The Crime Writers’ Association

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with GJ Minett

Crime Writers in Residence>Q&A

Hi! My name is GJ Minett and my fourth novel, which will be published on July 9 by Bonnier Zaffre, is called The Syndicate.

The CRA: Please tell us a little about yourself and the books you write.

For several years I taught in an 11-18 comprehensive. I’ve always written so I decided to do a part-time MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. My dissertation for that course won a national competition and ultimately became the Prologue for my debut novel, The Hidden Legacy. I’ve been a full-time novelist ever since and live in Pagham on the south coast.

I write psychological suspense novels built around a strong lead character. For me the storyline comes from knowing the characters well enough to be able to identify the Achilles heel and then put that weakness to the test. I enjoy reading novels that provide me with a puzzle and do not short-change me with some unlikely coincidence or contrived ending, so I try to offer the same courtesy to my own readers and respect their intelligence.

The CRA: Tell us about what you are doing during lockdown/while social distancing?

Pretty much what I’d have been doing under normal circumstances, with a book a few months away from publication. There’s a need for greater planning maybe when it comes to getting the book out there and attracting the attention of readers who haven’t come across my novels so far. Oh . . . I’m also working my way through the Harry Potter books, re-reading them over the phone to my two grandsons every day. Otherwise . . . not a lot has changed.

The CRA: How does the above differ from your usual routine?

Not much. I’m maybe exercising more, finding it harder to come up with plausible reasons why I don’t have time to do some gardening but I’m incredibly fortunate not to be affected as badly as many others.

The CRA: Tell us about your forthcoming book.

Jon Kavanagh has, for the past 20 years, been leading a quiet and uneventful life, running a bookshop in Wareham, Dorset and exercising every morning up over Durdle Door. It’s in marked contrast to the life he used to lead as an enforcer for an organised crime group in London. He’s been able to walk away from it all thanks to an agreement he’s hammered out with Maurice Hayes, the head of the syndicate. But twenty years on, Maurice has died and others who see Kavanagh’s defection as a dangerous precedent are now calling the shots. Haunted by ghosts of his own, Kavanagh realises his past is about to catch up with him . . . and with a vengeance.

The CRA: Why will it appeal to lovers of crime fiction?

It is a redemption novel, the story of a man with a conscience and his determination to right the wrongs of the past.

The CRA: What CWA member writers are you reading during NCRM?

Several. In recent weeks I’ve read novels by Chris Whitaker, Lisa Hall, Simon Brett, CJ Carver, Gilly MacMillan, David Jackson . . . all great writers.

The CRA: What one thing are you planning to do once lockdown is over?

First chance we get, my wife and I will meet up with our two daughters and son, whom we haven’t seen other than online since March, take them for a meal somewhere and give them the biggest hug imaginable. It’s been too long.

The Syndicate is available for review now on NetGalley and can be pre-ordered from Amazon:

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