Name Michael Wood
Where are you from? Sheffield
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am a former journalist and currently working as a freelance proofreader, book reviewer, and novelist. I live and work in Sheffield and when I’m not writing or reading I’m spending time with my wonderful golden Labrador, Woody.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My debut novel, For Reasons Unknown, is currently doing very well and receiving great reviews. I am currently editing the second book in the series and plotting the third.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written from when I was a teenager, whether it was comedy scripts or short stories. I’m at my happiest when I’m writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first article as a journalist was published. I loved seeing my work finally in print.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I am a huge fan of crime fiction; always have been and always will be. There was no light bulb moment, I thought of the idea and went with it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write my story by hand then the first few chapters on paper. When I have enough I sit at the laptop and start typing. Then I go back to pen and paper and write the next few chapters. I can’t sit and look at a blank computer screen. I need to have notes or something to guide me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I am more interested in why people have killed rather than who has done it. The reason behind someone wanting to kill is the most important reason in their life. But is killing actually justified? Is there a reason for taking a life?
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t think so. I’m not a social commentator and I hope people want to read my book for entertainment reasons. I don’t want any of my beliefs to get in the way of a good story.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It is all thoroughly researched but the characters and the story is fictional. I enjoy researching a topic I don’t have any knowledge on so I have consulted many people who have helped me with police procedure, medical matters, pathology etc.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My protagonist, DCI Matilda Darke, is a complex character who has many mental issues, panic attacks being one of them. I have suffered with those at one point in my life, and they can be incredibly debilitating. I’ve drawn on my own experiences of those to provide as much realism as I can into her character.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I am a huge fan of Charles Dickens and first read Great Expectations when I was eight years old. It completely took over my life and I wanted to be a writer after that. I try to read Great Expectations at least once a year. It’s sublime.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Liar Liar by M J Arlidge. Though by the time this is published I’ll have probably finished and have another couple of books read too. The benefits of having insomnia is you get so much time to read.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I have a reading pile of 197 books and there are plenty of novels by debut writers in there but I haven’t got around to reading them yet. I have enjoyed Antonia Hodgson’s novels and I’d read anything Alex Marwood, Eva Dolan and Sarah Hilary wrote.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Book two in the DCI Matilda Darke series is finished and I’m currently editing that while plotting the third novel.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have a couple of very good friends who have always been supportive of my writing and my dog has been a great writing companion. He always listens yet never criticises.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I certainly hope so.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Ooh, that’s a good question. I’m going to say no, but I may wake up tomorrow and think of something I should have included in the first book. I hope not.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Reading Charles Dickens. He was a natural story teller.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Book two is set a few months after the events in book one and it is the first anniversary of James Darke’s death and the kidnapping of Carl Meagan. Obviously this is weighing on Matilda’s mind and is an unwelcome distraction from her job of investigating a double shooting.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not having enough time in the day to do it. I’d love to be writing full time. Maybe one day.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Without a doubt it is Minette Walters. She is the master of the psychological thriller in my opinion. I love all of her novels.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not at all. I live in Sheffield. My novels are set in Sheffield. I like to go to the areas where my novels are set to take photos to help me while writing but I don’t have to travel much at all. Not yet.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publishers designed the cover. I didn’t have anything to do with it. I’m thrilled with the cover to book one. I think it’s amazing.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The editing. I am terrible at editing my own work.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned never to let anyone read your work until it is finished, especially family and friends. They will offer advice and it will take over your own ideas, whether you want it to or not. My mind never switches off.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I don’t think I’m in a position to offer advice. However, always do you research, always listen to advice from the professionals and write all the times: your book, short stories, a journal, a poem, anything. Just write (and read too).
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for reading my book, and, if you loved it, leave me a five star review.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It would have been a book by Roald Dahl as I constantly read his books when I was a child but I cannot remember which one I read first. The BFG was great though.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh: I could watch Frasier and Friends on a loop. Cry: I’m not much of a crier I’m afraid. It’s been almost four years since I last cried.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
If I had access to the TARDIS I would visit Charles Dickens, ask him to sign my copy of Great Expectations then sell it on eBay. Imagine how much I’d get for that??
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I’m not having a headstone. I don’t like them.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Reading, spending time with friends, my dog, shopping for books, relaxing in coffee shops, weekends away (whenever possible).
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV: Frasier, Friends, Hannibal, Peaky Blinders, Wallander, Red Dwarf. Films: Misery, Her, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Twelve Monkeys, Vertigo, Dolores Claiborne.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Any vegetables. Black. Anything by Aqualung, Muse, The Killers.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’d love to have been a criminal psychologist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website?
If so what is it? Not yet I don’t. I’m on Facebook and Twitter though. @MichaelHWood