Where are you from
I was born and grew up in a small Oxfordshire village. I went to University in Kent then moved around various places in Oxfordshire until meeting my other half Karen and moving to her neck of the woods on the edge of the Peak District in Derbyshire.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My crime thriller Seven Daze was released by Caffeine Nights in May. The main character is Jim, a petty criminal who takes up contract killing and spectacularly messes up his first hit. The book follows his race to make ten grand in compensation for his new boss in seven days while also becoming smitten with a city worker called Charlotte.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve tried a few times over the years: when I was eighteen I had a brief attempt at a book. Then, when I was twenty five, after reading a lot of Sherlock Holmes, George Orwell and Irvine Welsh I started again, the result being a half-written Spy / British Revolution thriller. Then about five years ago, I started again and have since written about thirty short stories and three books: a comedy spy thriller, a post credit crunch dystopia, and Seven Daze.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When one of my stories was accepted for Out of the Gutter Magazine it was a turning point. I thought maybe I’ve got a chance at this.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The first book I tried writing (the Spy/Revolution one) basically came from a dream and ideas running round my head. I’d like to have another bash at re-writing it one day, but advances in mobile phone technology have since killed most of the original plot. I quite like the idea of capturing the feel of the mid 90’s – the country was struggling out of a recession and dance music was in its infancy and yet to be heavily commercialised.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I usually use third person, concentrate on one specific character and try to put humour in whenever’s relevant. I try to make the characters as realistic as possible without describing what they look like as I think readers want to create their own vision of them. I like a good twist so always try to chuck one in somewhere.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I’ve always struggled with titles. Seven Daze started as a working title that was a play on words but I never thought of anything better so it stuck. I haven’t a clue what to call the next book.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not a message no. I occasionally rant or moan about the direction society seems to be heading in, but apart from that there’s little overall message.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Hopefully a lot of it. But, I’m not and have never been a criminal so have had to rely on newspapers, books and television programs to teach me about crime. There are always going to be certain elements that are far-fetched, most books would be mundane if they described the average Joe on the street doing normal things.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No. Every character I write is made up. I do sometimes see people in a pub or walking down the street and think their mannerisms would be good to use in a character. So far though, I haven’t used any.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
1984, Filth by Irvine Welsh and A Clockwork Orange. All have influenced in different ways. Filth taught me that crime writing could be a lot more than Miss Marple. 1984 and A Clockwork Orange taught me a book could make you think about life in a different way.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Stephen King. Obviously not a mentor in that I’ve never met him, but I enjoy reading him and reading is the best way to learn how to write. His characters are so lifelike that you can’t help but be influenced by him. If I could write half as well as him I’d be happy.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Open Doors by Ian Rankin. It’s been hard to avoid knowing the plot, especially after it was televised but I’ve managed to keep myself in the dark about it. I like Ian Rankin’s style and hope that he’ll write more non-Rebus books.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I always look out for short stories from Matthew C. Funk and am looking forward to reading a novel of his one day.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m halfway through my next book. Seven Days was written through the eyes of a petty criminal but this time round I’m swapping sides for a police Detective as a main character. A world weary, slightly cynical detective investigates a series of murders trying to find not only the killers but also if there’s a link between them. Though a crime novel, it’s got more than a touch of comedy. The detective, DI Britwell, has appeared in a few of my short stories before and I’m enjoying writing him into a larger role.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Work has been very supportive. It’s been weird and humbling as I wasn’t expecting just how much support I would get. Apart from that, the online e-zines that have put up my short stories have definitely helped me meet people and get published.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d love to write full time but the reality is life costs money. Hopefully one day I’ll have a writing room overlooking a beach or whatever, but for now it’s as and when I can.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I changed the ending four times before settling on it, so I think it’s about how I want it. I did think of changing Charlotte’s name, but previous experience told me it’s difficult to pick up all the changes and best left as is.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From Seven Daze
Jim looked again. They didn’t look like killer’s eyes. Brown surrounded by bloodshot white. Pale eyelids that flickered. Shifty, nervous as hell. Yeah, they were hiding something; something dark. But they weren’t killer’s eyes.
He turned from the mirror. The bedside clock still read six fifty-five a.m. It hadn’t changed since his last look. He briefly wondered if it was broke, but digital clocks didn’t freeze or go slow. When they break, the display just blanks.
Moving, he sat on the hotel bed. Bouncy. Springs long gone from illicit overuse and age. He knew he shouldn’t be feeling like this. It was the first day of his new job for fucks sake. He should be happy. It definitely shouldn’t have made him throw up. After all, it was the chance to meet new people. The start of a new adventure.
He wondered if that was the problem with contract killing. The only new people you met, you killed.
From Untitled New Book
Britwell followed him to the cell. Someone in cell six was slurring and shouting his innocence. Britwell didn’t envy Dave his job. Night time custody sergeant, the job sounded good – the reality different. Wave upon wave of youngsters drinking themselves into oblivion then picking fights with anything that moved. Dave still had a bit of enthusiasm for the job but Britwell could see it waning. He’d give him five years before he asked for a transfer, ten before he quit and found something more worthwhile to do with his life.
Britwell waited by the oddly shaped high-heeled shoes outside the cell while Dave unlocked the door. He guessed the shoes must be specially made. Probably mail order or internet. He didn’t dare guess what else a budding transvestite could buy on the internet.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No travel at all for Seven Daze. Living in Oxfordshire then Kent taught me as much as I needed to know about Central London when I was in my teens and twenties. I used Google to double check a few things and had two people who live in London read it to spot any glaring geographical areas. My next book’s set in Derbyshire and I know the area quite well now so it should be easier.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Mark (Wills) Williams designs all Caffeine Nights covers and I think he did a fantastic job with Seven Daze, I had a basic idea of what I wanted, but he took that idea and created something very impressive.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time to sit down and write. Once I’m writing it comes out easily enough but life has a habit of getting in the way of writing time.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt that maybe some form of planning is a good idea. Jim was supposed to be a contract killer, but I couldn’t make him pull the trigger. I then had to rethink the entire book to create him as a failed assassin rather than an actual assassin. In hindsight, I created a character that wasn’t a cold blooded killer. If I’d have planned it, I probably would have picked that up.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read books. Any will do, just keep reading.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for your support. People saying good things about your work makes you want to write more.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’m sort of happy with the day job, but as I’ve got older I’ve more into gardening. Not flowers, but fruit and veg. I grow a lot of chilies in the greenhouse, and after visiting a chili farm in Devon last year, I suppose that would be my ideal job.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
I’m in the middle of setting up a website. At the moment the link feeds through to my blog, but in a month or so it will be finished. Link is http://www.charlie-wade.com
The link for Seven Daze is www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Daze-ebook/dp/B00D4BFY30/