Death.
I should start by saying that I like to laugh. Humour is important to me. The world is a serious enough place at the best of times and so we need to make sure that we can at least have some fun. With that in mind, I knew I would not be able to write a serious crime fiction book like a Patricia Cornwell for example. So I needed to create a world which allowed me to tell a crime story but which allowed my quirky sense of humour to evolve. Which naturally leads to Food Sapiens. 
addicted-to-death, matthew-redford, book
Image: Matthew Redford / Clink Street Publishing
You do know what I mean when I say Food Sapiens, don’t you? Walking, talking, breathing food items which live and work alongside everyday Homo Sapiens.
Well, I decided that I wanted to champion the Food Sapiens community and this meant I needed to report on the work of the leading Food Sapiens detective, Willie Wortel.
In Addicted to Death, we pick up the story of Benedict and Darcy Blacktail, two happy eggs who are brutally murdered, beaten to death, by a fedora wearing assailant. And it would seem that their deaths are in some way linked to the murder of a Government minister, Professor Perry Partridge, a pear found dead in suspicious circumstances at the Strawberry Strip Club. It is up to Wortel and his band of misfits to try and solve the murders.
Do you find that writing crime fiction is difficult?
Not so far. My advice would be to get the plot organised first. Once that is in place and you have a sense of the characters involved then writing the story should be more straightforward.
What draws you to writing murder mysteries?
My star sign is Scorpio so we have something of the night about us anyway. I would much rather sit down with a dark, creepy, murder mystery than a light fluffy love story. Everyone has a dark side to them, I’m just happy sharing mine through my quirky crime fiction writing.
What’s your writing style?
Haphazard! I know how I want the plot to develop. I know the characters I want involved and the arc that they should go on through the story. And then I begin by writing the last chapter, i.e. I write the ending first.

I find that by being clear on how the story should conclude I know my direction of travel. I then start at the beginning but give myself licence to write any part of the story in any order. I just need to make sure that the story flows and that the threads hold together.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Not having enough time to write. Like most people, the day job takes up a lot of time so writing during the week is nigh on impossible for me. Weekends are also busy so it is challenging finding some quiet time to think about writing as well as actually putting words down on paper.
matthew-redford, author
Image: Matthew Redford
What do you love most about writing?
Knowing that my book, my ideas, my writing, could be enjoyed by just one person is satisfaction enough.
Which authors inspire you?
I have always been a huge fan of Roald Dahl, someone who could create these wonderful worlds in which children and adults can find enjoyment. And in terms of crime fiction, one of the first series of books I really enjoyed was by Ian Harvey and his character of Detective Resnick. A character who was so real you felt you knew someone just like him.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Trust yourself. Don’t be afraid to be different. 
And find your voice. Don’t try to copy another style or another author. You alone are unique. If you have a story you want to tell, then tell it in your voice, your style.
What’s your all time favourite book?
Wow, that is a hard question. I’m not going to give you a wishy-washy answer and say it depends on the genre etc, so if I needed to stick my neck out and pick I would say To Kill a Mockingbird.
What are your interests outside of writing?
I am a big chess player and enjoy participating in online events/tournaments, and I also enjoy watching my local football team although they tend to lose more than they win sadly.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I have a number of short stories at the planning stage, so I would like to flesh those out a bit more. So maybe book 3 will consist of a number of short Food Sapien crime mysteries.
What are you reading at the moment?
I have just finished a really enjoyable book called The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin. He has another book coming out in October so I have set a reminder on my phone for the publishing date.
Addicted to Death is available to buy now. To find out more about Matthew and his books, you can visit his website.

Don't forget that the Clink Street Blogival is running throughout the entirety of August - keep checking back here for more content and don't miss the great posts coming from other bloggers during the month!

What do you think of the concept of 'Food Sapiens?' Let me know in the comments below!

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