Each Thursday I ask ten questions to authors of mystery, thriller and suspense about their books, their inspirations and how to get away with the perfect murder. In the hot seat this week is... Peter J Merrigan
Peter was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. He was first published in the Simon & Schuster anthology, Children of the Troubles, at the age of 17 and has since been crafting thrillers that blend clever plots with big emotions. Peter is also a closeted sci-fi and tech geek who likes to break things just so he can figure out how to fix them again. Because science...
Q1. Hello Peter! Can You Tell Us A Bit About Yourself And Your Books?
My name is Peter J Merrigan and I was born and raised in Northern Ireland. After a Bachelors in Writing at university in London, I spent nineteen years in England working my way up from bar staff to marketing consultant.
In 2015 I returned to Ireland and now live in the beautifully picturesque County Donegal and freelance as a content writer when I’m not working on my own novels. I was first published at the age of 17 and since then have published The Camel Trail, and the Rider series, ‘thrillers with heart’ as they were once described.
I usually try to find the most ordinary characters imaginable, and then thrust all-out hell on them and see how they react.
Q2. What Three Things Should Readers Expect From A Peter J Merrigan Novel?
With a background in marketing, you’d think I’d be much better at selling myself than I actually am!
Three things? Ordinary lives, extraordinary circumstances, and… pain (not for the reader, of course; I reserve that for the characters).
Q3. Can You Tell Us About Your Character Kane Rider?
In the Rider series, Kane Rider’s partner is stabbed to death right in front of him and before Kane has a chance to grieve, he’s thrust headlong into a world of secrets and lies.
He’s a young gay man from Northern Ireland who wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of his life with his partner, Ryan.
Throughout the series of books, we quickly learn what Kane is made of, and we follow the arc of his strengthening spirit from the vulnerable weeping widow we first find him as, to the strong man he becomes.
The final novel in the series, due out in 2018, will pit Kane Rider against his greatest foe yet.
Q4. If Your Books Were Turned Into Movies, Who Would Play Your Main Characters?
Although there are a wealth of talented young actors out there, I think Kane Rider should be played by a newcomer, someone with a real Irish accent, not the fake accents of Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise!
However, I do see Kane’s nemesis in the first book as James Nesbitt. That would be amazing.
Q5. How Do You Come Up With The Ideas For Your Stories – What Is Your Inspiration?
I find inspiration in the ordinariness of the world around me: overhearing a snippet of conversation on a bus, seeing an image in a magazine…
The inspiration for Kane Rider stemmed from a slow-moving funeral procession and while everybody else was probably thinking, ‘Hurry up, I have work to get to,’ I was wondering who was in the hearse and why.
How that turned in to a crime-thriller trilogy is between me and my therapist! [Laughing]
Q6. What Do You Enjoy Most About Writing Thrillers?
In a nutshell, I love the thrill of the chase. It doesn’t matter who’s chasing who or for what reason, all that matters is that someone is on the run.
Whether it’s a young woman and her kid on the run from a violent husband (The Camel Trail) or a man on the run from an international mafia-esque organisation (Rider), the important part is elevating tension and heart rates.
I love putting your ordinary next door neighbour in the crosshairs and watching his reaction. And in truth, sometimes those reactions surprise even me!
Q7. What Are You Working On Right Now?
Interestingly, I’m working on two novels right now. The first is the Rider series finale (world exclusive title reveal: this final Rider novel will be called, simply, ‘Kane’ – you heard it here first). I’m reluctant to let go of Kane Rider and his friends, but it’s time to put the story to bed.
Additionally, I’m taking quite the departure from my standard fare as I work on a novel set 2,500 years ago in Celtic Ireland. It will still be a thriller of sorts, but with sword and shield rather than bombs and guns.
It follows a young man destined for great power among his tribes-people, and the events leading up to his murder at the hands of his lover.
Q8. Who Are Your Favourite Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Authors?
I used to have a lot of love for James Patterson and John Grisham in my early days, but do like the occasional Ian Rankin, Elmore Leonard or Tess Gerritsen.
Lately, all I’ve managed to read are history textbooks on Celtic Ireland as I research my new novel, but I have a vast collection of novels on my Kindle that are still to be read. I’ll get around to them eventually.
Q9. You're Being Sent To A Desert Island. You Can Only Take One Book With You. What Is It?
My ideas journal. I’m sure, one day, I’ll see a lonely boat out in the distant waters, maybe with a black sail, and it will spark a story idea about modern-day pirates being chased by the ghosts of their past.
If I don’t write it down, I’ll probably forget it! (I’m allowed to bring a pen, too, right?)
Q10. How Do You Get Away With The Perfect Murder?
Industrial bleach and urine… But I’m not telling you how. You’ll have to read the Rider series to find out...