For today’s blog tour for Max Manning’s incredible novel, Now You See, the first in a new detective series, I have asked Max a few questions about the novel, his inspiration, writing and reading.
Now You See by Max Manning is out tomorrow, published by Wildfire Books! Thanks again to Phoebe Swinburn and Jenni Leech for the proof copy and coordinating this interview.
When did you come up with the idea for the DCI Dan Fenton series?
As a newspaper reporter I spent many years covering crime stories and attended numerous murder trials. I found myself developing a fascination for the workings of the criminal mind and when I wasn’t reporting on real crimes, I’d relax by reading crime fiction. With Now You See I wanted to take the reader deep into the mind of a psychopathic killer.
What was your planning and writing process for Now You See?
My writing process would probably appear pretty chaotic to most people. I always know how the story will begin and how it will finish. The bit in the middle takes on a life of its own but it always seems to get there in the end. I am definitely not a morning person and usually don’t start writing until the afternoon and go on late into the evening.
How do you go about creating such dynamic twists and shocking revelations?
I don’t usually work out these things in advance so they often shock and surprise me too. If I am excited about a potential twist then the chances are that readers will feel the same way. I often cover the walls of my office with sticky notes as ideas spontaneously occur and it is always exciting when they start to flow. I admit it can also be quite scary waiting for those necessary twists to surface!
Which authors inspired Now You See?
I am a big fan of Michael Connelly, Val McDermid, Susie Steiner and Belinda Bauer. Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels and standalone thrillers are beautifully layered. They are not only about the crime, the twist or the setting, they delve deep into how people feel and react when they come face to face with the dark side of humanity.
How many books do you plan on writing in the series?
That is a very good question. The answer is that I don’t know yet. A lot depends on the readers. If they want more of these characters, then I’d love to keep writing about them. The possibilities are endless!
Are you working on anything right now, and what can you tell me about it?
I have recently finished the first draft of my next book and there is still a lot of work to be done on it. I don’t want to give away too much at this stage but just as Now You See explores the sinister side of social media and asks “how dangerous is our appetite for darkness?”, I can say that Book 2 also has a “what would you do” situation and I am very excited about it!
When did you start writing and why?
Since my teens writing was always something I wanted to do. I think it was a natural extension of my love of reading. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a journalist but always knew that one day I would try my hand at crime fiction. When I left The Daily Telegraph after working there as a news sub-editor for sixteen years, I took the opportunity to start writing full-time.
Would you consider writing a series for Blake (maybe an undercover detective series)?
Blake is an extremely complex character, a good man carrying the mental scars of coming face to face with evil. I definitely think that he has a strong enough presence to go his own way and draw readers into his personal quest for justice and redemption. What a good idea!
Tell me a bit about a book you’ve recently enjoyed and why you enjoyed it.
In addition to crime novels, I love reading historical fiction and recently finished reading Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, which is set in Iceland in 1829. Inspired by a true story, it tells the tale of a woman condemned to death for murdering her lover. I found it a beautifully written and compelling debut.