Simon Hall - Compelling Crime Mystery

Simon Hall - Compelling Crime Mystery
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Simon Hall is an author, journalist, communications consultant and business coach. He lectures, and mentors companies at the Judge Business School, part of the University of Cambridge, working on presentation skills, branding, pitching, websites, photography and videography, and media profile, both conventional and social. He also teaches communication skills to University of Cambridge academics and researchers, and PhD students. Prior to working in Cambridge, he was a broadcaster for twenty-five years, mostly as a BBC Television, Radio and Online News Correspondent, covering some of the biggest stories Britain has seen. Simon has had eight novels published, all in the crime and thriller genre. Alongside his novels and stories, Simon is a tutor in media skills and creative writing, teaching at popular Writers' Summer Schools such as Swanwick and Winchester, for the National Association of Writers' Groups, at universities including Cambridge and Exeter, on cruise ships and overseas. Simon has also become sought after as a speaker, appearing at a variety of prestigious literary festivals. As our Author of the Day, Hall tells us all about his latest book, The Editor.

Please give us a short introduction to what The Editor is about.

The book is about how to rediscover hope in life when all seems lost, and how that’s never so easy to achieve.

What inspired you to use a newspaper advert as a way to bring four strangers together?

The leader of the group, Ed, has discovered the secret of restoring hope in life, following the dreadful traumas he suffered, and wants to share it with others.

The newspaper advert is the only way he can think of to gather fellow sufferers to do so.

But as he places it, he wonders how many people will turn up to the meeting he has arranged, if any? And he is more than surprised by the answer.

Why is Mitch, Olivia, Florence and Ed such a great team?

They make a great team because they are such a contrasting yet strangely complimentary characters.

Mitch with his quiet depths of intensity, Olivia with her brilliance and anger towards the world, Florence with her gentleness and dignity in the face of adversity, and Ed with his sense of parenthood and growing affection for the other three. Together they make a formidable unit, even if they don’t always realise so themselves.

You are an author, journalist, communications consultant and business coach. How have your life experiences influenced your writing?

I’m privileged in that I get to see so much of life from my work, and meet such a vast range of people. I am a great stealer of characteristics and stories, and I experience remarkable people doing extraordinary things, so I’m fortunate to have an endless source of stories to tell, and characters to feature in them.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of 1980s pop lyrics, I can crack cryptic crosswords at a ferocious rate, and I have an endless stock of terrible jokes.

Among the wealth of characters in The Editor, who was the most difficult to create?

Mitch was the most difficult, because he is the most private and secretive. He has an inner narrative which he isn’t keen to share, so it took me a long time to get to know him as he doesn’t like to reveal himself.

And if that sounds strange, that I’m talking about Mitch as though he’s a real person, a friend, even, I think that’s healthy for a writer. Because if I don’t believe in my characters, how can I write convincingly about them?

Why murder-mystery? What drew you to the genre?

I love murder mystery because in simple terms it comes down to a battle of wits, between good and bad, and gives us something to root for, which side we want to come out on top. It’s a primeval human understanding, the difference between good and evil, and I think it resonates with many readers for that reason.

The book contains some twists. Did you plan them out from the start? Or did it just "happen" as you were writing?

Most of the twists were planned, in the story at least. But the character twists were not.

The four took on lives of their own, and started to surprise me with what they did.

Mitch in particular kept confounding me with how I thought he would behave, but then what he actually did was completely different.

Olivia was almost as bad. You really can’t restrain her, she’s got such wonderful spirit, and she is afraid of nothing. I think I might be in love with her, but don’t tell anyone, please.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received?

To coin a phrase, just do it. It is the most wonderful, joyful, fulfilling pastime you could ever have in my humble view. The true gift that keeps on giving.

I have learnt so much about myself, other people, and the world around me from writing. I would recommend it to anyone.

Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?

Endlessly. I was wondering whether I would write about them again as they have caused me so much trouble, but I have to say I’m missing them already. And even better, they are nagging me to start setting down more of their remarkable stories, so I think I’m going to have no choice.

Do you have a favorite line from the book, and can you explain what that line means to you?

My favourite line is where Ed reveals to the others the secret of restoring hope in life.

It’s only three words long, but it’s beautiful, simple, and brilliant.

Apologies that I can’t reveal what it is here, as it would be too much of a spoiler, but I just love it.

it’s something I managed to work out myself after many years of suffering similar darkness to the characters in The Editor, so it means a great deal to me.

What is an average writing day like for you? Do you have any interesting writing habits? Favorite writing spot, the best time of the day to write, inspiration etc.?

My best writing time is in the morning. I’ve changed my life to be a writer in that I now go to bed early so that I can get up early and start work.

Initially I feared I would struggle, or resent it, but I love writing, and look forward to getting back to my laptop so much that it’s never been a problem.

In terms of my habits, I can get so into my work that I will forget to wash. Last weekend I was happily writing away until mid afternoon, and only then did it occur to me I should perhaps have a shower.

As for inspiration, I’m lucky enough to have a garden with a gang of effervescent sparrows living in the hedge. I delight in putting down food for them, and watching them swirl around, chirping and chattering. It always brings a smile, and helps to inspire me.

simon4

What are you working on right now?

The follow-up to the editor, and it’s coming together beautifully.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

I enjoy tweeting about my writing and teaching work, and also posting photos of the places I’ve visited and the people I’ve met. You can find me on Twitter @SimonHallnews.

You can also get in touch with me via my website, and see everything I’m up to there. The address is www.thetvdetective.com

Please give us a short introduction to what The Editor is about.

The book is about how to rediscover hope in life when all seems lost, and how that’s never so easy to achieve.

What inspired you to use a newspaper advert as a way to bring four strangers together?

The leader of the group, Ed, has discovered the secret of restoring hope in life, following the dreadful traumas he suffered, and wants to share it with others.

The newspaper advert is the only way he can think of to gather fellow sufferers to do so.

But as he places it, he wonders how many people will turn up to the meeting he has arranged, if any? And he is more than surprised by the answer.

Why is Mitch, Olivia, Florence and Ed such a great team?

They make a great team because they are such contrasting yet strangely complementary characters.

Mitch with his quiet depths of intensity, Olivia with her brilliance and anger towards the world, Florence with her gentleness and dignity in the face of adversity, and Ed with his sense of parenthood and growing affection for the other three. Together they make a formidable unit, even if they don’t always realize so themselves.

You are an author, journalist, communications consultant and business coach. How have your life experiences influenced your writing?

I’m privileged in that I get to see so much of life from my work and meet such a vast range of people. I am a great stealer of characteristics and stories, and I experience remarkable people doing extraordinary things, so I’m fortunate to have an endless source of stories to tell, and characters to feature in them.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I have an encyclopedic knowledge of 1980s pop lyrics, I can crack cryptic crosswords at a ferocious rate, and I have an endless stock of terrible jokes.

Among the wealth of characters in The Editor, who was the most difficult to create?

Mitch was the most difficult because he is the most private and secretive. He has an inner narrative that he isn’t keen to share, so it took me a long time to get to know him as he doesn’t like to reveal himself.

And if that sounds strange, that I’m talking about Mitch as though he’s a real person, a friend, even, I think that’s healthy for a writer. Because if I don’t believe in my characters, how can I write convincingly about them?

Why murder-mystery? What drew you to the genre?

I love murder mystery because in simple terms it comes down to a battle of wits, between good and bad, and gives us something to root for, which side we want to come out on top. It’s a primeval human understanding, the difference between good and evil, and I think it resonates with many readers for that reason.

The book contains some twists. Did you plan them out from the start? Or did it just "happen" as you were writing?

Most of the twists were planned, in the story at least. But the character twists were not.

The four took on lives of their own and started to surprise me with what they did.

Mitch, in particular, kept confounding me with how I thought he would behave, but then what he actually did was completely different.

Olivia was almost as bad. You really can’t restrain her, she’s got such a wonderful spirit, and she is afraid of nothing. I think I might be in love with her, but don’t tell anyone, please.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received?

To coin a phrase, just do it. It is the most wonderful, joyful, fulfilling pastime you could ever have in my humble view. The true gift that keeps on giving.

I have learned so much about myself, other people, and the world around me from writing. I would recommend it to anyone.

Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?

Endlessly. I was wondering whether I would write about them again as they have caused me so much trouble, but I have to say I’m missing them already. And even better, they are nagging me to start setting down more of their remarkable stories, so I think I’m going to have no choice.

Do you have a favorite line from the book, and can you explain what that line means to you?

My favorite line is where Ed reveals to the others the secret of restoring hope in life.

It’s only three words long, but it’s beautiful, simple, and brilliant.

Apologies that I can’t reveal what it is here, as it would be too much of a spoiler, but I just love it.

it’s something I managed to work out myself after many years of suffering similar darkness to the characters in The Editor, so it means a great deal to me.

What is an average writing day like for you? Do you have any interesting writing habits? Favorite writing spot, the best time of the day to write, inspiration etc.?

My best writing time is in the morning. I’ve changed my life to be a writer in that I now go to bed early so that I can get up early and start work.

Initially, I feared I would struggle, or resent it, but I love writing, and I look forward to getting back to my laptop so much that it’s never been a problem.

In terms of my habits, I can get so into my work that I will forget to wash. Last weekend I was happily writing away until mid-afternoon, and only then did it occur to me I should perhaps have a shower.

As for inspiration, I’m lucky enough to have a garden with a gang of effervescent sparrows living in the hedge. I delight in putting down food for them and watching them swirl around, chirping and chattering. It always brings a smile and helps to inspire me.

What are you working on right now?

The follow-up to the editor, and it’s coming together beautifully.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

I enjoy tweeting about my writing and teaching work and also posting photos of the places I’ve visited and the people I’ve met. You can find me on Twitter @SimonHallnews.

You can also get in touch with me via my website, and see everything I’m up to there. The address is www.thetvdetective.com