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Interview: Peter James talks about Dead if You Don't


Dead if You Don't is the fourteenth novel in the highly acclaimed Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series, from international bestselling author Peter James.


A parent's worst nightmare is Grace's deadliest case.Shortly after Kipp Brown, a seemingly wealthy businessman, and his teenage son, Mungo, arrive at the Amex stadium for their team's biggest-ever football game, Mungo disappears. Kipp begins desperately searching for his son. In the panic that follows, Kipp receives a text with a ransom demand and a terrifying warning: We have your son. If you wish to see him alive again you will not contact the police and you will follow our instructions very carefully. But as a massive, covert manhunt for the boy and his kidnappers begins, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace realizes that nothing is what it seems.


Peter James talks to NZ Booklovers.


What inspired you to write Dead if You Don’t?

I love books that have tight time frames and I thought it would be a real challenge to write a novel set over 24 hours. One of the best scenarios for this is kidnap because the majority of kidnaps are resolved extremely quickly, often within hours. The longer they go on the less likely a good outcome is. I didn’t manage 24 hours but most of the action takes place over 36!


What was your routine or process when writing this book?

As with each book I write it takes me approximately seven months to write the first draft, then a further four months of editing processes. I try to ensure that whatever I’m doing I leave myself time to write 1000 words 6 days a week. I find my best writing time is early evening but I also write in the mornings, taking a break from writing in the afternoon to catch up with emails, walk the dogs, or do interviews and research.


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

The Kinks - Mr Pleasant has a mention in the book. I’m a big Kinks fan - I think they have terrific lyrics and Mr Pleasant is so wonderfully nasty it perfectly fits the book. Another good fit for this book would be another Kinks song - A Well respected Man.


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

It’s a book by Cole Moreton - IS GOD STILL AN ENGLISHMAN? - a wonderfully readable book and it’s very relevant to my big standalone book which is out this Autumn called Absolute Proof about what would be the consequences if somebody credible claimed to have absolute proof of God’s existence.


What’s next on the agenda for you?

I am now over 100 pages into the 15th Roy Grace book which will come out next May. On October 4th I have ABSOLUTE PROOF - the standalone thriller I mention above that I have been working on since 1989. Next year, I have a stage adaptation of a ghost story I wrote called THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL, which will be on a nationwide tour of the UK from January. And in Autumn 2019 the sequel to THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL will be published - I am in the process of editing that now!

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