A Chaser on the Rocks is my debut novel, following on from various crime short stories that have been published in the last few years. It's set in Northern Ireland, where I'm from, about a modern PI with mental health problems. He writes crime fiction as a type of therapy about a 1940's PI in Belfast. The novel is a 'story in a story', following both of these characters. You could probably call it a psychological noir.
What can we expect from you in the future?
At the moment I am working on a short story collection and have also started about ten thousand words of my second novel.
How do we find out about you and your books?
I'm on twitter (@simonmaltman) and have a facebook writer page- simonmaltmancrimefiction. If you google my name you should also find various reviews etc.
Why did you decide to write crime fiction novels?
It's because they're my favourite type of book. It just was natural really. In films too-crime related is high up my list. I have a particular fondness for old film noir.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
I suppose it's inevitable that there is always some. I've tried to make the main characters different from me too though. There's lots of real stuff and actual conversations in there- but I can't tell you which ones! One thing I've really tried to reference is the beauty in Northern Ireland and the rich history. I've no interest in writing about 'The Troubles' as such.
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
I only really started focusing on fiction about four years ago. Before that I had a bit of local success in music and had done various other types of writing too. I submitted to magazines about three years ago and had my first few short stories published. I then worked on my first novel on and off for about a year.
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I actually find writing out in my garage at the end of a long day is a great way to relax! I really prefer to be 'doing' something, I'm not someone who really veges out.
Where do your ideas come from?
Absolutely anywhere! I keep a notebook to try and get ideas down. I think the point when you start to think through an idea in your head is one of the best parts of writing.
Do you feel humour is important in crime fiction and why?
I think it is necessary in some and maybe not so in others. Personally I usually like to read something that has some dry humour and I try to replicate that usually in my writing. I think dry humour is part of the fabric of where I'm from anyway, though maybe 'the Craic' doesn't always translate too easily!
What kind of research do you do?
For this novel I did quite a lot. For the historical part I visited a lot of local museums and libraries. I read up on the war and the Belfast Blitz. I worked with people with learning disabilities and mental health problems for thirteen years, so that also gave me a lot of background information too for my main character.
Please tell us about yourself.
I'm married and I have two little girls. We spend a lot of times visiting parks and museums and I'm very partial to eating cake in cafés! I still enjoy playing music and going to gigs and going on foreign holidays- though most of those are on hold a bit while the kids are very young!
Who are some of your other favorite authors?
There are so many! My all times favourites would include Raymond Chandler, Richard Stark, Iain Banks and Colin Bateman.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In regards to writing, I hope I have had a few more novels published and that I have found a decent sized audience.
Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
I would say to keep at it, cast a wide net in terms of trying to get published/ receive reviews etc. and to take on board all feedback, while still doing what you want to do.