Thursday, May 9, 2013

I'm Tellin Helen - Paul Grzegorzek talks about Crime, Brighton, and of course, His New Book!!

Today I sit with Paul Grzegorzek and discuss a little life, a little writing, and we do a bit of daydreaming together....

1) First, I would love to welcome you and thank you for taking the time to tell my readers about your current project. Can you begin with a little background? Where are you from, a story about growing up? How you became a writer?

Despite my surname I was born and raised in Sussex. I've lived in Brighton for the last 17 years or so, and in 2003 I joined the Police, working first on response in Brighton, then LST (the riot squad) and finally the intelligence unit, where I worked on undercover drug operations. During my time in the police, I met Peter James and began to help him with his novels, going through them for authenticity and also showing him the "darker side" of Brighton. We were sat in a cafe at the bottom of Sydney Street when he saw his first heroin deal and I thought he was going to die of excitement!

I've written since I was a kid, starting off with terrible poetry, but I hadn't written for years when I met Peter. In return for my help on his books, he would suffer hours of me coming up with ideas for TV shows, and eventually I came up with an idea and he said to me "it's great, but write it as a book and if it's good enough it'll be easy to sell for TV".

I took his advice, and a year later I'd finished my first novel, a terrible crime/vampire/secret society story that will never again see the light of day *shudder*.

Shortly after I left the police in 2008, I sat down for 15 days and did nothing but write, completing my first crime novel, The Follow.

I got an agent immediately, and The Follow was pushed out to publishers. I got some great feedback, but many of them were saying that it was just a little too much like Peter James and that maybe I should write about a different town.

So I wrote a trilogy of action thrillers set in the US, but had no joy with them either

Being stubborn, I went back to writing about crime in Brighton, which is where my most recent release comes in.

2) And let's talk about your current book. Tell us all about it! (Including where to get it!)

The latest book is called When Good Men Do Nothing. It's a race against time style crime thriller involving Sussex Police's only firearms positioning forensics specialist, Rob Steele. He's a detective sergeant in Brighton CID, brought in to investigate a shooting in Brighton.

The case takes an interesting turn, however, when MI6 get involved, sending an agent down to assist with the investigation. Soon Steele and his MI6 counterpart, Merrington, are racing against the clock to find and stop a group of terrorists seemingly hell-bent on turning Brighton into a bloodbath of epic proportions.

It was a lot of fun to write, and had received some outstanding praise from readers and other authors alike.

It's available on Kindle, as is The Follow, link below.

3) And can you include your favorite line or paragraph from the book?

Hard to pick a favourite, but this one comes to mind...
The receptionist looked up with a glare, taking in the tear-streaked face and long dirty coat and dismissing her as an NFA. ‘There’s a queue love, you’ll need to wait at the back like everyone else has.’ Gemma shook her head and summoned up the courage to speak. ‘I need the police,’ she whispered, then repeated it louder. The receptionist shook her head. ‘This is a hospital, not a police station.’ Her eyes narrowed as if remembering something and she looked to her right for a moment then back at Gemma. Pulling a picture off the wall, she held it up and squinted at it. ‘Here, you’re not Gemma Hallett are you?’ Gemma squeezed her eyes shut as fresh tears fell and she nodded. ‘Are you okay?’ The woman asked, concerned now. ‘No I’m not,’ Gemma whispered, ‘and I really need you to call the police now.’ And she opened her coat to display the vest they’d forced her into, rigged with enough explosive to bring the entire hospital crashing down around her.

4) What genre do you write in and why?

I write crime fiction. Being an ex police officer, I have oodles of material already in my head, and I think that reading something written by someone who's bled on, fought with and been surrounded by the criminal underworld brings a realism that you just can't achieve any other way.

5) Share with us a little of your process. Do you write during the day? at night? With background noise? In silence? From an outline? off the cuff? etc...

I'm a seat of the pants writer. I have a vague outline, then I just let my fingers take over and see where I go. I do most of my planning, such as it is, in the shower. It's a great place to think with no distractions! I tend not to have music on unless I really need to evoke a particular mood, and then I'll carefully choose a piece and play it on repeat until that scene is done. I usually write during the day at weekends as my wife is at work and I'm in the house alone, but I've been known to write in the evenings, three o'clock in the morning, or generally any time inspiration hits me and I'm not too tired to type!

Helen's comment: I'm always surprised at how many folks say they develop plot lines or work out plot problems in the shower!!

6) Who is your favorite author? Your favorite book?

That's a really tough one. I don't often read crime, I prefer to read scifi and fantasy. My favourite fantasy author recently is Brandon Sanderson, and the book is The Way of Kings, but I've also recently read Revenge of the Tide and Human Remains (both crime) by Elizabeth Haynes and i have to say that they're absolutely superb.

7) Can you give us one marketing tip that you feel best promoted your book?

Social media and networking. It's still the best free option until you can get some good reviews under your belt. There's also a fantastic crime novel review site called best crime books to read, and I accidentally hijacked their facebook page but offered a review copy of The Follow as an apology, only to get an absolutely glowing review!

Helen's comment: Hijacked their website? My curiosity is piqued...

8) Now for a little daydreaming...Hollywood just called and wants to turn your book into a movie!! And you get to cast the lead characters! Who would you pick? and Why?

I'd pick Clive Owen for Rob, and probably Amelia Warner for his partner, Nat. They both have the same qualities as the characters, and I think they fit the way I see them pretty well too.

9) Now I'm going to steal a question from my book "Awake In Hell". If you could ask God himself one question, what would it be??

Why is it that some people are just wired to hurt other people and take enjoyment out of doing so?

10) Are you currently writing full time or do you still have a "day job" ? What are the pros and cons of whichever one you are?

Still in the day job. The pros are that I know exactly how much money I've got coming in every month and my job is interesting and occasionally exciting, the cons are that I can't write when I get sudden creative urges or ideas during the week. I've just submitted another novel to my agent, and I'm reliably assured that it's my best yet, so hopefully that will change fairly soon!

11) Are you happier today than you were yesterday? Let us know what makes you happier than anything else in the world!

No, I was happier yesterday. The sun was out, I was a day further away from going back to work and I was buzzing with ideas...

I think hearing the reaction of someone who's just fallen in love with one of my books is pretty high in the happy-stakes, but to be honest, walking along the beach in Turkey, hand in hand with my wife on a warm summer evening, is about the best feeling in the world :)

Helen's comment: Aren't you the sweetest Paul!!

Well Folks - Hope you loved meeting Paul as much as I did!! Don't forget to pick up his book WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING today! Here it is again...

Thank you so much! And please come back for more I'm Tellin Helen!!

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