Dick Francis was the author of more than forty acclaimed books. Among his numerous awards were three Edgar Awards, the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger, and the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award. He died in February 2010.
What was the first crime novel you ever read?Dead Cert by my Dad. I was eight when it was written.
Who is your favourite crime writer?Other than Dick Francis it would have to be Phyllis (P D) James.
Which crime novel do you wish you’d written?The Day of the Jackal (does that count as crime?) Wonderful story and so exciting.
Has any thriller ever made you sleep with the lights on?No. But some real-life news stories have made me recheck the door and window locks on occasion.
What’s your favourite crime/thriller series on TV and why?It has to be Morse, or Cracker, or Taggart. All character driven. Strong characters are what make good stories. People need to care what happens to the characters.
Who is your favourite fictional detective/sleuth?In a book it would have to be Hercule Poirot – read them all as a kid between the Dick Francis ones.
If you were stranded on a desert island – which fictional character would you most want to be stranded with and why?Bugs Bunny – always optimistic. “What’s up, Doc?” He would probably drive me crazy but I suppose I could eat him if I was hungry!
When you begin – do you already know the end?Not always but I usually have some idea. I know the destination but I am not sure of the route. The book has a way of taking over.
What is the most outlandish plot idea you’ve come up with – and did it become a book?I’m still a beginner and I haven’t come up with plots I haven’t used yet! Outlandish? Certainly – read on.
What are you working on at the moment?Screenplay of Dead Heat, then a new book due on March 15th 2010 and another in 2011.
Please give your top three crime writing tips.Work, work, work. 99% perspiration. Oh yes, and get someone to read it to you out loud. If it sounds rubbish, it probably is.