Welcome to our latest Nine Lives Interview featuring crime author Alan Carter answering nine questions about himself and his writing life.

Alan Carter at Newcastle NoirDo you remember the first book you read?

It was probably a Janet & John at Fulwell Infants but I do recall ploughing through all the Famous Fives which a neighbour had bequeathed to us – so crime fiction has been on my agenda from an early age.

Where is your ideal place to read, and do you have a favourite time of day for reading?

A comfy chair, bed, anytime anywhere really.

Which authors have inspired or influenced you?

Ian Rankin probably lit (or at least rekindled) the spark. I also admire James Lee Burke, Graham Hurley’s Portsmouth series, and Henning Mankell.

If you could choose any book from any place or time which one would you most liked to have written?

I loved “I, Claudius” and “Claudius, The God” by Robert Graves – particularly the latter with its epic opening sentence. The voice is pitch perfect.

What led you to write your first book?

My wife made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. We had moved to Hopetoun (on WA south coast – setting for Prime Cut) so she could take up a teaching job. Meanwhile I was still making TV docos in the big city – not conducive to establishing family life in a new town. In return for me being a kept man, doing the housework etc for a year I could take time out to write a book while Kath brought home the bacon. No brainer. And the housework only ever took about 20 minutes so I had plenty of time to write. 🙂

Pen, pencil, typewriter or commuter keyboard?

Computer keyboard.

Do you have a routine you follow when writing?

I try to do 8 hours a day 5 days a week and aim for around 2000 words a day. I read a lot too, re-reading say the Graham Hurley series for its police procedural detail and a bit of James Lee Burke for the lyricism.

Was there a break-through moment for you, or a key person who helped you?

I never really expected to get published when I started out – the stats are daunting. But I got shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger for the first 5000 unpublished words of what would be Prime Cut. That helped open publishers doors. It then went on to win a Ned Kelly for first fiction. It all helps.

What piece of advice could you give a new writer trying to get published?

Write a lot and read a lot. Practice makes perfect and dissecting what is happening on the page in books that you like is important.

You can find out more about this wonderful author here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlanCarterAuthor/
Twitter: @carter_alan28

His next book ‘Heaven Sent’ is due out in November 2018 and you can check out his thriller ‘Marlborough Man‘ now.