You do a broad range of writing which includes detective novels, time travel and children’s books. A tough one, but which genre is your ‘favourite’?
All my non-childrens books are set in the past which I love as it allows me to learn more about the time in which it is based. My books are also set in real towns and cities so I get to discover what they looked like and how people lived there. So despite the different genres I see them all as ‘historical fiction’ mixed with time travel or crime. Research is the biggest part of my writing, and this is the part I love the most. However children’s books are the most rewarding – I often get children sending me drawings or photographs of themselves with the books or their pets.
You have a fascination with Whitby, where one of your characters, Detective Matthews, is based and the town features in a number of your other books including ‘Whitby’s Darkest Secret’. Tell us about how you create a real sense of time and place in your writing.
Being from Yorkshire, Whitby has always been one of my favourite places. The old town still has many of the buildings where my books are set which makes visiting all the more more special. Research is a key factor in my writing and it’s important that I am not placing something into the story that hasn’t been invented yet. I also adore the Victorian photographer Frank Sutcliffe who took many photographs of the fishing town in and around where my books are set. They can be fantastic sources for ensuring I’m not straying too far from the truth.
Your latest children’s book ‘Olly and The Treasure Map’ features a Jack Russell (based on your own Jack Russell) and his fictional pal, the Labrador Luna. How would you sum up their doggy duo adventures?
‘Olly & The Treasure Map’ is book 2 of the Olly The Jack series. It is a series that I have wanted to do for a long time, and now seemed right. In book 2 we meet Luna the Lab – Olly’s real life best friend. The two of them have been friends since they were puppies and it’s adorable how they play together. In the book I wanted this friendship to come across, and the illustrations by Izzy Bean have done that perfectly. I couldn’t be happier with the results and am thrilled to say Izzy is currently illustrating book 3.
You’ve decided recently to have a change of career after working for over a decade in higher education. As you answer these questions, you are in Sri Lanka working for a month on a sea turtle conservation project! What prompted you to make this change?
After 14 years working in higher education I felt that it was time to move onto something new. I had always felt as though I had fallen into my career by accident, and although I loved it once, I knew it was time for change. Before jumping into the next thing I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to do something that has always been a huge bucket list item… volunteering to work abroad in conservation. Shortly after handing in my resignation I applied to go to Sri Lanka and was accepted. As I write this I am enjoying a whole month in the country before I return to the UK and start a new job in a completely different sector.
Finally – if you had to show just one of your favourite authors around Whitby, who would you choose and why?
I think I would choose author Martin Ferguson. Martin is the author of ‘The Relic Hunters’ series, and currently one of my favourites. They are a brilliant blend of historical fiction and modern day adventure. In Whitby I would take Martin to the ruined Abbey, and try and talk him into writing a Hunters book based around it.
Keep up to date with Chris at:
AMAZON UK: https://goo.gl/lmV7Qg
AMAZON US: https://goo.gl/nfML4O