The Crime Fiction Lounge Podcast Podcast Artwork Image
The Crime Fiction Lounge Podcast
Episode #11 – John Marrs, Author of Her Last Move
December 13, 2018 Paul Stretton-Stephens

Hello and welcome to the Crime fiction lounge podcast.

Today, I have great pleasure in introducing you to John Marrs, author of, the brand new gripping thriller, Her Last Move. Her Last Move is John’s fifth novel and the first one that he hasn’t written on a commuter train. 

John is the author of #1 bestsellers The One (soon to be made into a 10 episode Netflix series ), The Good Samaritan (shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards 2018), When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are. 

After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer. 

Hello and welcome to the Crime fiction lounge podcast.

Today, I have great pleasure in introducing you to John Marrs, author of, the brand new gripping thriller, Her Last Move. Her Last Move is John’s fifth novel and the first one that he hasn’t written on a commuter train. 

John is the author of #1 bestsellers The One (soon to be made into a 10 episode Netflix series ), The Good Samaritan (shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards 2018), When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are. 

After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer. 

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:01Hello and welcome to the crime fiction lounge. You're listening to episode 11 with John Mars or the off her last move.

Speaker 2:0:10Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you the crime fiction lounge, the place for crime fiction lovers. Sit back, relax and unwind. You listened to some of your favorite crime fiction and thriller authors. And here's your host, Paul Stretton Stephens

Speaker 1:0:38today. I have great pleasure in introducing you to John Miles, author of the brand new gripping thriller. Her last move, her last movie, John's fifth novel, and the first one that hasn't been written on a commuter train. And you'll learn all about that during the interview. John was the author of the number one bestseller, the one at the time of the interview. He wasn't able to tell us, um, what the progress was on the option for that. But, um, since then we found out there's going to be a 10 episode drama on Netflix. So congratulations to John. He's also the writer of the Good Samaritan when you disappeared. And we welcome to wherever you are. After working as a journalist for 25 years, interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines. He's now a full time writer. Her last is dedicated to John's late father Charlie. It was a police officer of 25 years service. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Hi John. Welcome to the crime fiction lounge. How are you today? Oh, I'm good. Thanks Paul. Great to be here. Yeah, nice to have you on the show.

Speaker 3:1:46I was really nice to be honest. Um, it's my, my first ever podcast. I've been really looking forward to this.

Speaker 1:1:50We'll be gentle with you then. Very talking. First of all, can you tell our listeners a little bit more about your background?

Speaker 3:1:58Yeah, well, um, I uh, I live in North Hampton share for the last 25 years. I worked as a journalist, um, to the foreign local newspapers and gravitate it down to London. Um, well I've worked for some of the nationals and did some freelancing full time work. Um, it was mainly celebrity journalism. I did. So not the red carpet or trying to get tittle tattle or anything like that. It was a lot of actual sit down interviews with some kind of constant, the big names from Merica, some of the smaller names from over here. It's a real, real mixed bag. Um, but good son. Um, and I gave that up in December last year to write books full time. So whereas now instead of commuting down to London every day, I just have to commute from the bedroom down to the study in the house. And that's as far as I need to go. And that's a big change, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. Very much so. But as I am, I've really enjoyed it. I thought that it would be the only thing I'm missing is committed to working with people working could my colleagues and sometimes you know, I'm just nip into TESCO's or whatever. Then I'll just end up trying to have a conversation with the checkout person just cause that'll be already concerts I have. Yeah.

Speaker 1:3:07Working Hours. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. No, I've got one question I wanted to ask you here, because I know you said you sort of sit down interviews with people like, you know, Johnny Depp on Julian is your lead and all these old people. Now you've seen the film Notting Hill, haven't you? Yeah. Was it really like that where you have to, everybody's ushered into a room and you called him one at a time and you sit there and you've got your five minutes for questions and Eurasia it out.

Speaker 3:3:33It is exactly like that is it is exactly that. Yeah. Yeah. You literally have five, possibly 10 minutes with somebody. They're sitting there with a, you know, you've got your, you've got an army of prs from the UK, from America, all around you. There's long, often there with a stopwatch telling you when to go to. There's very little time to do any kind of pleasantries and any chitchat and try and relax the personal, relax yourself. Then you literally go straight in with the questions. Um, a lot of the time you're not really allowed to ask anything personal. So it's the certain questions that's been asked a thousand times before about whatever film, whatever they're promoting. So doing that kind of thing, it's not, it's not the most interesting part of journalism and trying to be creative with some of the questions I think is probably the biggest challenge there.

Speaker 1:4:19Yeah, yeah, I can see that. Wow. Wow. And your spare time, what do you do in your spare time if you have a,

Speaker 3:4:26and especially as bedtime? It's been a little bit, uh, haven't been that much of it. Basically all I've got book out next week and then on the, of just doing some rewrites full, it's out in April and then the next one is out next November. So this year has just been spent in quite manic and getting all these books together. Um, so yeah, spare time, is that not that much a bit. Um, so I like to try and go to the gym in the morning, dog out for a walk and then my partner gets back from work. We'll go out and dog again or just chill out and just knock that or go to the cinema a lot. And just kind of doing things in the evening that I haven't been able to do for so long when I was commuting down to London, so it wasn't getting home most nights about half seven, eight o'clock. So it's just kind of getting a life again. It's been quite interesting.

Speaker 1:5:09Yeah. Yeah. And I notice you, what's your dumps name? Oscar. I thought I sort of mentioned that the Oscar appears in all your books. Okay.

Speaker 3:5:18Every single one of them. And the one I've just, I've just had to change your music border terrier, but I just had to change into a little fluffy Pomeranians for my one that's out in April time.

Speaker 1:5:26Oh, right, okay. I'm sure it enjoy that he forgives me. Now let's talk about your writing. I mean, when did you start writing novels and what made you take that decision?

Speaker 3:5:38No, what, it was only about, let me think, probably about five, six years ago. And I've always thought about writing a book and whether I'd be able to do it or not. Um, and I, I just got an idea in the guardian, their weekend section, they used to have a section called family, which now been cut down to just a few pages, but it was, it was a big, you know, a big eight page supplement on its each week. And they have a letter to section in which readers right often anonymously a letter to somebody in their life. And there was a letter from a woman who was writing to her husband disappeared some 15, 20 years ago. No idea what happened to him, whether he was alive or dead, just vantage one morning. Um, and just explaining what happened to her and their family cause I think they had three or four kids over and what he's missed out on over all these years.

Speaker 3:6:25And I just thought, what would really interesting idea for a story. Um, I didn't even really start to plot it out very much, but I just started it. I'm going to have a go at writing this from her perspective and then from his perspective. So they've got two completely separate stories about what happened over 25 years. Um, and then all of a sudden, 25 years later, he turns up on her doorstep to explain why he went. It was just, it was, you're basically just reading that one letter to, in this, uh, in this magazine in a supplement that just started everything else. It was just, yeah, that's, that's exactly how it started. I thought, why not? Let's see where it takes me.

Speaker 1:7:01Wow. That's some trigger, isn't it? Yeah.

Speaker 3:7:04It's, um, yeah. I can't really explain. I can't really explain why they just did that. So we just really touched me and started, there was such scope for doing it my own way and having a go at writing a book and then nobody was interested. I saw in, in my imagination that had been a journalism for journalists for all these years and that I'd get a little bit of interest, you know, a little bit of interest from agents or from publishers, and one of them would be like, oh my God, this is amazing. Yes, yes. You want to take you on. And I wrote to 80 of them in total. Some of them require just a letter or there's required a few chapters, a couple of required the whole thing and yeah, 80 of them I sent over the space about three months and I was rejected by every single one of them. So that was quite an ego and ego slasher.

Speaker 1:7:54Yeah. Yeah. I mean I wanted to ask you about your pathway to publication because I understand that one point you got quite an eventful week. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Speaker 3:8:03Yeah, so about three years after my, after my first book came out, I released the second and then a year after that came the third and the other went. We just sat down the self publishing route. Um, and that was proving go, but moderately successful for me. I was doing okay with that. And then in the space of seven days, I had three people get in touch with any, one of them was from a, uh, from a, uh, Thomas and Mercer publisher. I'm asking me about my first book and whether I was interested in doing a, a new version of that for them. Another one was from a book that I just released a week earlier, uh, from, uh, ebery asking me if I'd be willing to go down the traditional print route with it and another, uh, emails from a production company saying they're very interested in purchasing the rights to the most recent book and was I interested in that? Um, so to go from just doing it my own back and just publish them when I wanted to and getting friends to read it and critique it and rewrites, et Cetera, all of a sudden just took off in that space of about seven days.

Speaker 1:9:07Amazing. Amazing. How did you feel then?

Speaker 3:9:11I don't think I've got my head around it for quite a while, Paul, to be honest. I think it took, um, I walked at one point, I think I was working on two yes, three books at the same time, rewrites and another book as well. A while doing my full time job while plan on getting married. Um, my partner and I were going out to New York to do it. So just everything was going on at the same time. I don't think I had time to get my head around it until quite a few months later. I think it was when, when the, the third book called the one came out. Um, that's the one with Ebury. Um, they did a massive poster campaign around London and I went down to Claton junction to go visit one of my posters and it's one of those massive billboards with, uh, with the book on. Um, I think that's the moment for me when it's on Kim.

Speaker 1:9:59Is that the one that's been options as well as the one? Yes. That's the one that's been optioned. Yeah. Yeah. And how far down the road

Speaker 3:10:07I would really love to tell you, but I can't

Speaker 1:10:10limited. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

Speaker 3:10:11Yeah, it's all very positive. Um, but I can't make any announcements until other people make announcements. We sounds really cryptic. It's like, it's like one of those rubbish messages that people put on Facebook and I'm not feeling great today. And you get those are people responded, well, what's up Hahn? And I'm like that. I can't say,

Speaker 1:10:29well, when you can say absolutely, I promise. No. Why did you decide to write psychological thrillers? And I mean, I know you had that trigger there, but you know, your, your subsequent books. So why have you sort of stayed with psychological thrillers or on read more recently a police procedure?

Speaker 3:10:47I kind of try and mix things up I think with each book. So yeah, I think they've got elements of psychological thriller, suspense, speculative fiction, and that's what I've done so far. I've not done any see calls just because I'm not really keen on them at the moment. Um, and they're just psychological theory just kind of appealed to me. Those are often the kind of books that I've watched. The TV shows that I watch all the films that I go to see. So that's why I think that's the direction that I, that I enjoy that when it came to this new one, her last move, I'd want it to try something please. Procedure or just because it was a genre that is something that I've never tried before. It was a challenge, um, because everything with a police procedural needs to be right. Doesn't that getting everything right with stories received a police element side of things, the witch language of how detectives talk to each other. Um, and yeah, I needed to give myself a challenge with this book because it would have been easy just to keep writing similar variations of the same thing. But yeah, I just wanted to do something new and I wanted to give it my best shot and see how it works. And so far the early reviews seem really good.

Speaker 1:11:53And how much research

Speaker 3:11:54did you have to do? Quite a lot. Yeah. Obviously. I mean, once I had my plot in my storyline sorted out, um, there's an element of it that it happens on the London Underground. So I was looking around for someone to work at to help me. What happens when someone falls under a train? And then the, obviously the police side of things, a blogger was very handy because her partner's policeman, um, she likes my books. She suggested that I talk to him and he was brilliant and he went through everything we knew to fine tooth comb. So this wouldn't happen. She wouldn't be in this position, he wouldn't be a superintendent at that age, blah, blah, blah. Um, yeah. Isn't it amazing? Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, that's a lovely, that is we, you know, you must have read a lot of crime fiction books and thought, well that's not going to happen. This is, this is not right. And that I imagine would, would kind of take the book a little bit for you.

Speaker 1:12:47Yes. Yeah. Yeah. There is, there are elements in some box and use it. Well, no, no, I can't really see that, you know, and that wouldn't happen because of x, Y and zed. Yeah. Sorry.

Speaker 3:12:55Yeah, it happens. Yeah.

Speaker 1:12:58So what, what, what, what writers, well, which writers inspire you?

Speaker 3:13:04Um, I don't know how to describe the kind of books. I like bits of pretty much bits of everything. There's no warm genre that I'll, I'll just specifically stick to. There's just so much different stuff out there that I really like. Um, it was kind of looking at my bookshelf here while we talk. So I've got a few books on my birthday the day, for example. So rich you play, um, John Evans kill him all the seven deaths of evil in Hardcastle and Tom Hanks is book. I just like a mixture of stuff. I've just finished dark matter by Blake crouch. Which chapstick lust. Um, yeah. I think when I was a kid, my main inspiration I used to read so much, um, was Franklin w Dixon who used to wrote the hardy boys books and I still loved those books and that's who I wanted to be for a while. When I grew up, I wanted to be Franklin wd and it was only as an adult that I discovered that, um, frankly really Dixon didn't actually exist. He was just a conglomerate of writers, which is why over a period of 80 years you wrote about 190 books. So that's quite a disappointment.

Speaker 1:14:04Yes. Yes. Oh, by the way, happy birthday for the for isn't it? Yes. Thank you. I hope that you share with Marquette was the same day.

Speaker 3:14:12Yeah, I know. Label mate birthday mate. Yeah. If I, if I could have your success then I'd be a very happy man.

Speaker 1:14:19Oh, I'm sure it's there. I'm sure it's there. Now you've, you've mentioned about your first book. How, I like how you were inspired for that. Yup. What about your subsequent books? Where do your ideas come from?

Speaker 3:14:30Anywhere and everywhere. So the second book was called welcome to wherever you are and that was based in a backpack in hospital and Los Angeles. And that just, that was kind of inspires me bubbling around it. So I mean for years when I was 21 I went backpacking for a year around America and ended up staying in La for about four or five months. She's working in this hostel, um, checking people in an, in the mornings and the afternoons. I used to stand on a box on the beach in hot dogs and lemonades with a megaphone for a company. Um, and I just like I had this side. Yeah. That's what inspired me to write that book. Just like a load of different people from different walks of life. It will kind of come together, but obviously the actual storylines that totally made up. And then the one, which is my third book that came to me just one day.

Speaker 3:15:13Basically my partner and I at a situation we are planning on getting married in New York. It's been a little bit kind of happy about things going on the escalator down to Liverpool Street station. I remember and looking at people going on the other side, going up and thinking how lucky I am that I've found the person that right person for me. And how much easier would be for everybody if you know you were scientifically you genetically linked to one of the person and that just became the one. And then book after that, um, the last book, it's called the Good Samaritan and that was based on talking to a friend of mine's partner who worked as, we used to work as a, a Samaritan on the help lines. And he was telling me how awful some parts of the job where when you had said, listen to people actually end their lives on the phone and there's nothing you can do about it. You can't really call, you can't call for help, you just have to stay there and listen to what happens for that, you know, for that person. And I just thought that would make an interesting idea for a story. And then I kind of turn that on its head, um, and had my, a helpline character who doesn't work for this amount as I hasten to add. And it helped my character who was actually encouraging people to end their lives because she has a lot of psychological issues herself.

Speaker 1:16:25I see, I see all happy stuff, Paul, isn't it? I love it when you said, you know, you were just going down the escalator and it just came to you because so many authors I interview say something similar, you know that walking the dog came to them, you know, they went to the supermarket and somebody said something, an idea came to the, and that was the whole trigger to set, set, whole novel off.

Speaker 3:16:53Yeah, exactly. Exactly. There's a couple of months, couple of weeks ago now, I actually dreamt of the storyline, which I think I'm going to really try and turn into something. And as soon as I woke up, I was running across the bedrooms, grab my phone because it was on a charge of elsewhere just to dictate it into the notes section so that I wouldn't forget. It is weird where we're just, how, what inspires you, where these just ideas appear from.

Speaker 1:17:16Yeah. Amazing. Isn't it? Literally out of thin air sometimes. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And what you used to write a lot on the train when you were commuting?

Speaker 3:17:26Yeah. Yeah. My first four books were pretty much written on trains. Um, so between Northampton where I live in London, where it, where I work, it's probably about an hour and three quarters door to door. So I'd get a good hour and a quarter on the train each, you know, each morning and then in the evening and then I'll probably get an hour at lunchtime. I'd sometimes during the day if I didn't have too much on, um, just write it. Basically. I did all my kind of proofreading on that. I would print everything out. Um, yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 1:17:56Trains where they, right now,

Speaker 3:17:59um, either in my office at home or sometimes a pub down the road in the afternoon, I'll go down for a couple of hours, um, or restaurants, um, where all my good work I will and do with a couple of blueberry muffins and a cup of tea and a laptop. Um, yeah, I've, I think I can't ever write when I'm in the house, I can't ever write with any noise whatsoever. So no television, no radio, no music, nothing. But when I, now in public writing, I don't have a problem with that was to do, put my headphones on, just a blank out a little bit, the noise, but don't really listen to anything.

Speaker 1:18:31Right. Okay. So you're able to avoid all the distractions? Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 3:18:37No, I'm not. When I'm at home, that's a difficult part because it's next to the kitchen and there's always a fridge full of chocolate or terrible dishwasher. The needs load, you know, adopted these plain where it's just hard life. Paul.

Speaker 1:18:49Terrible, terrible. What was your process of writing? I mean, do you outline to you, have you work?

Speaker 3:18:57Um, I don't, I don't outline roughly, I'd had like a different notebook for each book that I'm working on and I'll write down my plot from pretty much from start to finish, just over a couple of pages and then I'll go back to it couple of days later, rewrite it. We write until I know everything that basically roughly what's going to happen in roughly what order. And then I just start, um, I just start writing and I aim to do, to try and do a couple of thousand words a day, which I think is very, very straightforward to do. Even if it's just a waffle. Um, it's least, it's that 2000 words down on a page, excuse me. And um, yeah, I'm not a massive plotter. Um, I have the characters in mind. I'll know what I want them to do, what they're like, where are they going to go? Obviously some of them change as you're writing, so when you go through your second draft, it, Austin bears very little resemblance to the character you've ended up with, which is great.

Speaker 3:19:51Um, yeah, that's, that's the way I do it. And I don't really necessarily write chronologically either, so sometimes I'll, I think from a good Samaritan book I did, that's the only one that I've written from start to finish in order. There's one I'm working on at the moment, which doesn't come out for another year, but I started off at the end and then gone back to the beginning and then done. They've got a bit in the middle and I'd just like to link everything up in the end. Yeah, I think it's, cause I get quite bored easily and so the thought of sitting down and having to come up with a roughly a hundred thousand words from scratch is I don't like that particularly. I find it easier if I can think when you have to do a bit of here and a bit there, then I'll put everything together. It just makes more sense in my head.

Speaker 1:20:29Do you use like word or scrivener or something like that? So it helps orders things, isn't it?

Speaker 3:20:35Now he's word. That's it. Okay. Yeah. That's the only thing I use. Yeah, and post it notes that he posted, like scattered around.

Speaker 1:20:41Okay. Okay. Now let's talk a little bit about your, your recent title. Her last movie is coming out in November 8th I think it is. Yes, that's right. I think we go with this. This will be a broadcaster in the early December, so I'm just miss the, the publication there, but it would still be out fresh.

Speaker 3:20:58Yeah, no, I'm very excited by, it was a nervous about this one more than others. Here's my first essay. My first venture. There's not like totally police procedural. It's got, it's kind of very character driven rather than just case driven. Um, but yeah, I've been, I've been quite nervous about this one when I've got it right. But I don't, I don't often read reviews anymore when a book comes out, but like I'll have a look preview wise and you know, on some level reviews or netgalley and good reads and stuff like that. And so far there's been like some of the best reviews. I've had a book, so I'm kind of starting to get less nervous and more excited now.

Speaker 1:21:32Yeah. Now before we go into a sort of going into details about the book here, I understand you've dedicated this one, her last move to your late father Charlie, he was a police officer.

Speaker 3:21:41Yes, that's right. Yeah. Yeah, he was, he would have been very handy. I think two of us, a lot of questions to my do. He'd uh, he'd been retired for quite a while, so obviously a lot of things would change. Yeah, he would have been very good.

Speaker 1:21:53Okay. Okay. So can you tell us a little bit about the booklet?

Speaker 3:21:57Yeah, it's um, it's set in London, say where I worked for about 18 years. Um, there are three main characters. You've got Joe Russell, he's a super recognizer and there, um, don't know if you've ever heard of those before, but there are a small branch of the met with only rock around 15 members and they're made up of police officers who never forget a face. They are basically human image bank and a locked, their job is trawling through the mets forensic image database showing suspects who hadn't been identified yet. So there are a team that can match them, match the suspects with faces that they recognize from, for example, like strict patrols or going into big events such as festivals like not or, and Notting Hill Carnival or something like that. And they'd been in the news recently because they help to identify though alleged Russian poison those by going through thousands and thousands of hours of CCTV and uh, identifying them and working out the pattern of where they went.

Speaker 3:22:51But anyway, um, so the basic plot is that there is a killer going around London one summer and he's aiming to kill a certain number of people in a certain profession for a certain reason. So it's up to my two detectives. Joe, the super recognizer, um, who has a few issues of his own is he has a past involving the missing sister and, uh, he has a medical condition two and his team did with Becker who's a regular, uh, copper. Um, she's young man who's struggling to deal with the job and being a single parent to a child with learning difficulties. And it's also told from the perspective of my serial killer too. Um, and you kind of learn from his perspective about why he's doing what he's doing, but the police don't know how his crimes are linked yet until obviously till close to the end.

Speaker 1:23:38Okay. Have you super recognizes is really interesting. I mean, I was listening to somebody from America, dude, I, Rudy Tanzi and uh, he's, he talks about a super recognizers and he says how difficult their normal everyday life can be sometimes because you gave one particular incidents where there was a woman who's a super recognizer, she remembers everybody that she's ever come into contact with. So she could be walking down the street and say to a lady, oh, hello. You know, how do you remember me? I bought some shoes from you 10 years ago, you know, this sort of thing. Of course these people freak, this sort of thing, this kind of reaction. So he helps these people sort of sort of calm it down a little bit and their normal everyday life. But I can see where it comes in really handy obviously from, from an investigation point of view.

Speaker 3:24:22Yeah, that's what I've gleaned as well. But the, it's very difficult in their everyday life. There's been several occasions, a lot of the cheese, but I've read tweets, um, put the super recognizers that they can be walking down the street with their family and all of a sudden they recognize someone who's been, um, maybe they believe it's been done a lot shoplifting over the years that they've looked at all these photographs in there, just match them with the memory of this, this picture in their head to the person standing in front of them so they'd arrested them or their, yeah, they can be the nightmare. Or it can be even something like recognizing someone in a film that they saw in there about five years old, like a little bit part that they then saw in the film about 25 years later. It is, it is strange because I think it's estimated that of all the faces that you and I see when, I'm assuming you're not super recognize it, but you might be, um, a lot of faces that we see. It's 20%. I think we will remember that, but super recognizes a wrecking. Remember up till that 80% of all the faces they see.

Speaker 1:25:19Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it's all on the plot here. I mean, was it, why have you chosen these characters and their particular personalities, identity skills and traits? It was, it you had the plot in mind and you needed to fit the characters or the plot or was it sort of kind of built around their, their skills and personalities, etc.

Speaker 3:25:38I think the super recognizer part came first. I don't know even remember exactly how I stumbled upon it. I think I found it on the Internet. Um, and I thought it sounded quite interesting and then discovered that there was a branch of the net that does have some, have super recognize it. So I wanted to use that as a main character. Um, I wanted to have, I wanted to have a female detective. I basically didn't want my characters to be cliched, so I didn't want like hard drinking or drug taking or a lot of issues or always fighting against fighting against. They're the people are, I wouldn't have a kind of believable characters, everyday characters obviously with the exception of my, uh, my serial killer. Um, so that's why kind of a much more human aspect to it. That's why what Becker the female cop is, um, yes, he's juggling the single parent as, as a lot of people are with work and she's seeing her career not go as well as it can because she's having to dedicate so much time to being a mother.

Speaker 3:26:36And she's kind of quite torn about that. My male detective, uh, Joe is married to another man is a bit of a spoiler, but you find that baffling about studies the way into the book, but it's just, I didn't want that against be an issue. It's just something that just happens. And he has issues himself with a missing family member and associate with a medical condition as well. That doesn't come out until later on in the book. So I kind of want to do, people with add had a little bit of, a little bit of an interesting background to them, but not anything too cliched.

Speaker 1:27:07That makes sense. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Without giving away any spoilers, which scene did you enjoy writing most?

Speaker 3:27:14Oh, I think it's very close to the end and it's set on a ferry going from Dover to Calais and um, it's, it's only two pages long, this particular chapter. And I think that was my favorite part of it. Guess I, yeah, I kind of got to kind of tell you why Paul.

Speaker 1:27:35No sport, isn't it? Which thing was the most challenging to write?

Speaker 3:27:40Um, yeah. I'm not giving too much away, but the first chapter involves wonder who is shoved under a train on the underground and trying to get everything right there about what would happen. I went to, uh, obviously I traveled at the time. Um, I was writing this, I was on the underground, um, every day. And so sometimes I'd just like miss a couple of trains just to stand there and just watch, you know, you can kind of go into autopilot when you get the tube every day. So I was trying to look at it from a non, because point of view of what I could do and then trying to find out what the procedure was when somebody did go under a train. And that quite interesting actually just finding out about the work that TFL staff do when that happens and how they'll Austin once the electricity's turned off, if somebody is really trapped under there, they'll want, they'll often go on cool under their hands and knees on it, on the outside, on their bellies underneath this train to see what the status of that person is, why they're waiting for an ambulance to come out.

Speaker 3:28:36And I never realized that they would do that kind of thing. So, um, yeah, I found the first chapter quite challenging cause he's always, we always want to try and get someone's attention, don't you, the readers attention with the first chapter. Um, so yeah, that was, that was quite a challenge.

Speaker 1:28:49Yeah, I spoke to this aspect is quite a challenge for those that go and crawl under that on their bellies as well. Absolutely.

Speaker 3:28:57Well I just get to sit and write about this, but they do some amazing work, those guys.

Speaker 1:29:01Yeah, absolutely. So we've heard a little bit about her last move, which is November the eighth. Uh, what's the future for you, John? Do you have a new book on the way and if so, when is it, when is it due?

Speaker 3:29:13Well, just before you and I started talking, I'm just kind of working on some copy edits of a book called the passengers, which is two out in April next year with the brewery. Um, what can I say about that? So basically it is, I think it comes into the term speculative fiction, which was a bit like my book, the one, um, and it's upset kind of their present if futurists time whereby we are, most of us have converted to using driverless cars, eight people in a, we'll get up one morning getting into that car is to head off to work or whatever. And the voice comes through the speakers of that car. It's saying that, uh, your, excuse me, your car has been hacked. You are now under my control and in two and a half hours you were on a collision course, eight of you. Um, it's all collide with one another and it's up to a panel of five experts, uh, and uh, and social media to decide which one of you who's going to live. So it's kind of speed in Tanga Games meets big brother.

Speaker 1:30:14Okay. Right. That sounds interesting.

Speaker 3:30:17It's been good fun. I've enjoyed writing this and it's like a heck of a lot of research. Not much. I don't know about driverless cars now.

Speaker 1:30:23Yeah, yeah, I can imagine. Yeah. Oh, okay. That one's out then.

Speaker 3:30:28And then I'm working on my next one, which has got just almost through the first draft, which is two in November next year. And that's basically back to that kind of psychological thriller about another daughter who lived together under one roof, but who hates each other. And you find out why and the links that go to, to make each other's lives in misery.

Speaker 1:30:49Maybe more hilarity. Okay. Now, John, where the point of the interview where I like to ask some rapid fire questions. Announcers. Sure. This is just so that the, the audience together get to know you a little bit better. If you could chat with any crime fiction or they're dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Speaker 3:31:07I let me think about this stuff just because I'm not really the biggest breed of crime fiction in a city where you want, I kind of read a lot of everything. So I think that I'm, the eyes are very taste and I think that's helped me because I hadn't followed the rules with her last move and it's unnecessary. It's getting some quite good reviews. I think I'm probably more inspired by TV detectives rather than authors. So for example, like cracker prime suspects, well recently unforgotten and twists and turns in line of duty. Um, yeah, I think, I think, um, a couple of modern authors that I've been reading, I've really enjoyed, he's gone down the crime rate car, a hunter and Caroline Mitchell. I think I do that. Do that job brilliantly.

Speaker 1:31:46Yeah, yeah. Agree more. How can you name a tool or product you can't live without? And why do I have to just have one? Oh, well how many of you got a four? My chasing, we'll go for two.

Speaker 3:32:03If I have to go to just one then let me go for a spellcheck.

Speaker 1:32:08Well, check. Does that count? Yeah. Right. Yeah,

Speaker 3:32:11I'm really, I'm really old school so when I finished writing a book or finishing some kind of manuscript, I can't proof read it on screen. I have to print it out. So yeah, I have to spell check the heck out of it first. So I'd either have spellcheck or an online source.

Speaker 1:32:25Okay. All right. We'll let you have that. Can you tell us something unique and interesting about you that not many people may know?

Speaker 3:32:34I think I was, I kind of touched on it earlier. What about, um, how many rejection letters that I got, um, from the first book? Um, I did actually, I didn't mention it on, on Twitter recently and I've actually kept every single letter and I was having to look through them. Most of them are just kind of your generic thank you. But it's not for us in a few of them are like, I don't think it's as commercial enough or interesting enough and I just go, it was looking at them recently because my book, my first book, uh, excuse me, um, when you disappeared, it's just kind of just sold just going over the 300,000 sales mark. And it just made me feel quite good just knowing that I had just got, got idea that this was going to be quite a good book and it was going to be successful to a degree. But it's the past my surpassed anything that I think I've, I've ever been through before. Yeah. Then with answers the question does it,

Speaker 1:33:25no, no, no. I mean it's also surpassed the expectations of 83 agents. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So what number one tip would you give for new offices that are out there listening?

Speaker 3:33:36I think, uh, you need to have a thick skin. I think it helped that I was a journalist, journalists that had the greatest reputation in the world. They even know it was just this kind of celebrity stuff that I was doing. Um, I don't think you need an agent these days. I don't think you should be shy to self publish as a situ. Earlier on, I had two books that were picked up after being self published. I think once upon a time, if you were self published, I don't think that agents would necessarily touch your book because he's a, we haven't, she sold copies. I think that's different nowadays, so I don't think you should be afraid to self publish and you need to be prepared to keep promoting because that's where the work really, really starts. It's all very well spending a year of your life, maybe more writing this amazing book, but if no one's going to read it because you're not over social media and you're not promoting it, then I kind of think what's the point?

Speaker 1:34:26Yeah. Yeah. Okay. If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

Speaker 3:34:34Hmm. I think it would be, don't wait so long before you start writing. I think so many years I've been writing other people's stories in interviews that I just didn't get around to writing a book of my own. And I think that if I'd had done this 10 years ago, I'd like to think that I would be a better writer than I am now. So I think I would have started sooner. So that would be my advice to my younger self. Just stop wasting time.

Speaker 1:35:04Yeah, good advice. Good advice. What's your favorite book and why would it be,

Speaker 3:35:10is this coming out of, on my own? You gotta allow me one of them. Only one I'm going to go for. Okay. I'm just re read a JD Salinger's catcher in the Rye. Just finish that again a couple of weeks ago because I've not read that since I was 15 and I was at school and we had to do it for our own levels. Show my age there. I sang o levels. Um, I would, I'd have to say that, but if I wasn't saying that I'm going to sneak in Alex Garland's the beach cause I just, I don't know that just put, just, I probably like the traveling element really kind of touched me when all this went on to finish backpacking. I loved it, but yeah.

Speaker 1:35:44Well I sneaked in didn't it? Yeah. What's your favorite movie and why?

Speaker 3:35:54Okay. Now I'm, no, and we discussed this before. I know that, um, a few of your writers have gone for it, some obscure Japanese work, but I am a commercial man and I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm going to go for true romance. Um, as I love Tony Scott's direction. I think it's gotten the most unfollowable cars with Patricia Arquette, Gary Oldman and the fact it was written by Quentin Tarantino as well. Um, I could watch that film, but countless times.

Speaker 1:36:19Yup. Yup. Good, good choice. Good choice. And you might find this one difficult. What's your, what's your favorite piece of music or song anymore?

Speaker 3:36:27Hmm. Hmm. I can't, I've got quite broad spectrum, but if I'm, if you only get alarm, your warm song, I'll say be my funeral. So I'm pretty sure we picked out we'd be crowded. Houses don't dream. It's over. Very rarely when I'm writing, I said you very rarely when writing to I listen to music. If I do have anything kind of in the background on it was January you massive attack or Sigur Ros or something like that.

Speaker 1:36:55Okay. Okay. Now how can listeners get in touch with you and your book? Shawn?

Speaker 3:37:01I'm all over it. My normal social media, we've got your Twitter and your Facebook and your Instagram. If you go onto my website, it's just a John Mars and a double Rs, Dot. UK. It's got links to all my other sites, I think. I think I had that I think had the most fun. I don't about, I don't know which, which you use quite a lot of fun with the uh, with Instagram. I quite enjoy doing that. Quite like trying to take interesting pictures of other people's books as well. So I think it's important to support other authors that you really like the work of.

Speaker 1:37:28Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And what formats are, are your books currently available in?

Speaker 3:37:34Uh, they're all available on both Ebook, audiobook and in physical paperback.

Speaker 1:37:40Okay. And I have noticed, I think they're in multiple languages as well, aren't they? Some of them.

Speaker 3:37:44Yeah. Yeah. The one is, um, I think about 15 different languages. So that's always really exciting when all of a sudden you get a box through the post that you might expecting and it's got about 10 copies of your book in a language you'd can't quite work out what it is. Then you have to type a few words into Google translate before you understand which one it is. It's interesting seeing all the different colors that different publishers around the world use as well and their reputation of your staff. Um, yeah, so we're the ones who chose agents didn't, yeah, that sustain and then a good Samaritan and working to wherever you are is also being translated into a, into a few languages as well, which is cool.

Speaker 1:38:19Okay, good. Okay. Well, John, I need to call us a time here in the crime fiction lounge. I want to thank you for a fascinating chat and thanks for being here.

Speaker 3:38:28Thanks for the invitation. I've really enjoyed it. I hope I'm waffled on too long.

Speaker 1:38:31Absolutely not. No, that's not what this is. For All our listeners out there, John's details, he's mentioned that just now, uh, and the details of his books, they're all be on our website too, on the crime fiction amount, and that's I want to thank you for listening and that you know that our next guest will be Justin Lee author the Hubley case. Until then, bye for now.

Speaker 2:38:59If you've enjoyed this episode, why not subscribe now? Leave a review and share with your friends, and don't forget to tune in for the next thrilling episode until then, stay safe.

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