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The Real Writing Process of Tom Hindle
Episode 40521st January 2024 • The Real Writing Process • Tom Pepperdine
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Tom Pepperdine interviews murder mystery author, Tom Hindle, about his writing process. Tom explains how inconvenient it was to be inspired for his latest book, the importance of thinking walks, and why he was still writing new chapters on the day his manuscript was due to his editor.

Tom's on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/tom.hindle/

And you can find more information about this podcast on the following links:

https://www.threads.net/@realwritingpro

https://www.instagram.com/realwritingpro

Transcripts

Tom:

Hello and welcome to The Real Writing Process.

Tom:

I'm your host Tom Pepperdine and this week my guest is the

Tom:

murder mystery author Tom Hindle.

Tom:

Tom writes murder mystery novels and not just murder mystery novels but

Tom:

really good murder mystery novels.

Tom:

I think it's a very hard genre to do well but Tom nails that balance between high

Tom:

concept with compelling characters that you just need to keep turning the page.

Tom:

Fittingly, it's a dark and stormy night in England when I've

Tom:

released this episode, and there's an unsolved murder on the news.

Tom:

Is this a work of an overzealous marketing push by his publishers?

Tom:

Who's to say?

Tom:

What I will say though, his latest book, Murder on Lake

Tom:

Garda, is out now, and I loved it.

Tom:

I also loved this interview, as I feel that he's in his up

Tom:

and coming stage of his career.

Tom:

It's really exciting to talk to him.

Tom:

I'm sure you'll love it too.

Tom:

So wrap up warm, get cozy, have a drink to hand, and enjoy my interview

Tom:

with the veritable Tom Hindle.

Tom:

And I'm here this week with Tom Hindle.

Tom:

Tom, hello.

Tom H:

Hello.

Tom:

Lovely to have you on the show.

Tom:

Thank you for being here.

Tom H:

Thank you for having me.

Tom:

Well, yes.

Tom:

And I know that you're not feeling too well, so we have something

Tom:

medicinal, I know, for our first drink.

Tom:

Can you tell me what we're drinking?

Tom H:

Ah, I have a single measure of my favorite whiskey, which

Tom H:

is a lovely glass of Aberfeldy, which is going down very nicely.

Tom:

And I will never say no to a whiskey, so cheers.

Tom:

Thank you.

Tom H:

Cheers.

Tom:

Oh, there we go.

Tom:

That's warming because, um, just for the listeners, it's a very cold January

Tom:

night, quite fitting for a murder mystery, but maybe not this murder mystery

Tom:

that you've just coming out, Murder on Lake Garda, which, I absolutely loved.

Tom:

Now, it's quite, uh, I'll just go straight into it, because I think

Tom:

around this book, especially.

Tom:

It's got quite a fun story about how you came up with the idea for it.

Tom:

So, do you just want to sort of tell us how you came up with Murder on Lake Garda.

Tom H:

Yeah, of course.

Tom H:

So it came quite unexpectedly.

Tom H:

So I was on holiday with my wife in Italy.

Tom H:

We were at Lake Garda and we were going around a castle.

Tom H:

This amazing castle in a beautiful little town called Malcesine

Tom H:

right on the shores of the Lake.

Tom H:

And, um, we saw a wedding that was taking place.

Tom H:

And it was just such a, a spectacle, you know?

Tom H:

You had the glamour of the event, you had the amazing landscape with

Tom H:

the mountains and the lake and you had the architecture of the castle.

Tom H:

And, I, I remember quite vividly just looking at it and thinking

Tom H:

if someone was murdered right there, that would just be the most

Tom H:

incredible start to a murder mystery.

Tom H:

And, um, I actually, I took a photo of it.

Tom H:

So there was a watchtower that you could climb or like a clock tower or some kind

Tom H:

of tower in this castle and we were at the top of it and so we were looking down on

Tom H:

this wedding which was happening in one of the courtyards and I took a picture

Tom H:

and the picture captured everything.

Tom H:

It had the ceremony, it had the lake behind it, it had

Tom H:

like the walls of the castle.

Tom H:

And I took a picture on my phone and I got back to the UK a few days later,

Tom H:

home from a holiday, and I sent that picture to my agent and my editor.

Tom H:

Which isn't typically, I think, how you pitch a new idea for a book.

Tom H:

But I just sent him the picture and I just said, idea for a book.

Tom H:

You're at this wedding and someone is murdered, and that's the opening chapter.

Tom H:

What do you think?

Tom H:

And they both replied just saying, yes, go and go and write this please.

Tom H:

And that was, that was how it came about.

Tom H:

So I wasn't, I wasn't looking for it.

Tom H:

I'd certainly didn't expect it.

Tom H:

And it just, it just came.

Tom:

And at the time, if I understand correctly, you were in

Tom:

the middle of writing, well, you just started writing another book?

Tom H:

Yeah, that's right.

Tom H:

So I was writing a book that was going to be set in rural Yorkshire.

Tom H:

So I was really interested in the idea of a murder taking place at a funeral.

Tom H:

And I was, I was really, I was really interested in this question of why, why

Tom H:

would someone be murdered at a funeral and sort of what's the story there.

Tom H:

And the setting I had settled on was a very remote church in rural Yorkshire.

Tom H:

So I'm from Leeds.

Tom H:

So I grew up all around the Yorkshire countryside.

Tom H:

So I know it quite well.

Tom H:

And I, I had what I thought was quite an exciting image

Tom H:

of, of this story playing out.

Tom H:

And I'd, I'd spent a good few months, you know, plotting it out.

Tom H:

Working out who all the characters were and I'd written a good

Tom H:

a few thousand words of it.

Tom H:

But then we went to Italy and I saw the wedding and I came back.

Tom H:

And it was, it was weird because there was part of me that thought,

Tom H:

okay, this will be my fourth book.

Tom H:

So I'm going to finish the Yorkshire book first and then I'm

Tom H:

going to come on to Lake Garda and that'll be the next one I do.

Tom H:

Cause of course I had a deadline that I needed to hit and you know, the

Tom H:

idea of completely scrapping a few months work and losing all that time.

Tom H:

Because there was no scope to move the deadline to accommodate for a new idea.

Tom H:

That just didn't seem very appealing.

Tom H:

But after, you know, a few more weeks, I just kept something in my head

Tom H:

coming back to the Italian an idea.

Tom H:

And after I say, after a few weeks, it just occurred to me to know what

Tom H:

this is, this is the stronger idea.

Tom H:

And so I ended up dropping the Yorkshire murder at the funeral idea

Tom H:

and picking up Lake Garda and I'm just going full steam ahead with that.

Tom:

Yeah.

Tom:

And I think sometimes you really want to have a lot of research when it's a real

Tom:

location and you've been there once.

Tom:

Was it then you were able to wrangle like, Oh, I need to do another trip just

Tom:

to check some things with the publishers.

Tom:

Or was it then just like, Okay, I've got that photo.

Tom:

I've been there.

Tom:

I've walked the streets and a lot of it's more in memory and Google?

Tom H:

Yeah, a bit of both.

Tom H:

I mean, I did, I did put some fairly serious thought into

Tom H:

going back for another trip.

Tom H:

But again, the time just didn't allow in the end.

Tom H:

Obviously as you do when you go on holiday, we took a ton

Tom H:

of pictures, loads of videos.

Tom H:

The place was still very fresh in my mind as well because of

Tom H:

course we'd just come back.

Tom H:

and to be honest, I, I watched a lot of YouTube videos.

Tom H:

I mean, YouTube is proving over the course of my writing career so far to

Tom H:

be the most valuable source of research.

Tom H:

I mean, there are videos on YouTube, I think people must just get GoPros and

Tom H:

just walk really slowly around places.

Tom H:

Just search on YouTube for a place you're interested in and the word

Tom H:

walk around and someone was gone and wandered around with a GoPro.

Tom H:

So I spent a lot of time watching those sort of videos of places

Tom H:

that we've been, but just again, trying to refresh them in my memory.

Tom H:

But no, it would have been nice to go back and I did think about it, but

Tom H:

I think I just thought I just need to crack on and write this thing.

Tom H:

Rather than coming up with an excuse to go on another little jaunt to

Tom H:

Italy, as nice as that would have been.

Tom:

So you were contracted for your third book.

Tom:

Uh, how long did you have from, you know, that decision to

Tom:

actually having to turn in a draft?

Tom H:

So, I turned in the draft in April.

Tom H:

So it was April of last year, so April 2023.

Tom H:

So we went to Lake Garda in May, towards the end of May, and then as I

Tom H:

say, there was probably a good month of wrestling with the Garda idea and

Tom H:

carrying on with the Yorkshire idea.

Tom H:

So it's probably around July that I actually decided I was

Tom H:

going to shift to Lake Garda.

Tom H:

But as I say, you know, there was no, there was no story or anything like that.

Tom H:

It was just the concepts.

Tom H:

It was just the idea of a wedding in a castle in Lake Garda.

Tom H:

Um, there was no characters, there was no, no murder victim, no kind

Tom H:

of motive, none of that, all of that needed to be worked out.

Tom H:

I mean, I'm sure we'll get into this, but like one of the few things I really

Tom H:

need to know before I can write one of these things is, is who the killer is.

Tom H:

Like I know there are some fantastic crime writers who just set off and see

Tom H:

where the book takes them and they kind of solve the crime while they're writing it.

Tom H:

I don't work like that.

Tom H:

I need to know who, who is going to be unmasked as the killer.

Tom H:

So it's probably around July that I decided, okay, I'm going to change and

Tom H:

I'm going to do Lake Garda instead.

Tom H:

And then there was a good month or two of just working out what

Tom H:

actually is the story here.

Tom H:

Like who these characters, whose wedding is it, who is being murdered and why.

Tom H:

So I probably didn't actually get properly stuck into writing

Tom H:

it until the end of that summer.

Tom H:

Then as I said, I delivered it in the following April.

Tom:

No, that's that's an amazing turnaround.

Tom:

And like you said earlier, it was the concept that initially grabbed you

Tom:

and that's where it developed from.

Tom:

And then you think about the characters that populated it.

Tom:

One thing that I really liked and really stood out for me is how well realized

Tom:

the characters and the motives were.

Tom:

And in the best sort of murder mystery sense, there's a lot of people who have

Tom:

plausible motives that could have done it.

Tom:

Is that a real fun element for you?

Tom:

Is that a real challenge coming up with all the different characters and making

Tom:

them distinct and having their own voice?

Tom H:

It is challenging.

Tom H:

I mean, it's, it's part of the genre, isn't it?

Tom H:

Um, it's just part of the fun, I suppose, of these sorts of stories.

Tom H:

I mean, the way that works for me is I, I reverse engineer my stories.

Tom H:

So, I, I usually start with like a bit of a what if, so in this case,

Tom H:

the what if was what if someone was murdered at this incredible wedding.

Tom H:

And then, I kind of backtrack a bit from there, so I'll ask,

Tom H:

okay, well whose wedding is it?

Tom H:

And once I have an idea of who the bride and the groom are,

Tom H:

I ask who's getting murdered.

Tom H:

Once I have an idea of who the murder victim is, I then think,

Tom H:

okay, well, what sort of people would this person have around them?

Tom H:

Who are their friends?

Tom H:

Who are their family?

Tom H:

Who are their colleagues?

Tom H:

Who do they work with?

Tom H:

Who are their enemies?

Tom H:

Who are their frenemies?

Tom H:

And so it comes a little bit like that.

Tom H:

And I guess the challenging thing, I suppose, is making sure everyone has

Tom H:

a believable reason to want to kill whoever it is that's been killed.

Tom H:

You know, I guess murdering someone is not exactly, it's not something you do every

Tom H:

day, but then if there's only sort of one or two people in the story who have that

Tom H:

believable reason to commit the murder, then it's not a very engaging read.

Tom H:

Cause people like to be able to read these things and, and suspect different

Tom H:

characters throughout the book, I suppose.

Tom H:

And if you're not doing that.

Tom H:

Well, I guess that's what I strive for.

Tom:

And when you're mapping out these ideas and doing the plotting,

Tom:

doing the characters, are you someone who uses a phone app?

Tom:

Are you pen and paper?

Tom:

Have you got a laptop with lots of different folders?

Tom:

How do you map out all your plotting?

Tom H:

I've become a little bit looser with this with every book.

Tom H:

So, with my first book, A Fatal Crossing, I planned it so rigidly that I actually

Tom H:

had a spreadsheet showing where each of the characters were gonna be at certain

Tom H:

times because it takes place over, I think, three or four days, that book.

Tom H:

And I had like a different tab for each day, and then within the tab I had

Tom H:

columns for, for the different suspects and I had, you know, I made a really

Tom H:

complex map of where each of them were at any given time that I could refer to.

Tom H:

But then over the course of the various different drafts and the editing process,

Tom H:

most of that went out the window.

Tom H:

So I've become a little bit looser.

Tom H:

I think I need to have an idea of who the characters are.

Tom H:

So every character has to have kind of a want and a need and they have to have

Tom H:

something kind of interesting about them.

Tom H:

And I need to know, as I say, who the murderer is, so I can build up to that.

Tom H:

And I need to know the mechanics of how the murder has taken place.

Tom H:

Usually I have a few touch points along the way so I need to, I need

Tom H:

to know when these certain important clues are going to be found, or if

Tom H:

there's going to be a big kind of game changing reveal or confession.

Tom H:

I need to know sort of roughly where in the story that's going to be, like is

Tom H:

it going to be about halfway through, three quarters of the way through?

Tom H:

But, you know, once I have that idea of those touch points and I have a good

Tom H:

idea of who these characters are, I just sort of trust myself to fill in the

Tom H:

blanks and trust myself to get from one kind of important moment to the next.

Tom H:

And fill in those spaces as I go.

Tom H:

And sometimes, you know, as I say, with the first book, I

Tom H:

tried to be very, very rigid.

Tom H:

Like I had a word document with chapter one and then three bullet points

Tom H:

as to what happens that chapter, chapter two, three bullet points.

Tom H:

Whereas now I just kind of go for it.

Tom H:

And sometimes that means I end up getting halfway through and realizing,

Tom H:

Oh, actually it'd be more interesting if this happened at this point of the book

Tom H:

instead of this point of the book or I get two thirds of the way through and

Tom H:

I think, ah, what if this character's motivation was actually this and not this?

Tom H:

And you have to go back and tweak it again.

Tom H:

So I do quite a lot of tweaking as I go.

Tom H:

You hear about some writers kind of threshing out a first draft of in

Tom H:

two or three months, that's not me.

Tom H:

I mean, for context with Lake Garda, when I sent it off to my editor, in

Tom H:

April, there was a chapter in that draft that didn't exist when I woke up that

Tom H:

morning, you know, so I am, yeah, so I am genuinely, I'm, I'm a, I'm a tweaker.

Tom H:

I really do tweak as I go along, rather than kind of splurging out

Tom H:

this big draft and then spending however many months, you know, going

Tom H:

back and rewriting it and editing it.

Tom H:

The draft I send off usually is the first complete draft.

Tom H:

Yeah.

Tom:

And it's unapologetically, you know, a classic murder mystery.

Tom:

You know, it's a fixed location.

Tom:

There's almost a ticking clock element to it as well.

Tom:

And so it has a very classic timelessness to it.

Tom:

Is that the genre that you want to build your brand around?

Tom:

Is that just something that you've obsessively read before writing,

Tom:

or is it just for the moment, it's murder mysteries, but you want

Tom:

to branch out into other things.

Tom:

Maybe just down the line?

Tom H:

It's a funny one, really.

Tom H:

So growing up, for example, my favorite cartoon when I was a kid was Scooby Doo.

Tom H:

So I, I really enjoyed all these stories that revolved around the idea of this

Tom H:

big cast of characters and a bit of a whodunit and, you know, a rug pull at the

Tom H:

end and a reveal of who the baddie is.

Tom H:

And then when I got a little bit older, my favorite books were the

Tom H:

Harry Potter series, which, you know, if you look at the first three

Tom H:

or four of those in particular are perfectly good murder mysteries.

Tom H:

They have a cast of suspects, they have clues of a big reveal

Tom H:

of the baddie at the end.

Tom H:

So, I first tried to write A Fatal Crossing when I was about 15 or 16,

Tom H:

and the idea was a play that I could put on with some mates at school.

Tom H:

And it wasn't going to be a whodunit at that point.

Tom H:

I don't think there was actually a murder in it at all.

Tom H:

It was going to be about a stolen painting, and it was going to be more

Tom H:

of a kind of a crime comedy caper.

Tom H:

I was watching a lot of Jeeves and Worcester and Frasier and that stuff.

Tom H:

So that was, that was the tone.

Tom H:

It was all going to be on a cruise ship, just like happens in the book.

Tom H:

And it was still going to be in the 1920s and they're still

Tom H:

on their way to New York.

Tom H:

Um, I think the painting was going to end up rolled up inside an umbrella

Tom H:

or something silly like that.

Tom H:

So I wrote the first half of that play, and then my friends and I all finished

Tom H:

school and went off to university.

Tom H:

And the play obviously didn't happen.

Tom H:

And then the idea for the story lived on a memory stick for, for quite a few years.

Tom H:

And then when I was 24, I was given for Christmas a copy of

Tom H:

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

Tom H:

I'm A huge, huge Horowitz fan.

Tom H:

Like I grew up reading the Alex Ryder books.

Tom H:

I read the Diamond Brothers stories, which was probably some of my, I

Tom H:

mean, the Diamond Brothers, for those who don't know, cause I know they

Tom H:

aren't quite as famous as Alex Ryder.

Tom H:

They were about like a hapless PI and his really intelligent kid brother.

Tom H:

So that was probably my first detective stories that I read.

Tom H:

But anyway, so I got given this copy of Magpie Murders for Christmas, and

Tom H:

that is a book of two halves, and the first half is this very Agatha Christie

Tom H:

esque Midsomer Murders y, uh, the vicar is murdered on the day of the local

Tom H:

vegetable show, that kind of vibe.

Tom H:

And I'd not actually read any Agatha Christie at that point,

Tom H:

so this was my first proper taste of That sort of golden age vibe.

Tom H:

I remember reading it and just thinking, Oh my goodness, this is what a fatal

Tom H:

crossing could be with some adjustments.

Tom H:

If we do it as a novel, obviously, instead of a play, if we try and make it a little

Tom H:

less funny, because I tried to make it a comedy, which definitely didn't work.

Tom H:

I've still got some of those pages and it is not so funny.

Tom H:

And if we sort of make it slightly more of a murder mystery.

Tom H:

So if we add a murder in there somewhere, then this is what

Tom H:

a fatal crossing could be.

Tom H:

And that was when I went out and I picked up a big stack of Agatha Christie novels.

Tom H:

So I know you hear a lot of writers who, who write this sort of thing, talk about

Tom H:

just plowing through Agatha Christie's when they were kids, like reading them

Tom H:

all in the summer, you know, that's the sort of thing you hear quite often.

Tom H:

This was my first taste of Agatha Christie when I was about 25 and I

Tom H:

was, I was writing a fatal crossing.

Tom H:

So I wrote it and I signed a one book deal for that book.

Tom H:

And then it did relatively well and I was offered a deal for a

Tom H:

couple more murder mysteries.

Tom H:

And I said, yes, cause I had a fantastic time writing it.

Tom H:

And that deal yielded the murder game and murder on Lake Garda.

Tom H:

And same again, my publisher said, do you fancy doing a couple more?

Tom H:

And I said, yes, absolutely.

Tom H:

Cause I'm still loving writing them.

Tom H:

So I'm very much enjoying writing the murder mysteries, but it was never,

Tom H:

I don't know, I remember I always wanted to be a writer when I was a kid.

Tom H:

I can remember writing lots of little stories of my own at home about, you

Tom H:

know, characters in books and films that I'd I was enjoying at the time.

Tom H:

I can remember being, it was even my last year of primary school or first year of

Tom H:

high school, one or the other, but you had to stand in front of the class and

Tom H:

give a sort of five minute presentation on where you wanted to be when you're older.

Tom H:

And I said, I wanted to be a writer.

Tom H:

So the ambition was always there, but I don't think if you'd gone back and told

Tom H:

me I would be writing whodunit, I, I don't think I'd have seen that coming.

Tom H:

I think that would probably have come as a surprise, but I'm enjoying it.

Tom H:

And, um, Yeah, of course.

Tom H:

I've got ideas of other things I'd like to do.

Tom H:

So I've got an idea for a ghost story that I'd really like to write at some point.

Tom H:

I quite enjoy a lot of sci fi, so at some point I might want to

Tom H:

have a go at something like that.

Tom H:

There are definitely other things I'd like to do, but I think I'm always

Tom H:

going to have a murder mystery up my sleeve just because I'm, I'm really

Tom H:

enjoying writing them, genuinely I am.

Tom H:

And I'm very lucky to get to do it and, you know, I have ideas.

Tom H:

I mean, I'm working on a fourth one right now.

Tom H:

I've got an idea for a fifth one.

Tom H:

As long as I've got an idea for one, and I'm going to keep doing them.

Tom:

And so with the one that you're working on at the moment,

Tom:

are you still in the plotting stage?

Tom:

Are you sort of now drafting it out?

Tom:

How far along are you?

Tom H:

So, I delivered the first draft of it to my editor just before Christmas.

Tom H:

And she's read it and we've, we've had a chat about where it kind of needs to go.

Tom H:

So, I mean, the process, I guess, for those who don't know, is you

Tom H:

get like an edits letter, which is, I guess it's like an essay.

Tom H:

The ones I usually get are between two and 3000 words.

Tom H:

And, you know, it contains a lot of detail about what's working and what's not.

Tom H:

And you go away and you have a proper sort of formal round of editing that

Tom H:

you have to then deliver by a deadline.

Tom H:

So we're not there yet.

Tom H:

We've had a chat, my editor and I about sort of initial thoughts and

Tom H:

where I think we should try and adjust it when it comes to editing properly.

Tom H:

So I'm playing around with it at the moment and I'm just gearing up

Tom H:

for that edits letter to come and for the editing to start properly.

Tom H:

But it's, yeah, it exists and, um, and I'm, I'm quite excited about it.

Tom:

And when you're in the middle of a writing session, drafting,

Tom:

before it's, uh, sent off.

Tom:

Are you someone who makes sure to write every day?

Tom:

Do you have like set hours, and do you have any sort of targets either

Tom:

of just how many hours in front of the desk that you are there writing or a

Tom:

number of chapters or a word count?

Tom:

How do you structure a writing day?

Tom H:

So I try and keep business hours.

Tom H:

So I'm at my desk by eight most mornings and I, I work through

Tom H:

till about sort of five or six.

Tom H:

I guess for a few different reasons, one of which is I like to be online when, I

Tom H:

guess, the people I work with are online.

Tom H:

So if I need to talk to my agent or, well, usually it's if they need to talk to me.

Tom H:

Um, if, you know, so if my agent needs to get in touch or my editor or my publicist

Tom H:

or anyone like that, I like to, I like to feel like I'm online when they are.

Tom H:

I like to be online at the same time my wife is online so that

Tom H:

I'm offline at the same time.

Tom H:

I just, I feel like if I'm working in the evenings and the weekends and she's

Tom H:

not working, that doesn't sound like a great recipe for a happy marriage.

Tom H:

Um, so yeah.

Tom H:

And again, I like a bit of structure as well.

Tom H:

So I think just working Monday to Friday, more or less nine to five.

Tom H:

So I'm, I'm writing full time now.

Tom H:

Um, I stepped away from my day job about 18 months ago and those

Tom H:

first few months, the total lack of structure really boggled my mind.

Tom H:

Cause I mean, I worked in an office, I worked Mondays, Friday nights five.

Tom H:

And um, I was just used to, you know, on Monday mornings we have this meeting.

Tom H:

On Tuesday afternoons, we have this call with this client and you know,

Tom H:

all of that going out the window.

Tom H:

I've genuinely, I found most days I woke up and I just didn't

Tom H:

have a clue what day it was.

Tom H:

And I just found having that structure of, okay, I am online.

Tom H:

Um, during business hours, that is what I'm working, that is when

Tom H:

I'm writing, I take weekends off.

Tom H:

I just found that really helped me.

Tom H:

I don't know, keep my head straight, I suppose.

Tom H:

Um, but in terms of daily requirements, I mean, I try and get between

Tom H:

one and 2000 words done a day.

Tom H:

As I say, I'm quite slow.

Tom H:

I'm not someone who just blasts out a first draft of in a couple of

Tom H:

months, writes 5, 000 words a day and then goes back and rewrites it.

Tom H:

I do tinker with it as I go along and I do edit as I'm going along and I might

Tom H:

chuck out 5000 words that I wrote last week, you know, because I've woken up

Tom H:

on Monday and realized actually, you know, that section just doesn't work.

Tom H:

And, as we said earlier, that draft I sent to my editor genuinely had an entire

Tom H:

chapter in it that I wrote that morning.

Tom H:

It was a short chapter saying it was only a thousand words long, and I find

Tom H:

I'm quite, I get into it quite slowly and I speed up a bit as I go along.

Tom H:

So I take quite a lot of time finding my way into the story and just working out

Tom H:

you know, how is it going to be linear or is it going to have a couple of timelines?

Tom H:

Is it going to be from just one character's perspective or are we going

Tom H:

to have a few different narrators?

Tom H:

Uh, what point in the story do I start?

Tom H:

So I mean, murder in Lake Garda, there was about a 10, 000 word section that

Tom H:

took place in the UK before traveling out to Italy, which, you know, that was

Tom H:

the first thing I wrote and it ended up going because we just didn't need it.

Tom H:

I, you know, I, I do aim for sort of a minimum of a thousand a day.

Tom H:

I don't usually do more than 2000 because I say, it's just not how I do it.

Tom H:

I'm quite slow and steady.

Tom H:

And it seems to be working so far.

Tom:

And when you finish for the day, are you someone who likes to

Tom:

leave on a cliffhanger bit so you can pick it up in the morning?

Tom:

Do you want like a very closed off, I have completed that scene or that section?

Tom:

I've heard mythically, I've never actually interviewed anyone

Tom:

who's done it, but leaves it mid sentence to carry on the next day.

Tom:

How do you like to leave a writing session?

Tom H:

Yeah, mid sentence is a bit extreme, but I do find it quite helpful

Tom H:

to leave it sort of mid chapter.

Tom H:

It's something I think I heard on a podcast like this about this time

Tom H:

last year, they had that idea of leaving a chapter midway through.

Tom H:

Because you then don't have that problem of the blank page

Tom H:

when you come back the next day.

Tom H:

It gives you a bit of a run up, I suppose, if you just pick up something that you're

Tom H:

working on the previous day, rather than trying to start a completely new chapter.

Tom H:

So yeah, usually it's midway through a chapter and then that's where I'll

Tom H:

pick it up, I find that quite helpful.

Tom H:

But no mid sentences, I mean, maybe it'll work.

Tom H:

Maybe I'll try it tomorrow, who knows?

Tom:

There you go.

Tom:

And when you pick it up, do you just read the last few sentences just

Tom:

to remind yourself where you were?

Tom:

Or do you actually reread the whole thing you wrote the previous day?

Tom:

Because you said you tinkered, so I wasn't sure, like, how much you go back.

Tom H:

I guess it varies.

Tom H:

Like, I mean, if I wrote a chapter the previous day that I know wasn't as

Tom H:

good as it can be and needs some work, then maybe I'll go back and do that.

Tom H:

If it's just a case of picking up where I left off, then I'll probably

Tom H:

read what I wrote of that chapter.

Tom H:

I mean, my chapters tend to be quite short.

Tom H:

I mean, most of my chapters are usually somewhere between 1, 500

Tom H:

and two and a half thousand words.

Tom H:

So we're not dealing with like 5, 000 word chapters.

Tom H:

So if I've written half a chapter and then logged off for the day, that's

Tom H:

probably only about a thousand words for me to go back in and reread.

Tom H:

And I think as well it's quite helpful just to orient yourself in the chapter and

Tom H:

in, in the scene and Just remind yourself exactly what it is that's going on.

Tom H:

Because otherwise you might end up going and writing something that's completely

Tom H:

unrelated to the first half of the chapter you wrote the previous day.

Tom H:

So yeah, usually I'll go back and read something just to

Tom H:

get back into the headspace.

Tom:

Do you ever have days where you come down and it's just really uninspired and

Tom:

how do you push through that feeling?

Tom H:

Yeah.

Tom H:

I mean, of course.

Tom H:

Some days you do come down and it just doesn't work.

Tom H:

Sometimes I'll just try and push through.

Tom H:

I mean, if there's a deadline coming up, then you kind of

Tom H:

just have to push through.

Tom H:

Um, sometimes, I'll take myself for a walk.

Tom H:

I mean, I know it's really simple, but genuinely I did it today, like

Tom H:

I was struggling with something, just a small plot hole, um, that

Tom H:

I've come across in the new one.

Tom H:

And I took myself for a walk, put my phone on silent, didn't take my headphones

Tom H:

to listen to any music or anything, just walked around with the problem.

Tom H:

Within 20 minutes, I'd solved it.

Tom H:

That happens quite a lot.

Tom H:

Um, my thinking walks as I call them, my wife quite often, if I'm getting

Tom H:

sort of annoyed with something, my wife will send me on a thinking walk.

Tom H:

And say, go and have a thinking walk, and it usually solves the problem.

Tom H:

Sometimes I would just accept it's not working that day and I might

Tom H:

just go and do something else.

Tom H:

Like I might go work on another project or I might just take myself off

Tom H:

and, and do something else entirely.

Tom H:

Like I might watch an hour of something on TV and just clear my head.

Tom H:

Sometimes it's indicative of a larger problem, I suppose.

Tom H:

I mean, one of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard on how to

Tom H:

deal with writer's block is that writer's block is what happens when

Tom H:

you're trying to push the story in a direction it doesn't want to go.

Tom H:

So if you're really, really having to force something and you've been struggling

Tom H:

with a fit for a few days, then taking your mind off, it doesn't help or

Tom H:

going on a thinking walk doesn't help.

Tom H:

Then that's usually when I stop and start to question, okay, is

Tom H:

this actually, is this just wrong?

Tom H:

Like, am I trying to do something here that just doesn't fit?

Tom H:

And um, sometimes it's a case of backtracking and trying to work out,

Tom H:

okay, well, does this need to come out?

Tom H:

Or does this need to change?

Tom H:

Like the 10, 000 words section in, in Lake Garda in the UK, that we talked

Tom H:

about a minute ago that I took out.

Tom H:

That was similar.

Tom H:

You know, I was going back over that, doing a bit of tweaking and tinkering

Tom H:

as I do to just try and make it work.

Tom H:

And I think that took me a couple of weeks to come to terms with,

Tom H:

just because of the number of words I was considering getting rid of.

Tom H:

But yeah, after a couple of weeks, I found myself saying this

Tom H:

isn't working, it's got to go.

Tom H:

And sometimes, sometimes that's the answer.

Tom:

Well, they say, kill your darlings, don't they?

Tom:

That's the phrase.

Tom:

Um, but yeah, the opening I found was a real good hook.

Tom:

I felt that it really set the scene brilliantly and you're there and

Tom:

it's just, it's a really nice setup.

Tom:

So, I can't imagine it not sort of starting how it starts.

Tom:

So that's really amazing that it had like that ah, prequel element.

Tom H:

Wonderful.

Tom H:

Thank you.

Tom:

I would say it's the right decision.

Tom:

Having not read it, but how it starts now, I think like you say, the story

Tom:

goes in the way it needs to go.

Tom:

And I think that opening setup works really well.

Tom:

Now, another thing I want to sort of talk about with struggling through

Tom:

writing is, uh, imposter syndrome.

Tom:

And I know it's a thing that a lot of people can feel at some point through

Tom:

their writing process is that imposter syndrome, that they're a terrible writer.

Tom:

Is that something that you've ever felt and how did you deal with it?

Tom H:

Yeah, I mean, quite regularly, I suppose.

Tom H:

I mean, I'd say, you know, a couple of days a week, I will look at the manuscript

Tom H:

and think this is the worst thing that has ever been written by anyone ever.

Tom H:

This is just, you know, you do look at it and just resent it almost and

Tom H:

think what's an absolute load of crap.

Tom H:

But then you work through it and then you have days when you look

Tom H:

at it and you think, actually, this is quite good, you know?

Tom H:

And you feel pleased of how it's coming together and it can be

Tom H:

on and off like Monday can be a really crap day and Tuesday can

Tom H:

be a, oh, this is quite good day.

Tom H:

And then Wednesday, it will be crap again.

Tom H:

And then Thursday, it will be better than it's ever been.

Tom H:

Then Friday, it will be God maybe I need to call this off.

Tom H:

Because this is, you know, so you, you can have weeks like that.

Tom H:

And I think I probably didn't get it so much with a Fatal Crossing because

Tom H:

that was, that book was a hobby.

Tom H:

There was no agent or editor waiting for it.

Tom H:

And while I hoped it would be published, you know, it was, it was a hope, you know,

Tom H:

I didn't actually think it would happen.

Tom H:

So there wasn't a sense of imposter syndrome of a Fatal Crossing .With the

Tom H:

murder game that was slightly different.

Tom H:

Because of course there was a publisher waiting for it then.

Tom H:

And people had been buying and reading a fatal crossing and quite enjoying it.

Tom H:

So there was a pressure to deliver something that people would

Tom H:

hopefully buy and enjoy again.

Tom H:

And Murder on Lake Garda, even more so because now even more people have,

Tom H:

you know, I got the wonderful update.

Tom H:

I think I put it on Twitter towards the end of last year that since the

Tom H:

paperback came out in the summer, we'd sold 50, 000 copies of it.

Tom H:

The Murder Game.

Tom:

Oh wow.

Tom H:

Exactly.

Tom H:

That was my response.

Tom H:

So, you know, the thought that some of those people might have enjoyed

Tom H:

that book enough to go and buy Murder in Lake Garda when it comes out.

Tom H:

Yeah, of course, there's a, there's a huge amount of pressure to deliver

Tom H:

something that people are going to enjoy and find some value in.

Tom H:

And, you know, I think that is probably what drives the, uh, the days when

Tom H:

you look at the manuscripts and you think this just isn't good enough.

Tom H:

I mean, for me, certainly, it's just a case of trying to push those voices

Tom H:

deep down and just rest assured in the knowledge that when I wake up

Tom H:

tomorrow, I might look at it and think, actually, do you know what?

Tom H:

I didn't need to feel that way because looking at this now, it's perfectly good.

Tom H:

And I think as well, part of it for me is trying not to think

Tom H:

about how other authors work.

Tom H:

So I know that for some authors, it's really helpful to, to kind

Tom H:

of meet up and to compare how many thousands of words you've written

Tom H:

that day, or, you know, just to talk about other people's processes.

Tom H:

I find my problem is I compare myself.

Tom H:

I find it very like.

Tom H:

interesting to listen to other people.

Tom H:

And sometimes I will pick up something that genuinely helps me.

Tom H:

So like we were talking about earlier with the leaving a chapter halfway through,

Tom H:

um, and picking it up the next day.

Tom H:

But if I'm having like a bad day, a day where I'm looking at the

Tom H:

manuscripts and thinking, I am no good at this, what am I doing?

Tom H:

Then I try and stay away from Twitter and places where I know people are going

Tom H:

to be talking about what they're doing, because those are going to be for days

Tom H:

when I'll look at it and I'll think, Oh my goodness, this person says they've written

Tom H:

two and a half thousand words today.

Tom:

Yeah.

Tom H:

What am I doing?

Tom H:

What, what gives me any kind of, uh, authority to, to think that

Tom H:

I could, I could write a book.

Tom H:

Um, so I think it's just a case of on the days when I am looking at it and

Tom H:

I'm thinking this, this is not working.

Tom H:

I know I need to sort of insulate myself a little bit and just get my head down

Tom H:

and just keep going on the work and trust that it, it is going to come together.

Tom H:

Because, I've done this three times now and experience now shows that

Tom H:

it does come together, you know?

Tom H:

But of course, imposter syndrome, when you know that there are people out there

Tom H:

reading something that you've created and enjoying it and occasionally you

Tom H:

get a message on Instagram, someone saying, I'm really excited to buy

Tom H:

your new book when it comes out in a few months, which is wonderful.

Tom H:

I'm very grateful, but it is impossible sometimes not to get a sense of,

Tom H:

oh, man, what if these people twig the fact that I'm, I'm just an

Tom H:

idiot making stuff up in my kitchen?

Tom H:

It's, um, yeah, so it's, it's not a constant thing.

Tom H:

For me, it is a case of days when you think this is great and days

Tom H:

when you think this is awful.

Tom H:

And people are going to be angry when they spend money on this and realize,

Tom H:

but, it's just a case of trying to stay positive and focus on those good days and

Tom H:

just trust that it will come together.

Tom H:

Because as I say, experience shows it does.

Tom:

Yeah.

Tom:

That's, that's a great answer.

Tom:

Thank you.

Tom:

And going on to editing now, you've mentioned earlier how, you're a tinkerer.

Tom:

And you like to sort of tinker as you go.

Tom:

Also I know, and I listened to an interview where you were talking

Tom:

about, the murder game, that you very much had this process where the first

Tom:

draft is just get the story down, second draft is make it readable,

Tom:

and the third draft is make it good.

Tom:

And I was just wondering, is that still the case?

Tom:

Would you say you're still kind of doing it in that three stage

Tom:

process, or is it a bit more flexible now that you're tinkering more?

Tom H:

So, with Murder on Lake Garda, and the one I'm working on at the

Tom H:

moment, I've had less time, so the deadlines have been slightly tighter.

Tom H:

And, you know, with Murder on Lake Garda, as, you know, we've got over that was

Tom H:

self induced by, by spending the first 2 3 months working on another book.

Tom H:

Um, so, I think, you know, that was probably the case with the

Tom H:

Murder game, and it's probably been less so with Lake Garda.

Tom H:

As I say, late Garda, I was tinkering with it, I was adjusting it, I was

Tom H:

throwing bits out, adding new bits in.

Tom H:

So, you know, I didn't have a complete draft until the

Tom H:

minutes I sent it to my editor.

Tom H:

But I think it probably still applies in the sense of, I still think the

Tom H:

actual, doing a proper edit on it is when a book really comes into its own.

Tom H:

I think I found that with Garda and I'm finding it now as I

Tom H:

gear up to, to edit my 4th one.

Tom H:

So yes, I'll get that 1st draft while it involves a lot of tinkering

Tom H:

and a lot of sort of work on it, adjusting it and playing around with

Tom H:

it while I'm putting it together.

Tom H:

It is just a case of putting it together.

Tom H:

And then yes, that 2nd draft when it comes to to editing it.

Tom H:

I think that is when I'm most likely to get to the end and look at it and think

Tom H:

this is something I can imagine on a shelf with a cover and, and people buying.

Tom H:

So yeah, I think that's probably still fair to say.

Tom:

Okay.

Tom:

That's good.

Tom:

And when you finished it in isolation, who's the first person to read it next?

Tom:

Does it go straight to your agent, your editor, your, your wife has a pass.

Tom:

Who reads it first after you've finished?

Tom H:

So, with Garda and the new one, it has been my editor.

Tom H:

Again, because of time so, in an ideal world, it would go to my agent first, and

Tom H:

he would make sure it's, it's kind of up to scratch before it goes to my editor.

Tom H:

But again, self induced of Lake Garda, I lost three months at the beginning, and

Tom H:

you know, the deadline was the deadline.

Tom H:

It couldn't be moved, and I finished it.

Tom H:

That first draft, as we say, a few minutes before the deadline.

Tom H:

So, um, yeah, so it's been my headset and it's been the same with the fourth one.

Tom H:

So yeah, I sent it to her shortly before Christmas.

Tom H:

And again, I started writing that one in June.

Tom H:

So that was another pretty speedy turnaround for me.

Tom H:

So yeah, it was a case of writing it right up until the minute and sending it off

Tom H:

and she was the first person that goes to.

Tom H:

So my, my wife does like to read them as well.

Tom H:

I do usually stick them on a Kindle and she reads them while

Tom H:

my editor is reading them.

Tom H:

So they kind of read them at the same time, but yeah, my editor is,

Tom H:

is the first person that goes to.

Tom H:

Yeah.

Tom:

And is it the same editor that you had since the murder game?

Tom:

Or is it right from the Fatal Crossing?

Tom:

When did this editor sort of come on?

Tom H:

Yeah, right from Fatal Crossing.

Tom H:

So it's my, my editor, Emily.

Tom H:

So she's been my editor on all of them and she is excellent.

Tom H:

picks out all the things that need changing and has a very keen eye that

Tom H:

I'm, I'm very grateful for, and it's been very important to making sure

Tom H:

those books are as good as they are.

Tom:

Yeah, I feel that editors are really the unsung heroes and it is a partnership.

Tom:

Because they really do help you bring your voice to the fore and

Tom:

get the story that you want to tell.

Tom:

Uh, With a good editor at least.

Tom:

And before you were writing, uh, you were a copy editor?

Tom H:

So I worked for a PR agency, public relations agency.

Tom H:

So I was doing a lot of different things.

Tom H:

I was doing kind of press relations.

Tom H:

I was doing social media.

Tom H:

I was doing a bit of event management, but yes, a lot of copywriting.

Tom H:

So the copywriting was, was really what I got into it for.

Tom H:

I mean, we talked already when I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer.

Tom H:

And when I was in uni, I was coming to the end of my degree.

Tom H:

I studied English language.

Tom H:

I was looking at roles that would let me write for a living.

Tom H:

And I thought copywriting might be a good sort of route to go down.

Tom H:

And I knew that if I got a job in a PR agency, I'd spend a

Tom H:

lot of time doing copywriting.

Tom:

So has that made you quite resilient to editors notes?

Tom:

Or is it still a hit where you need a stiff drink, maybe another

Tom:

shot of whiskey before you reflect?

Tom:

Or is it just like, great, give me feedback and this will

Tom:

help the manuscript get better.

Tom:

Like, how do you react when you first get those notes?

Tom H:

I mean, there's never a bad reason to have a shot of whiskey.

Tom H:

I would say, um, no, I I'd say it has made me pretty resilient.

Tom H:

I think it's more learning how to take that kind of feedback and learning

Tom H:

not to take things personally and learning when to push back on things.

Tom H:

Cause yeah, everything I wrote in the agency would go through a manager first,

Tom H:

usually a kind of an account manager, and then it would go to the client and there

Tom H:

would always be a few rounds of feedback.

Tom H:

I mean, I worked in PR agencies for about 8 years, so I had quite

Tom H:

a few years of learning how to, to take that and deal with it and just

Tom H:

respond to it in a very practical way.

Tom H:

And I think that has absolutely helped.

Tom H:

I mean it's interesting.

Tom H:

It's similar, but different, I suppose, with a book, because I mean,

Tom H:

it's, it's on a much bigger scale.

Tom H:

It's something you are more personally and emotionally invested in.

Tom H:

And something I try to always do now when we talked a bit about

Tom H:

the edits letter and what that looks like when it comes through.

Tom H:

And I make myself just sit with it for a couple of days before I do anything.

Tom H:

Because quite often I will read the edits letter and I'll

Tom H:

think, not sure about that.

Tom H:

Or I'll read a comment and go, I haven't quite understood that.

Tom H:

Maybe I need to give him a call and we'll talk about this.

Tom H:

And, you know, I get to the end and I usually sort of feel a bit like,

Tom H:

I'm not sure about a lot of this.

Tom H:

And then I sit with it for a day or 2 and I wake up and I think, bloody

Tom H:

hell, everything in that edits letter is absolutely, completely spot on.

Tom H:

So yes, I think that is, that is kind of part of my process, I guess, if

Tom H:

you like, is I need to sit with it and just ruminate on it and just think.

Tom H:

I mean, a big part of the editing process for me is just thinking.

Tom H:

It's just sitting with the problems going on those thinking walks, just letting it

Tom H:

sit in your head and working out what's.

Tom H:

the answer to these problems might be.

Tom H:

But yeah, to answer your question, working at a copywriting role for eight years

Tom H:

or so, definitely gave me some skills that I think has helped with the books.

Tom:

And just moving a bit further into the end and wrap up of your stories.

Tom:

Because like I say, with Lake Garda, you finished it in April.

Tom:

It's now coming out in January and you start the following book,

Tom:

June, July, and you now just put it in for the edits in December.

Tom:

So there's very tight sort of turnarounds.

Tom:

When you finish a project, like Lake Garda was like signed off, okay, it's

Tom:

going for the printers and all of that.

Tom:

Is there a sense of relief of like, I've done it, great, on to the next one?

Tom:

Or is there an element of grief of you've, you know, created these characters,

Tom:

like Robin's, like a really nice central character, these relationships.

Tom:

And don't want to spoil the ending, but you can feel that there's a

Tom:

continuation of their story, which is up for the reader, which I like.

Tom:

So is it a relief to finish or is it grief to finish?

Tom H:

It's not grief as such.

Tom H:

I mean, it's, I guess it's a little bit of relief because.

Tom H:

Yeah, I'd say I start off quite slowly and I speed up and by the time I'm

Tom H:

sort of in a month or two of the deadline, I mean, we talked to me about

Tom H:

my working hours, all kind of notion of working hours go out the window.

Tom H:

And it's, it's evenings and it's weekends and it's just frantically

Tom H:

trying to get the last sort of chunk of this first draft done.

Tom H:

So, yeah, usually there is a little bit of a, a sense of relief just that it is

Tom H:

done and it's out in the world now, it's going on to that sort of next stage.

Tom H:

There's, I guess it's a little bit of sadness to, to leave those characters

Tom H:

behind, especially if there's one that you get quite attached to.

Tom H:

Like, I really enjoyed being in the world of Murder on Lake Garda.

Tom H:

It was, it was just a fun place to be and to be writing about.

Tom H:

And as you say, Robin, I'm really glad you liked Robin as a character.

Tom H:

I Robin might be my favorite of the kind of protagonists that I've written.

Tom H:

Um, and I think that the villain, if you like, or the villains of

Tom H:

this story are some of my favorites.

Tom H:

So yeah, it's a bit of a shame to leave them behind.

Tom H:

But usually I end up deciding an idea for my next book, uh, sort

Tom H:

of a few months before I finish.

Tom H:

Usually a really inconvenient moment when I'm head down and really need

Tom H:

to be focusing on finishing the book I'm currently working on.

Tom H:

That is when I start getting excited about an idea for the next book.

Tom H:

So, usually it's a sense of excitement because I'm thinking to myself, Ah,

Tom H:

thank goodness, I can crack on with this new book that I've been wanting

Tom H:

to write for a few months now, and I really want to get stuck into.

Tom H:

So, yes, there is usually a little bit of sadness, maybe a little bit

Tom H:

of relief, but more than anything, I'm, I'm thinking, right, it's time

Tom H:

to get started on something new.

Tom H:

And that's always very exciting.

Tom:

And, yeah, I'm really glad that Robin's one of your

Tom:

favourite characters as well.

Tom:

With Anthony Horowitz and with Agatha Christie and referencing

Tom:

Harry Potter, they're all series.

Tom:

And in Murder Mystery, having a central character solving multiple

Tom:

mysteries, is that something that appeals to you in the future?

Tom:

Because these are all great standalones.

Tom:

But is there that temptation and have you started developing one just in

Tom:

the background, just simmering away?

Tom:

Or is that something that you're not interested in?

Tom H:

So, I mean, my take on this is that to have a series, I need a character

Tom H:

who can develop over that series.

Tom H:

I need a character who justifies multiple stories to tell

Tom H:

their own story as a person.

Tom H:

You know, it's all very well having a load of lovely crimes for them to solve,

Tom H:

but also what about them as characters?

Tom H:

I think one of the best examples at the moment.

Tom H:

I've just finished reading the Ink Black Heart the Strike books and

Tom H:

that, yeah, the, the relationship between Strike and Robin, that is what

Tom H:

people come back to those books for.

Tom H:

Like, the crimes are great, but people come back to see these characters and

Tom H:

their lives and what's going to happen for them next, away from the murder mysteries.

Tom H:

And I think I would totally be open to a series once I hit on a

Tom H:

character who I think justifies having that multi book story.

Tom H:

Um, so I think it will happen one day.

Tom H:

What I quite like about the standalones for now is that it gives you a

Tom H:

totally blank canvas with each book.

Tom H:

You can go wherever you want in the world.

Tom H:

Any time period, any place.

Tom H:

I like discovering these new characters of every book.

Tom H:

You know, like this character of Robin, we won't see her

Tom H:

again, this is her story now.

Tom H:

But also I've enjoyed spending that time and I, I like an ending as well.

Tom H:

I really like getting to the end of a book and, you know, as you say,

Tom H:

we leave it not quite ambiguous, but there is the hint that their, their

Tom H:

story as people is going to continue.

Tom H:

And the reader can kind of do with that what they will.

Tom H:

And I like that.

Tom H:

Personally, I think it's a little bit easier to get emotionally

Tom H:

invested in these characters, when you get to the end and you're

Tom H:

like, right, this is your story.

Tom H:

This is your lot, do with it what you will.

Tom H:

There is no, Oh, but maybe in the next book, they'll reconcile

Tom H:

or they'll fall out or whatever.

Tom H:

This is your story.

Tom H:

And I like being able to sit and just process that.

Tom H:

And I think it makes me think a little bit more deeply about what

Tom H:

it is that has happened to these characters over the course of the

Tom H:

books to know that this is their story.

Tom H:

There is no next time for these guys or to be continued.

Tom H:

It's a case of this is what's happened to them.

Tom H:

This is the people they are now versus the people who are

Tom H:

at the beginning of this book.

Tom H:

And that's your lot.

Tom H:

So, so the standalones are working for me quite well at the moment.

Tom H:

And, As I say, I like going to all these different locations.

Tom H:

Garda was very, very different to the Devon hotel in the murder game, which

Tom H:

was different again to the cruise ship, which believe me is very different

Tom H:

to what I'm doing for book four, and what I'm planning to do for book five.

Tom H:

So I, I'm enjoying these kind of globe trotting, different

Tom H:

locations for each one.

Tom H:

So maybe there will be a series one day.

Tom H:

It's just, it's hitting on that character.

Tom:

Sure.

Tom:

Now final two questions.

Tom:

It's my belief that writers continue to grow and develop their writing

Tom:

with each story that they write.

Tom:

Was there anything in particular that you learned from writing

Tom:

Murder on Lake Garda that you're now applying to your latest project?

Tom H:

Being Open to getting rid of things, I suppose.

Tom H:

I know we've talked about it a couple of times already, but that that 10, 000 word

Tom H:

chunk that I threw out at the beginning.

Tom H:

It was interesting because it really helps me get to know who

Tom H:

some of these characters were.

Tom H:

I mean, I guess I can say, because it's not spoilerific and no one's going

Tom H:

to read it anyway, because it's gone.

Tom H:

But those 10, 000 words, they were all about Robin and Toby,

Tom H:

who are two central characters in Murder in Lake Garda, meeting.

Tom H:

And it was about, you know, those chapters showed their first meeting, it showed

Tom H:

their first date, it showed, you know, the kind of beginning of their relationship.

Tom H:

Which when I was writing it, I thought you needed.

Tom H:

Because I thought you needed to see how these characters came together and you

Tom H:

needed a bit, need to see a little bit more of them as a couple to really kind

Tom H:

of buy into Robin's place in the story.

Tom H:

But you know, once I'd written a good chunk of, you know, probably

Tom H:

the rest of the book, I realized actually you don't need this.

Tom H:

This is covered elsewhere.

Tom H:

So it was helpful to write that.

Tom H:

It was a good exercise in it.

Tom:

Yeah.

Tom:

I was just thinking it's as the author, knowing that backstory really helpful.

Tom H:

Yes, exactly.

Tom H:

But then hitting delete and getting rid of that whole 10, 000 word

Tom H:

chunk was the right thing to do.

Tom H:

And it's the first time I've actually done that.

Tom H:

Like, you know, fatal crossing, the murder game, there was the odd thousand

Tom H:

words here and there that needed to go, but there was not a 10, 000 word chunk

Tom H:

that needed to be deleted from those.

Tom H:

So being brave enough to delete things, even if they're

Tom H:

kind of a little bit helpful.

Tom H:

Just recognizing what does the story need and being led by the story.

Tom H:

I think I've learned from Garda that I'm brave enough to, to do that rather

Tom H:

than to fight for something that I know shouldn't really be there.

Tom:

Oh, that's great.

Tom:

And is there one piece of advice you find yourself returning

Tom:

to with your own writing?

Tom H:

Gosh, that's a big question.

Tom H:

Um, I think it coming back to the question of the imposter syndrome and

Tom H:

the days when it's, it's all just feeling bad and you feel like you can't do

Tom H:

it or like you shouldn't be doing it.

Tom H:

I think it's just trusting in the process and just getting your

Tom H:

head down and just doing the work.

Tom H:

I try very hard to put on a good show on social media for people.

Tom H:

And to reply to all of people's comments and they say lovely things and make

Tom H:

sure I'm putting interesting things out.

Tom H:

But, you've got to knuckle down and do the work at the end of the day.

Tom H:

It's all about books, you know?

Tom H:

People come for good books and that's what people are here for.

Tom H:

So, yeah, I think just getting down and focusing on the work, you

Tom H:

know, the work has to come first.

Tom H:

The books have to come first.

Tom H:

If you aren't writing first and foremost, what are we here for?

Tom H:

So, yeah, that would probably be it.

Tom H:

Just, just getting, getting the work done.

Tom:

No, that's great.

Tom:

Well, Tom Hindle, you've been absolute pleasure.

Tom:

Thank you very much for being my guest this week.

Tom H:

Thank you for having me.

Tom H:

It's been great.

Tom:

And that was my interview with Tom Hindle.

Tom:

If you like how he talks, you should see how he writes.

Tom:

Equally good and engaging.

Tom:

And if you'd like to check out his books, I do recommend them.

Tom:

Go to your nearest bookshop and pick up a copy.

Tom:

I know it's horrible weather, but it's really good escapism

Tom:

and you won't regret it.

Tom:

If you'd like to check out his social media, then I recommend you

Tom:

follow his Instagram account, Tom.

Tom:

Hindle, where you can see his lovely youthful face and pictures of his cat.

Tom:

But a quick Google and you can find everything else.

Tom:

And that's it for this week.

Tom:

I say week, I really mean month.

Tom:

But it's my birthday in a few days and I need time to read

Tom:

the books before the interviews.

Tom:

Got some great ones lined up though.

Tom:

So until next time, stay healthy, try getting out of the house

Tom:

at least once a week, and keep writing until the world ends.

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