Shots: The Crime & Mystery Ezine

Simon Kernick talks to Ali Karim of Shots Ezine

Photography © Ali Karim

Simon Kernick Simon Kernick is a writer who dispels the old stereotype that British crime-fiction is all about tea and crumpets in the vicarage and that the baddies had it coming to them, while the goodies rely on the Ďgrey matterí to solve the case. In Kernickís world it is hard to tell the bad guys from the good, and as for the Ďgrey matterí - thatís where his characters lurk - a world that is neither black, nor white, but bathed in the grey blur of contradiction and murky morality that is gangland London. It is a world of prostitutes, pimps, drug-lords, hit-men, corrupt cops and where scores are settled by gun barrels and bruised knuckles rather than erudite and upper-class sleuths working from their leather-backed armchairs.

Simon Kernick arrived into the world of crime-fiction with his debut novel from Transworld Publishers - The Business of Dying and featured the adventures of police inspector Dennis Milne, who also works at night for a gang-lord as a hit-man. The novel garnered excellent reviews from both the British and US crime-fiction community and made it onto January Magazineís best of 2002 where Kernick was described as ĎDefinitely a writer to watchí. It gained a nomination in George Easterís Deadly Pleasures Magazine for a Barry Award for best British Crime Novel at Bouchercon 2003 in Las Vegas.

Released last year in the UK and due for US release in 2004 is his follow-up, which again is set deep in the world of gangland North London and entitled The Murder Exchange. It tells the story of former mercenary and underworld enforcer Max Iversson who ends up on the run when one of his men turns traitor and kills a client.

Gary Phillips and Simon Kernick Kernickís work does not shy away from extreme violence, because his stories are centred around gangland London, while his characters weave in and out of their own personal contradictions like predatory sharks in a grey ocean. Often compared to early Dennis Lehane as well as classic British gangster movies, his work is fast paced and rarely justifies itself on issues such as morality or navel-gazing. Kernick paints the world in the way he sees it, not all good, not all bad, but a mixture of both.

Shots travelled to London to have a drink with Simon Kernick in order to uncover what lurks within his own grey matter, and why a middle class kid became so attracted to the criminal underworld of North London, and why he Ďexchangedí the world of swords, magic-potions and sorcererís spells for Uzi 9mms, sawn-off shotguns and brass knuckles; and to find out what he had in store for us in his third novel, The Crime Trade, due for release shortly.


Q     Can you let us know why and how you came about writing?

Iíve been writing stories ever since I was old enough to pick up a pen, and as Iíve got older, so theyíve got longer, more lucid, and hopefully more entertaining. I knew from a very young age that writing was something that I wanted to earn my living doing - mainly because it was one of the few things I was any good at - but it actually took me until I was thirty-five to get a pubishing deal. Before that, Iíd written two crime books (neither of which was good enough to see the light of day) and two science fiction/fantasy books. I think, with me, it was a case of practising constantly until the end result was finally publishable.

Q      I guess you came from a middle class family, and yet your work is set in the underworld. Can you explain that contradiction?

I am from a middle-class family but, like a lot of people from all backgrounds, Iíve always been interested in organised crime, both in a contemporary and historical context. I find it fascinating that criminals can run their operations like big corporations, often right under the noses of the authorities, while the latter seem curiously unwilling or unable to do much about them. I think thatís particularly the case in this country (the UK), where this type of criminal activity has thrived for many years. Even when theyíre caught, they often get a book deal!

From a writerís point of view, I also think that gangsters help to make great crime stories because they tend to be entertaining, if amoral, characters, while at the same time, they always have the necessary resources to mount mulitple challenges to the hero, which is always useful if you want to keep your story moving at a rapid pace.

Book Jacket, The Business Of Dying Q      And your education was in North London?

No, I was educated at the local comprehensive school in Henley-on-Thames, the town in south Oxfordshire, about thirty miles from London, where I grew up. I live back there now and most of my friends are people I went to school with.

Q      What books in your youth do you feel were pivotal in your development? And was there a specific book that acted as a turning point?

I was a big sci-fi/fantasy reader in my youth, particularly my teenage years. The Lord of The Rings was probably the most influential of the books I read, followed very closely by the early works of Michael Moorcock, most notably the sagas of Corum and The Runestaff (stunning stuff and very under-rated, as are most things in this genre). I still dust off my old copies every few years or so, and give them another read. Unlike crime novels, it doesnít matter that you know whatís going to happen.

Q      But your first forays into the world of story telling were not in the crime fiction genre?

Exactly. As mentioned above, I wrote two sci-fi efforts, one an eighty page novella (it would have been a novel but I couldnít think of enough of a story), put together when I was seventeen, and the other a much longer piece, which was completed at the age of twenty-two. To be honest, they were both crap.

Q      So what did the linkages with SF/Fantasy teach you about the craft?

Story-telling is story-telling, whatever the genre youíre writing in, so completing those two books was very useful in so far as it gave me important experience in actually writing a story from beginning to end. Even if the end product itself wasnít much good.

Q      Can you tell us a little about those early scribbles?

Other than the fact that they werenít much good? Well, they were pretty much par-for-the-course swords and sorcery epics, where the good guys had to go on quests to get hold of magical powers that would help them vanquish the baddies that had taken over their lands. Both ended in immense battles that, in the case of the first piece, actually lasted over a quarter of the book. In neither story were there very many survivors, but the good guys always won, and I enjoyed writing them.

Q      Now that you are published, will you return to the SF/Fantasy genre?

Maybe one day, but definitely not in the near future. Crimeís been good to me, and Iíve done well writing it, so I donít see thereís much point in suddenly changing track.

Q      Can you tell us about your first experiences in the world of work?

I left sixth form college at nineteen and got a job as the Assistant Plant and Transport Manager at a local company of civil engineers, and do you know what? It was the best job I ever had. My boss was an old geezer nearing retirement whoíd been in the industry for years, was very laidback and prone to disappearing for long boozy lunches with his missus, leaving me to hold our very quiet fort, which meant reading a book, or, as was sometimes the case, writing one. After Iíd done the job for a year, I went abroad to Canada and Australia before returning to the UK to go to college in Brighton at the ripe old age of 22. Since then Iíve held jobs as a labourer building roads, a Christmas tree feller, and a barman, before finally settling in the computer industry as a salesman, a career I held for getting close to ten years, although if Iíd been a bit swifter in producing my breakthrough book, it would have been a lot shorter.

Q      How supportive was your wife during this period?

My wife Sally, who I met in 1992 (we married in 1994) has always been very supportive. She knew I always wanted to be a writer and gave every encouragement she could. She still does, putting up with my many mood swings with a patience that I only wish I possessed.

Q      And this led you to enter The Matrix world of IT sales? Can you tell us about that period?

I never wanted to be a salesman particularly, but when I left college in 1991, the UK was slap bang in the middle of a deep recession and jobs were scarce. Since companies always need a sales force to sell their products, regardless of the economic conditions, there were still sales jobs available, and the IT industry was about the only half-buoyant sector, so that was where I ended up. My job was to sell IT consultancy services to big companies who could afford our prices, and it was about as much fun as it sounds. However, in a way it helped my writing because the company I spent the most time with (some six years), were based in the central London borough of Islington, and when I was thinking about a setting for my first published book, The Business of Dying, I chose the area around where Iíd worked, because I knew it so well.

Q      Who was your Morpheus that showed you the way out? Was it by chance Lawrence Block?

I canít deny it, Lawrence Block was a major influence on my work, particularly the Scudder novels, which are so fantastically atmospheric. You can almost smell the stale beer and the New York traffic fumes. The first one I read was A Walk among the Tombstones, which was so good I bought up pretty much his whole back catalogue, and when youíre talking about the prolific Mr Block, thatís one hell of a lot of books.

Q      What aspect of Blockís work most interested you? Was it his Matt Scudder series, or perhaps the Burglar books or even his early erotica?

Scudder most interests me because the stories are dark but still tinged with a cynical, deadpan humour, but I do like Bernie the burglar as well. Itís amazing that two such opposite characters can be created from the same pen. However, I would like to point out that Iíve never read any of Lawrence Blockís erotica. I never look at such such stuff. Honest!

Q      You seem heavily influenced by the hard-boiled US tradition. Of the contemporary writers in that field, who do you see as the leading lights?

Well, Block for one. You donít get much more hard-boiled than Matt Scudder, but Iím also a huge fan of Dennis Lehane. His Kenzie and Gennaro books showed how good he is at putting together a really fast-moving, action-packed story that also delivered twists in abundance, whereas Mystic River proved that his characterisation is second-to-none. Other writers in that field whose work I never miss are Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly and Robert Crais, but Iím also partial to a bit of Andrew Vasch as well, because his take on the world is so left-field, and Burke is a stunning character. Almost as hard-boiled as Mr Scudder.

Q      Do you read much in the way of British crime fiction? And if so who interests you and why?

I read less British crime fiction than I should, which is something Iím trying hard to rectify. I recently completed Louise Welshís debut novel, The Cutting Room, and now I can see what all the fuss was about. Her protaganist, Rilke, is a truly original voice, which these days is something of a feat to achieve, and the storyís a gripping one from start to finish. I read it in two sittings. Iím also a lover of Mark Billinghamís work. Again, because he puts an original spin on things. The serial killer genreís a hard one in which to say something new, but with Sleepyhead and Scaredycat, Billingham manages it. I also like his DI, Tom Thorne, and Iím eagerly awaiting The Burning Girl. Other British writers I tend to read include Reg Hill, Ian Rankin, and Peter Robinson, all of whom can tell a damn good story. Iíd also like to mention John Connolly, because as an Irishman, he might get left out of this otherwise. I love his books. Gothic, bloody, twisting, and still retaining that cynical humour in even the darkest of tales; heís a real class act.

Q      Dennis Lehaneís Shutter Island has been gaining mixed reviews, dividing his followers right down the middle. What is your take on Lehaneís work and his influence on the genre?

Well, as I mentioned above, heís someone who I view as a must-read, although, having said that, I havenít got round to reading my copy of Shutter Island yet. Lehaneís influence on the genre should not be under-estimated, though. Heís someone whoís shown that you can write a literate crime novel thatís beautifully atmospheric, thought-provoking and unhurried, yet still utterly gripping. He demonstrated that with Mystic River. At the moment, heís one of crimeís great writers and someone you want to be compared with in a favourable light. When someone said that if you liked Lehaneís work, youíd like my book, The Business of Dying, I took that as a huge compliment. Itís a measure of the man that that was how it was intended.

Q      Do you heavily plot the story prior to writing or do you have an idea and run with it, hoping for the best?

I tend to have a basic plot, i.e. a beginning, a middle, and a rough ending, before I actually sit down and put pen to paper, but thatís about it. All the sub-plots and much of the underlying structure come about during, and even sometimes after, the first draft. With my third book, The Crime Trade, I changed the ending three times during the writing, so nothing with me is written in stone.

Q      In your debut, The Business of Dying, you take a very immoral lead character (Dennis Milne) and lead him to examine his life. How did that novel come about?

In one of my earlier, unpublished crime books, I had a chapter that centred around two men waiting to carry out a gangland hit in the carpark of a hotel called The Travellerís Rest. The chapter ends with one of the two shooting dead three men as they pull up in their Mitsibushi Shogun, and I thought if I took that chapter and turned it into a short story with a twist in the tale, the twist being that the shooter was a police officer, it might be publishable. I made the requisite changes, then decided that there was no point having it as a short story. Why not make a whole book of it?

What actually happened, however, was that I didnít get round to writing it but finally decided, on my dadís advice (not that he knew a thing about the publishing industry), to send the story off as a first chapter to literary agents and make out that Iíd written the whole book. I did as he recommended, putting a brief synopsis in with it, and the first agent I sent it to said he wanted to see the rest. What followed was three months of desperate writing, using up all my holiday entitlement for the year, only to have him reject it right at the end! Still, at least it was written, and much of that original draft remains in the finished article.

Q      Dennis Milne is a character full of contradictions, an almost London version of Highsmithís Tom Ripley. What is your take on having a hero who is deeply amoral and in some respects evil?

The thing is, with Milne, he pretty much wrote himself. I knew he was a deeply flawed character, but I couldnít help but like him, and obviously I was hoping that the reader felt the same way. Having talked to people whoíve read the book, it seems that most of them agreed. I couldnít have someone like him as the Ďheroí of every book, though. Iím interested in characters with contradictions in their make-up but, like most readers, I also like to see the good guys win, and I think it would be stretching things to look at Milne as a good guy. Having said that, he will be making a return in my fourth book, so there must be something about him.

Q      A great deal of British crime fiction features Asian sidekicks, and Milneís partner Asif Malik returns in The Murder Exchange. Can you explain the appeal of ethnic cops?

Funnily enough, as with Milne, Malik simply wrote himself. I didnít think of him so much as Asian, but more of a foil - and one with more obvious moral values - to Milneís anti-hero. I also think that having ethnic cops gives a good representation of the make-up of the British police force, particularly these days when the drive for ethnic recruits finally seems to be bearing fruit.

Q      You carried out extensive research and I know you have contacts within the metropolitan police. How did they view the finished work?

Iím happy to say that, to a man (and woman), they all liked it, and no oneís yet picked out any faults in the police procedure. My mother-in-law, who works for Customs and Excise found a mistake, though. Apparently, they donít have a third in command (anyone whoís read The Business of Dying will know what I mean).

Q      You have been compared to a literary version of Guy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Ritchie, due to the gritty feel of the London gangster underworld. Do you feel that this is a fair comparison?

I loved the film so I take it as a compliment. I think with The Business of Dying, though, that it was far darker than Lock Stock, a film which, in the main, was played for laughs. The Murder Exchange, which is a slightly lighter look at the London underworld has more in common, as does The Crime Trade, so yes, to a certain degree, itís a fair comparison.

Q      Are you a fan of British gngster movies, as I felt a kinship in your work to The Long Good Friday?

I love British gangster movies. The Long Good Friday was one of my favourites but possibly the best one of all time, based on one of the best gangster books of all time, was Get Carter. Fantastic stuff, and Michael Caine was perfect for the title role. Ted Lewis never really got the plaudits he deserved for writing that.

Q      The Business of Dying garnered excellent reviews from George Easter at Deadly Pleasures, Mike Stotterís Shots, crime writer Mark Timlin at the Independent as well as making January Magazineís best of 2002. How critical were those reviews for your debut?

Extremely so. Not only were they very encouraging, but I think that they certainly helped get publicity, which led to the all-important objective of books being sold. As a reader myself, I donít tend to buy books unless theyíve got at least a couple of good reviews on the cover, and I know a lot of other people think the same way, so it was a huge help that I got so many positive ones.

Q      You share Dennis Lehane and Lee Childís UK publisher Transworld. Can you tell us how you got the novel published? And your relationship with your agent?

Well, after The Business of Dying was rejected by the agent whoíd originally shown some interest in it, I shelved it for a few weeks and started thinking about writing something else, but Sally told me that I was being defeatist (which I suppose I was) and encouraged me to keep sending it out to other agents. Reluctantly, I took her advice (I have to admit that the initial rejection hit me very hard), re-wrote a few of the scenes, and was lucky enough to find another agent who was interested very quickly. They took me on, sent the book out to a number of publishers, and Transworld were the first ones I saw. I was so impressed with them (and I mean that, honestly) that, when they made an offer for The Business of Dying and a second book, I cancelled the other meetings weíd set up, and accepted immediately. Iím glad to say that itís a decision Iím very pleased with.

As to my relationship with my agent, Amanda Preston at Sheil Land Associates, and Amelia and Vanessa at Sheil Land Foreign Rights, itís a very good one. Their efforts on my behalf have meant that I can write full-time and still pay my mortgage, and you canít say fairer than that.

Q      You have a tremendous sense of humour and irony that show through into your writing. How critical is humour and irony in the hard-boiled tradition?

For me itís essential. If youíre dealing with the grimmer aspects of crime - murder, random violence, shattered lives - youíve got to be able to do it with some form of underlying humour, however black that humour is, because otherwise the stories can get too bleak. In the end, I want my readers to feel that theyíve been entertained as well as unnerved.

Book Jacket, The Murder Exchange Q      Your second novel The Murder Exchange has just been released in the UK and will be released next year in the US. Have your American publishers asked for any changes, particularly to cater for the US vernacular?

Surprisingly not. I would have thought a few of the phrases would have needed some translation but so far no oneís said anything, which is fine by me.

Q      What has been the US response to The Business of Dying?

So far, very good. Iíve had some really encouraging reviews, so hopefully theyíll translate into sales. But like all these things, it takes time.

Q      The Murder Exchange is written in a peculiar style. It has alternating first-person narratives from the two main characters (Iversson the mercenary and Gallan the cop) who converge when the mystery reaches its climax. How did this style come about and why?

Originally, I wrote The Murder Exchange in the third person but it didnít work. The characters simply didnít come alive and their humorous sides were utterly lost. Since both Iversson and Gallan were equal protaganists in terms of the amount of space they take up in the book, and since it wouldnít have felt right to have one in the first person and not the other, I put them both in the first person for the second draft, and it worked very well. Itís an unusual way of telling a story, but sometimes itís good to do things differently.

Q      How difficult was it to shift between these two completely different viewpoints?

A lot harder than I thought it was going to be. The problem is that because I was flitting between the two characters as I wrote, their voices tended to become blurred. Theyíd come out with the same phrases, the same mannerisms, so I had to go over the narrative again and again to make sure that in the final draft, they were fully distinct.

Q      There is a strong sexual element in your work from the nymphomaniac qualities in Elaine Toms, right through to the sub-plots dealing with prostitution. How much research did that entail?!

A lot less than Iíd have wanted!!

Q      You have a certain charm with character names, and in fact casting the name Toms made me smile (as tom is police-slang for prostitute). You also have a series of bit-players such as Big Mick, Fitz and Slim Robbie who are very well delineated. How important are secondary characters to you in terms of propelling the story forward?

Very. I think they help to keep both the reader and the writer interested, and provide a bit of variety. When youíre writing a 120,000 word story, you need some variety.

Q      I know that you are a bit of a true crime buff, reading widely in that genre. What appeals to you about, say, the works of Colin Wilson and Brian Masters?

That theyíre able to get into the heads of murderers and provide a real and important insight into what makes them tick. Iíve often wondered what type of person kills without hesitation and conscience, and both Wilson and Masters go some way towards answering that. Mastersí Killing for Company, about London-based serial killer, Dennis Nilson, will always be a particular favourite.

Q      North London appears strongly in your work, but do you see yourself broadening the canvas in future work?

I think Iím going to stick with North London for the next few books (Iíve got four, five and six roughly worked out), but after that, Iíd like to perhaps try my hand at something a bit more international. Maybe a whodunnit, set in the tropics (the research side of a book like that certainly appeals!). The thing about London, though, is that it does provide a very atmospheric backdrop to the kind of books I write, and thatís going to be difficult to replicate somewhere else.

Q      The book is very witty, with some diverse and funny metaphors in the sections written from Iverssonís perspective, and I felt that perhaps he is more like you than say the world-weary cop, Gallan. Do you feel that this is a true?

Iversson was definitely an easier character to write, but I donít know if that means heís closer in personality to me. I think thereís a bit of me in both of them, although I share Iverssonís sense of humour. Iím a much nicer bloke than him, though. Honest.

Q      For you, which writing style comes more naturally, first or third person?

A few months ago if youíd asked me that, I would have said first person, no question, but in The Crime Trade, I repeat the use of two main protaganists but while DI John Gallan returns in the first person, the man heís investigating, an undercover cop called ĎStegsí Jenner has his point of view told in the third person, and for some reason I havenít yet fathomed, it works really well (and thatís not just me saying that, my editor at Transworld agrees). The story also includes the viewpoints of a number of other lesser characters, and these too are told in third person, so the book works out at about 40% first, 60% third, and the whole thing felt completely natural to write. I think the answer to your questionís in there somewhere!

Q      Slap-bang in the centre of The Murder Exchange is a torture scene that this jaded and hardened reader winced and found almost impossible to read. This is the only third person section in the book. I realise that it is required to show how really bad Krys Holz is as a villain, but did you have any reservations on that scene?

I didnít at first, because Iíd tried hard to play the scene for laughs in an attempt to ease the general ferocity of what happens, and thought Iíd succeeded. However, when Sally read the book she told me she thought the whole scene was unnecessary and too gratuitous, so I took another look at it, and agreed with her. By that time, though, the book was in the hands of the publishers, and both my editor and agents thought that the scene should remain. In the end, I ummed and ahhed about it for a while but finally decided to keep it in because I wanted to show the reader graphically what a nasty piece of work Mr Holtz truly was, something that was important to the latter part of the book.

Q      What has been the response from other readers to that scene?

Not surprisingly, it gets mentioned a lot. Iíd say, on balance, the majority of people think that I was right to keep it in. However, a few people do disagree, but Iím glad to say that it doesnít appear to have spoiled anyoneís enjoyment of the book at all.

Q      There is strong violence in all your books, as they are set in the London gangster world, but are there any lines that you would not cross? Or can fiction be devoid from moral responsibility?

I personally wouldnít write a scene that involved gratuitous violence against a child or children, because I find that sort of thing too shocking. I think a writer has a responsibility to be careful what he or she writes, because certain crimes should never be viewed, however indirectly, as entertainment, but at the same time, I prefer the idea of self-censorship to that of censorship by any other body.

Q      I assume the cryptic dedication in The Murder Exchange is to your child. Can you tell me how having children affects your writing both practically as well as psychologically?

Psychologically, I donít think itís made that much difference. Practically it does, though. Since having kids, Iíve had to de-camp to my mumís house just round the corner to do most of my writing. My house isnít big enough for peace and quiet. Maybe one day when I get famous, Iíll have an annexe of my own but in the meantime, I have to hassle the parents. Most of The Murder Exchange was written round their house.

Q      Why did you decide to leave Dennis Milne out of The Murder Exchange when he was such an interesting character? And will he return?

I originally wrote The Business of Dying as a standalone and it was only after Iíd finished that I thought it might be interesting to bring him back. However, by that time, Iíd already decided on The Murder Exchange as my second book and obviously there was no room for Dennis in that. Heís not in The Crime Trade either, but a good baddie never stays down forever and heís back in my fourth book, which Iím currently working on and which will be released in June 2005.

Q      I see that you have entered the world of book-promotion, a necessary aspect of an authorís life in todayís publishing world. What have been your experiences being on the road promoting your work? And have you met any strange readers?

Funnily enough, I havenít met any strange readers as yet, with the exception of you, of course, Ali. No, I jest. Iím only just starting to get on the road with any regularity but itís excellent getting the opportunity to meet people who are interested in you and what youíve got to say, and it always gives me a warm glow when someone tells me theyíve enjoyed one or more of my books.

Q      So your next release in June 2004 is The Crime Trade. Would you care to tell us a little about it?

Book Jacket, The Crime Trade The Crime Trade continues the loose London-based series I started with The Business of Dying and The Murder Exchange. DS John Gallan, now a DI, returns from his forays in The Murder Exchange and quickly finds himself in trouble when a police sting heís helped organise to catch Colombian drug dealers goes horribly and tragically wrong. At the same time weíre introduced to a new character, a maverick undercover police officer named ĎStegsí Jenner who was directly involved in the sting and who may or may not have had something to do with the way it turned out.

When the gangland informer whose information originally set the whole thing up is found dead the following morning, Gallan and his partner, DS Tina Boyd, are seconded to the Serious Crime Group murder investigation that ensues. Suspicion quickly falls on Stegs, but as Gallan and Boyd dig deeper they find that things arenít quite so cut and dried as theyíd first thought.

Thereís plenty of action in the story and the styleís very similar to the first two, so if you liked them, Iím hoping you wonít be disappointed.

Q      As we mentioned earlier, you are an avid reader, so if I were to sneak a peak at your reading table, what books am I likely to find?

Iím currently reading a humorous, historical crime book The Blighted Cliffs by first time author, Edwin Thomas. Itís very funny. Similar to the Flashman books but with an endearingly jaunty style. In the Ďto readí section is Shutter Island by Mr Lehane, as well as the recent Lawrence Block standalone, Smalltown. Iíve also dug out Bethanyís Sin by Robert McCammon to re-read. I understand itís no longer in print, which seems to be a sin in itself. Iíve read it three times now, and itís one of the best horror thrillers I can remember.

Q      I see that you were over at Bouchercon in Las Vegas. How did that all go?

Harlan Coben and Simon Kernick As were you, as I recall. I thought it went very well. It was a really well-organized and well-attended event, with plenty of fans from all over the US and Europe making the journey. I did a panel at 9 oíclock on the morning of the very first day on the subject of British police procedurals and how they differ from their American counterparts, and 200 people turned up for it. I also met a lot of favourite authors, including Harlan Coben and Michael Connelly (both extremely nice guys), made a lot of new friends, and sold a fair few books into the bargain. I didnít even lose any money on the tables, so all in all a great success. I went to the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona afterwards for an event with a number of other British authors including Carolin Carver and Stephen Booth, and that was very enjoyable and worthwhile too. Itís good to get out and about sometimes. Otherwise, writing can be a lonely business.

Q      Thank you for your time.

Itís been a pleasure. Thanks for your interest.

More information on Simon Kernickís work is available online at :-


© 2004 Shots : The Crime and Mystery Ezine

Ali S Karim is an industrial chemist, freelance journalist and book reviewer living in England. He is Assistant Editor at Shots Ezine and also contributes to January Magazine and Deadly Pleasures Magazine and is an associate member of The Crime Writers Association (CWA) of Great Britain. He is currently working on ĎBlack Operationsí, a violent techno-thriller set in the world of plant viruses and out-of-work espionage agents.



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