Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A Day in the writing life of JM Gulvin.

Today and on the first stop of his The Long Count blog tour J M Gulvin talks about a day in his writing life.

It’s January 1968 and it’s snowing. Not here in Wales where I live, it’s snowing over the Fort Worth Turnpike in Dallas, Texas where John Q is meeting with his father to collect his son’s belated Christmas present.

I’m on the third John Quarrie novel, he’s an old school Texas Ranger and my landscape is the flat lands of Wilbarger County in the Texas panhandle. I’m at my desk in the Welsh town of Crickhowell, my view the River Usk and the Llangattock Escarpment. It’s a stunning landscape, a holiday town and people ask me how I can sit in one country and write about another in another time period altogether. I just tell them I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time and it’s easy for me.

Actually, I think coming away from one’s subject matter isn’t a bad thing, because a novelist’s most powerful tool is their imagination. It’s the way one adds a sepia tint to the work in order to make sure the flavour is exactly as it should be.

I’m not good at mornings so I’m up just before nine, at my desk ten minutes later with the first of many cups of Americano filtered coffee. Today I’m looking at a scarred Welsh skyline, though it matters little. As soon as I turn to the page I’m in Texas fifty years ago driving a 1965 Buick Riviera with a Wildcat 425 under the hood, a radio fixed to the dash, and carrying a pair of single action army pistols.
From that moment on nothing matters except a sip of “gone cold” coffee. My day is spent in Texas, the only interruption, to get up and microwave that ailing cup of coffee.

The Long Count, by JM Gulvin, is published on 5th May by Faber & Faber (£12.99)

In The Long Count, the first book of JM Gulvin’s masterful new crime series, we meet Ranger John Quarrie as he is called to the scene of an apparent suicide by a fellow war veteran. Although the local police want the case shut down, John Q is convinced that events aren’t quite so straightforward.  When his hunch is backed up by the man’s son, Isaac - just back from Vietnam and convinced his father was murdered - they start to look into a series of other violent incidents in the area, including a recent fire at the local Trinity Asylum and the disappearance of Isaac’s twin brother, Ishmael. In a desperate race against time, John Q has to try to unravel the dark secrets at the heart of this family and get to the truth before the count is up...

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