Writers Abroad Magazine 6 May 2017 - Page 23

WRITERS ABROAD MAGAZINE: THE THIRD SPACE AUTHOR INTERVIEW: PETER MAY Interviewed by LESLEY TRUCHET Peter May is a Scottish novelist of international renown and the recipient of writing awards both in Europe and America. He has written several series of crime novels and a number of stand-alone novels and has clocked up more than two million book sales in the UK and several million internationally. How long have you been writing and how did you start? I wrote my first book when I was four years old! A few pages with some large writing scrawled across, divided into chapters. My mum helped me sew the pages together and I designed a cover for it. It’s on YouTube. I always knew I wanted to write, completing a novel in my teens though it was never published. I sent my first serious book to a publisher when I was 19, receiving a rejection letter explaining that my manuscript was too short for publication. They added: ‘But we do like it. It has a direct and emphatic narrative style and an oddly memorable – even idyllic flavour about it. We would like to see anything you write in future.’ I kept that letter. Those words of encouragement playe d an important part in inspiring me to keep writing. I actually met that editor, Philip Ziegler, 42 years later. You can read about it here. My first book was published when I was 26. It was turned into a television series and for 20 years I was involved in more than 1,000 episodes of television drama either as the creator, script-writer, editor or producer but only managed to write a couple of books during that period. I quit television to write novels. How many books have you written and what genre(s) do they fall into? I’ve written 23 books: thrillers, police procedurals, forensic investigations and psychological dramas. Crime in all its forms allows a writer to tackle stories set in any country, involving any type or class of person, in any profession. I’ve tackled stories involving genetic modification, drugs in sport and organ theft, and explored different cultures, in China, France and the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The setting almost becomes a character in the story. I’m currently working on a standalone book that starts in Paris with a murder but takes readers back to the Isle of Harris. It will be published in January 2018. 22 | MAY 2017