Today, on my weekly Author Interview Blog I have the pleasure of chatting with Stewart Giles. Stewart is the author of 3 brilliant Detective series’: DS Smith, DC Harriet Taylor & the Smith & Taylor series. Plus an awesome stand-alone psychological thriller: Miranda (that isnt actually stand-alone). He has also self-published some books and others were published by Joffe Books. I am sure you are all wanting to hear what he has to say so….
Hello Stewart, thank you for joining me today.
Yesterday you launched TROTTERDOWN a box set of the first three Detective Harriet Taylor books. Can you tell us a little about how you came to write a second detective series and why you decided to release these as a box set?
I’d written eight books in one series and an agent was interested in the ninth. When she eventually told me she’d have to pass, as a ninth book in a series was unlikely to appeal to a publisher, I thought ‘bugger this – I’m writing a new series.’ And that’s where The Beekeeper came from. After The Perfect Murder and The Backpacker I thought now was a good time to put all of them together as a box set, and Trotterdown seemed like a great title.
The Beekeeper was my first professional promotion and I am sure I was jumping up and down as much as you were when it hit the number 1 bestseller spot on Amazon Australia. Although you have published 2 books through Joffe Books you mainly self-publish your books. Can you explain the advantages of self-publishing for any authors out there who think getting a book accepted by a publisher is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
That’s a great question. That was a moment I can only describe as surreal. I didn’t think it was possible. I’d self-published for three years when I was approached by Jasper from Joffe Books. Fortunately, I’d finished The Beekeeper at the time and they published it. If I’m to be brutally honest, I much prefer the self-publishing route. Having a publisher is great – they have the knowledge to be able to get your books out to a much wider audience, but I much prefer being in control of every aspect of the publishing process and that’s why self-publishing suits me down to the ground. I have an amazing editor/agent/publicist and all round awesome human being, who keeps me grounded and never misses a typo or timeline error, and I would recommend any aspiring self-publishing writer to get some help like that. It is priceless.
You recently released ENIGMA which brought together your Smith and Harriet Taylor series into book one of a new series. Can you tell us a little about where that idea came from and the problems that arise from writing 3 series’?
After the third or fourth book in a series, I find it gets a lot easier – the characters have their own traits and they tend to write themselves after a while, so I wanted more of a challenge. A few of my writer friends have different series and they introduce protagonists of other series into the plot in cameo roles. The above mentioned editor/agent etc mentioned this and I decided to go one step further and have a collaboration of my two main protagonists. Smith and Harriet are both very strong characters who couldn’t be more different from one another, but they worked well together in a book.
I have to ask about MIRANDA. I mean 3 series on the go and you decide to branch out and write a completely different stand-alone psychological thriller!! Where did that idea come from? Also, I heard a rumour it isn’t actually stand-alone you have been ‘persuaded’ to write a sequel can you tell us more about that too?
Miranda was another way of challenging myself. Besides the fact it was designed to be a standalone, I wanted to experiment with intermingling 1st and 3rd person and still trying to keep the flow going. I loved writing Miranda. After five years of series, it was a kind of break from the norm. And it’s probably the first book I’ve ever written that totally engulfed me and drained me. In a very good way, I have to add. As for the sequel, that’s my own fault. I’ve been informed by just about everybody who has read it that the ending begs for another instalment.
So, what do you have planned to keep your readers’ adrenaline pumping? I know you can write a book in weeks rather than months’, so we are always awaiting news of the next book.
Dropzone, the next Smith/Harriet book is halfway done, so that should be out early June, then it’s Venom which is a new Smith thriller. I’ve already started that and, all being well it will be out around September time. I’ve also got an idea for the abovementioned Miranda sequel, and the follow-up to Venom is also spinning around in my head.
I know you are a man of many talents and while you are feeding our appetite for adrenaline pumping thrillers you get your kicks from jumping out of aeroplanes and racing Yachts in stormy seas. Can you tell us more about the man behind the author and how your hobbies influence your writing?
I’m fortunate enough to live in a peaceful village in South Africa with short winters and long, hot summers. I’m also a stones through from a huge expanse of water and a skydiving drop zone, which I take full advantage of. At weekends, if I’m not flying over the Vaal Dam I’m sailing on it. Both are equally inspirational – skydiving frees you mind of everything, and sailing has a unique calming effect. When I’m on the ground I like to play one of my 40-odd electric guitars. I once read something about writing what you know, and this is spot on. Smith plays guitar and Harriet sails. I reckon every book you write is semi-autobiographical – even in a subconscious sense. You can’t help it. I have 3 dogs – I love dogs, and Smith is the same. Smith drinks a lot of beer. Say no more.
Thank you very much for joining us today and we all wish you luck with your writing career.
Thank you so much for the questions. Thoroughly enjoyed this. And I’m not done with writing for a very long time yet.
Read on for information on Stewart Giles’ books:
DS Jason Smith Series
Phobia: 5 early DS Smith cases Buy from Amazon
Phobia is a series of five DS Jason Smith cases he worked on before we met him in the first book ‘Smith’. We get insights into what moulded him to be the Detective Sergeant we first get a glimpse of in ‘Smith’. Smith quickly realizes that police work isn’t always cut and dried. Justice is not always black and white; there are many shades of grey in between.
Smith (DS Smith Book 1) Buy from Amazon
It is Christmas Day in York. A woman is found dead in her bed. A suicide note is found on her chest. It reads ‘I am so sorry Martin’. Hours later the police are called to a house a few miles away. A mother and her daughter have been brutally attacked; the mother is dead, and the daughter is barely alive. The father is found shaking uncontrollably in the corner of the room. He is covered in blood, but he is unharmed. His name is Martin Willow.
Boomerang (DS Smith Book 2) Buy from Amazon
A man is killing people in York. Initially the murders appear to be the random acts of a maniac. Detective Jason Smith is put in charge of the investigation. It soon becomes clear that the murders are all connected to him in one way or another. All the killings correspond to events in Smith’s life and the murderer leaves dates at the crime scene which tie up to important dates in Smith’s history.
Ladybird (DS Smith Book 3) Buy from Amazon
Detective Sergeant Jason Smith is days away from the end of his sick leave after a case that almost cost him his life when he gets a call from an old friend. His friend has been arrested for the murder of a student. He wants Smith to investigate the murder and prove his innocence. Smith is persuaded return to work. The student was killed with a bread knife. Ladybirds were scattered on his dead body
Occam’s Razor (DS Smith Book 4) Buy from Amazon
A football player is shot dead in front of a packed crowd of people. DS Jason Smith is put in charge of the investigation. The murder weapon is found in a house across the road from the football ground. It is a rare Russian army issue sniper rifle. As the investigation hits dead end after dead end, two government agents arrive and take over, pushing Smith and his colleagues to the side.
Harlequin (DS Smith Book 5) Buy from Amazon
The circus comes to town and children start to disappear. Detective Sergeant Jason Smith is persuaded to return to work after three weeks of a marijuana induced haze. Forced to endure the leadership of a new DI, the fulsome Bryony Brownhill, Smith is faced with the most difficult investigation of his colourful career. When the children who vanished are found murdered in various parts of the city, all clues lead to the circus grounds, but Smith and his team are met with a sinister silence everywhere they turn.
Selene (DS Smith Book 6) Buy from Amazon
When a man is found tucked up in bed with his throat sliced open two days after Christmas, DS Jason Smith and his team are baffled. It appears he has been drugged, killed and carefully wrapped up in a duvet. The only evidence Smith finds are some strands of hair belonging to a woman. One month later, another man is killed in exactly the same manner but there appears to be no link whatsoever to the two men apart from the fact that they were both single, lonely and middle aged.
Horsemen (DS Smith Book 7) Buy from Amazon
One draining murder investigation after another has left DS Jason on the brink of losing his sanity and he needs a break. A string of armed robberies at the McDonalds in the city of York are getting in the way. Smith’s DI makes him a deal; if he can get to the bottom of it, he can have two weeks off. Smith figures out who the brains behind the robberies is; the young wife of Jimmy Phoenix, the owner of all the McDonalds franchises in the city.
Unworthy (DS Jason Smith Book 8) Buy from Amazon
DS Jason Smith is dragged away from paternity leave when a woman is killed with her baby in the next room. When more women with children are brutally murdered, Smith discovers that they all have something in common – they all share a secret. Then he finds out that the mother of his own child is on this list of ‘Unworthy’ women.
DC Harriet Taylor Series
The Beekeeper (DC Harriet Taylor Book 1). Buy from Amazon
Alice Green is a beekeeper in the small Cornish village of Polgarrow. She lives with her pet jackdaw in a beautiful cottage not far from the sea. One evening, Alice finds something strange under the hollyhock bush in her garden. The gruesome discovery will change everyone’s lives. And then Alice’s best friend Milly disappears…
The Perfect Murder (DC Harriet Taylor Book 2) Buy from Amazon
Two cats are found mutilated in the same town. Detective Harriet Taylor is reluctant to investigate, but then one of their owners is killed a bizarre way that same day. Harriet and the team step in. The dead woman has four words written on her neck — four very ambiguous words. Then another body turns up with the same words written on it. Harriet fears the worst — a serial killer is on the loose in the small Cornish town of Trotterdown.
The Backpacker (DC Harriet Taylor Book 3) Buy from Amazon
A girl’s body is found hidden in a remote spot of a Cornish Farm. The same farm that a young girl ran towards to escape her pursuer many years before. Who would kill a young backpacker who hurt nobody? Is there a link between this and a mystery from many years ago?
TROTTERDOWN (DC Harriet Taylor Books 1-3) Buy from Amazon
Do you like gripping thrillers that are a little different? Meet Detective Harriet Taylor in this gripping series set in Cornwall From #1 best-selling author: Stewart Giles.
Three gripping thrillers in one, great value, box set.
DS Jason Smith & DC Harriet Taylor Series
The Enigma (DS Smith & DC Taylor Book 1) Buy from Amazon
In Trotterdown, Cornwall a boat, The Enigma washes in to the harbour. The skipper is dead, and Harriet Taylor is brought in to investigate. But 1 dead body is not the only crime the team have to deal with. Meanwhile, further up the coast in Whitby a boat washes up on the rocks just outside the harbour. Everyone on board is dead. Whitby Police are out of their depth, so DS Jason Smith is called in to help. It soon becomes clear the cases are connected and the teams from York and Trotterdown settle down to work with each other.
Stand Alone thrillers
Miranda –a psychological thriller…buy from Amazon
Miranda is a unique read, the best book yet by Stewart Giles. Sentenced to life in a secure hospital for the murder of 12 people Miranda tells her story. In the meantime, the reader is transported back to the time of the murders as we follow DI Keene and her team along the many twists, turns and dead ends as they try to find the murderer of several unrelated victims. This is an edge-of-your-seat, adrenaline pumping read that will have you turning the pages all the way to the totally unexpected ending. Buckle up this is a bumpy ride