Every 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... European P. Douglas.
European is the author of the ALDERMAN JAMES MYSTERY THRILLER SERIES set in the late eighteenth century, as well as the standalone RATTLEYARD.
Q1. Hello European! Can You Tell Us A Bit About Yourself And Your Books?
My name is European P. Douglas and I write historical mystery thrillers, ghost stories and am also plotting for a speculative fiction series as well. I am Irish and live in Dublin with my wife and two little boys aged four and two.
Q2. What Three Things Should Readers Expect From A European P. Douglas novel?
Hopefully not to guess the killer, small doses of history on the side (you won’t even notice you’re learning something) and short quick paced chapters.
Q3. Can You Tell Us About The Main Character In Your Series?
The main character in my series is Albert James (though you never find out his first name in the book, so this is a reveal!). He is an Alderman in Dublin between the years 1775-1795. In his younger years he was a typical British Authority figure in Ireland, and he commanded as rioting weavers were shot and some killed. He was despised in Dublin for this. A brush with death made him see the error of his judgement and now he does what he can to try to protect the people of the city in an attempt to atone for the wrong he has done.
Q4. If Your Books Were Turned Into Movies, Who Would Play Your Main Character?
I think it would be perfect for someone like Patrick Stewart. He might have to put on a little weight though.
Q5. How Do You Come Up With The Ideas For Your Stories – What Is Your Inspiration?
They come from various places and sometimes I can’t even be sure myself. The first of the Dolocher books with Alderman James is actually very loosely based on a myth from Dublin’s past in the early 1700s.
Other stories come from things I look up, I am a relentless Googler and you never know where you will find yourself - just today I was looking up the history of scalping (I don’t know why I was doing this) as a practice, and all sorts of things were coming to me for a story.
Q6. What Do You Enjoy Most About Writing Mystery Thriller Novels?
I just love the writing! In this genre you get to move faster than others, and I think that momentum can make a writer feel very satisfied and spur on more inspiration as you go. To contrast this, I have been writing a literary fiction novel for almost eight years now and although it is much better than my other books, it could be another eight or ten years before I am happy with it - and that’s a pace no writer could live with before seeing a finished project.
Q7. What Are You Working On Right Now?
Right now I am writing the first draft (at a slow rate of about 350 words a day) of a short novel based on the theme of the Banshee of Irish Folklore. I hope to have that first draft done by August this year, and I’ll see how it looks then.
I am also plotting the final two Alderman James novels and a five book series set in the same small town in America in the early 21st Century.
Q8. Who Are Your Favourite Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Authors?
I only recently finished the complete Sherlock Holmes collection and I have to say I really enjoyed all of it. I also like the detective Dupin in Edgar Allen Poe’s stories.
Q9. You're Being Sent To A Desert Island. You Can Only Take One Book With You. What Is It?
That’s a very hard question, there are so many books I would like to read again but I don’t think it will ever happen as I always have so many books still to go. I guess for this reason I would have to go with something new and something long to pass the time. I haven’t gotten to 1Q84 by Murakami yet so maybe that, or I could have another go an Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace? I’d probably take my literary fiction novel with me too and finally get it finished!
Q10. How Do You Get Away With The Perfect Murder?
Don’t know the victim, don’t over plan it, don’t repeat the crime, don’t engage conversation about killers, don’t do anything to atone for what you have done - if you can do all of that you are an evil bastard but you just might get away with it!