Interview with Crime Writer Ben Westerham: S. 7, Ep. 21 — Debbi Mack

When I sat down to decide what I wanted to write for the first series, I’m not surprised; I read a lot of crime, so immediately I was drawn to crime. And I did then think I wouldn’t mind having a go at hardboiled, but I couldn’t get myself just to write straight hardboiled.

But I do like humor as well so what I’ve tried to do is exactly those bits that you’ve already mentioned was to bring the hardboiled together with a British take on it and humor. So not comedy, but humor so you get a nice mix, cause sometimes the harder edges, there’s a nice counterpoint when you can bring in a bit of humor as well.

I’ve got no end of ideas. I don’t know you find this yourself, ideas just pop into your head all the time. So you jot them down. You add them to that never ending list of ideas that you’ve got.

I’m definitely one of those writers, once I start, I don’t stop to check up street names and things like that. I will just write down X, Y, Z if I need to and I will come back and do that little bit of research later on and just fill it in, just so I can keep the flow going so it does vary a bit.

So I decided I’d write something a little bit along the lines of Agatha Christie, but set in right at the very end of the 1950s, the first story. And then they move into the early 1960s. So they are murder mysteries, but again, I just couldn’t help myself. There’s a undercurrent of humor through those as well, and a little bit of romance thrown in.

I must admit as well being able to switch from first person to third person, that in itself is a nice change because as a writer it gives you different options and it’s nice to have those available to you. So you’ve got a broader style of writing.

Writing for a living is very difficult. That’s the first thing. Even since Amazon came along, that’s quite difficult. I think the more general thing about writing is just the most obvious one. Just sit down and write.

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New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: www.debbimack.com.

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