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Monday, 9 August 2010

Interview with Author, Richard Jay Parker

As Richard Parker, this author’s been a professional TV writer for years, starting with the BBC, and becoming a head writer and script editor. He produced a number of TV shows only to discover it a thankless task. He decided to try getting a novel published and got an inside perspective by reading new novels for a literary talent scout.  Just as he was becoming convinced the only way to achieve publication was to become a Z list celeb, Ben Mason at Conville and Walsh submitted STOP ME.  It was picked up for publication by Allison and Busby.   

SA: How did the concept of the book come about?
RJP: I get SPAM every day and it struck me how bizarre the idea of not being happy or wealthy if you don't forward an email to ten friends is.  Usually the contents are quite innocuous which makes the threat seem a little sinister.  It got me thinking about what people's reaction would be to the email if someone's life depended on it being forwarded.  Would they still ignore it or would they be more inclined to send it on just in case?  It's certainly been a talking point with readers.
SA: How did you set about writing STOP ME?
RJP: My brief throughout was to try and confound the reader at every turn.  Readers love trying to second guess where a plot is going and there's great satisfaction from having your suspicions confirmed.  However, it's even more exciting to be taken in the exactly the direction you don't expect. 
SA: Did you know what the twist was going to be before you started writing?
RJP: I always knew how the story was going to end but the whole Leo/Bookwalter relationship was something I had great fun with.  I think readers will have expectations about where this will lead and I wanted to keep them guessing right up to the wire.  Most readers I’ve spoken to are blindsided by the twist. 
SA: What is your writing background? 
RJP: I spent a good while writing TV scripts as well as script editing and producing.  I started by submitting material on spec to TV companies and was told fairly consistently that my ideas weren't up to scratch.  I eventually got a few pieces picked up, however, and that led to commissions and a more active role in production.  After fifteen years I made the decision to leave my TV agent and started from scratch.  I got an agent with my first book but I think this lulled me into a false sense of security.  My work didn't get picked up and I was still working out what sort of material I was comfortable with.  Then I started writing thrillers but it was a couple of other agents, eight manuscripts and a lot of near misses later before I got an offer.
 SA: Are you able to talk about the next project you are working on? 
RJP: Am currently rewriting book 2 for my publisher.  Its title is still to be agreed but I can tell you that it explores some of the elements that I touched upon in STOP ME (Internet intimidation) but opens out into a bigger, international story.  I hope to be able to tell you more about it very soon.  
Richard's website: www.richardjayparker.com
STOP ME can be bought from Waterstones, Amazon etc.
For International Customers (get 30% off and FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING): http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780749007072/Stop-Me
STOP ME has just been shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award:  
http://www.thecwa.co.uk/daggers/2010/newblood.html  The three finalists are announced on August 9th.

Word of the Day is divorced from the post that precedes it and produced in response to a request from a follower to provide just such a service.
Word of the Day; elegy – a poem written in a mournful or pensive style, a poem for the dead. ‘Listen, Punk, quit bugging me or I’ll pen an elegy to you. But I’m not dead. It can be arranged.’

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