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Interview: Ian Austin talks about Frozen Summer

Updated: Dec 24, 2019


Ian Austin was born and educated in Southampton, England. Ian drifted in and out of various jobs, before eventually finding his vocation in the Hampshire Police. Here, Ian moved through the ranks from officer on the beat to constable and then detective. He also served as a tactical firearms officer, covert surveillance operative and became the youngest trainer in the National Crime Squad.


In 2002, having suffered a serious injury while on the job, Ian decided to move to New Zealand and he worked for the NZ Police until 2006. Ian started to write and in 2012 published his first novel The Ideas Man. Thereafter, he started writing his gripping Dan Calder crime trilogy, The Agency, The Second Grave, and now Frozen Summer. Ian talks to NZ Booklovers.


Tell us a little bit about Frozen Summer.

It’s the third and final instalment of the introductory Dan Calder trilogy. It answers the question about his autobiography’s secret Chapter 14. It also solves the cold case from where the title comes from. Set in England it’s an all but forgotten cold case, all for one person that is. No one in their right mind would go back again… Right mind? Correct!


Frozen Summer is the nickname Dan Calder’s girlfriend Tara gives to a cold case, the coldest one of all. Who else but Calder would contemplate investigating the unsolved killing where he’s the only suspect? Psychologically tortured by Zoe Summers death to this day. Being there, being involved, covering it up. Armed with the police files from the original investigation, Dan Calder can inject his own witness evidence into the mix to generate new leads. The time’s come to revisit the scene of his blackest experience in order to try and move on once and for all. At stake are the relationships with Tara, their new son Bradley and possibly his very liberty.


What inspired you to write this book?

Frozen Summer is the end of the beginning of Dan Calder’s adventures. It wasn’t so much inspired as a necessary conclusion of the previous 2 books The Agency and The Second Grave. The trilogy is loosely based on my previous career as an undercover and surveillance operative in the UK Police.


What research was involved?

My previous career is my research. I had an amazing time and haven’t had to stray too far away from some real events. I did research the areas in which I based some of the story such as the Peak District National Park.

What was your routine or process when writing this book?

I didn’t have a particular routine. I knew the whole story before I started and writing it was a little like putting flesh on bones for me. Some days I started in the morning and had to be pulled away from the laptop when it got dark. On other days I might only do an hour. I try not to pressurise myself into having to do it and it seems to happen much easier when I feel like I want to write rather than have to.


If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.

I’d thought about songs for the books before and have an idea about a book in the future which I think would be really cool. Anyway particular songs for Frozen Summer would definitely include Funeral for a friend/Love lies bleeding (Elton John), Heroes (David Bowie), Gimmee Shelter (Rolling Stones) and Without You (Harry Nillson)


If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the lead characters?

If I could have anyone I’d go for Tim Roth if he could be 40 again to play Calder, Robbie Coltraine to play Jim Allen and Maisy Williams to play Zoe Summers.


What did you enjoy the most about writing this novel?

Particular scenes brought back memories of work which is mostly very good, I really enjoyed cementing relationships between some of the characters and I got great satisfaction from wrapping up the previous books cliff-hangers.


What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?

I ate a whole bar of Galaxy chocolate and booked my flights to go to the UK for my daughter’s wedding. (That happened last month.) I then got back on the laptop and picked up on the manuscript for the next book which I’d previously started.


What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?

I’ve had a bad year for reading and not managed to do an awful lot. Standouts are older books I’ve got around to for the first time like Edward Rutherford’s New York and Dan Brown’s Deception Point.


What’s next on the agenda for you?

More of the same; I love writing and am a good way through the next Calder adventure. In the near future there’s all the good stuff like appearances to talk about Frozen Summer and hopefully get a bit closer to that illusive international publishing deal.

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