Nigel James Interview: “I have always written about things I know about”


Another great interview for you! This week I spoke to sports fan and author Nigel James, who divides his time between London and Spain to learn more about his work and how he draws on his own personal experiences for his novels. 

Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards crime fiction?

I have always been a fan of crime fiction and action thrillers, maybe as a form of light relief from my day job as a lawyer. Too many lawyers use ten words when one will do whereas I have always tried to be succinct. I think that defines my writing style. I am not trying to write a work of art, just a fast paced story that people can read and enjoy on trains or on their sunbeds. I read a lot of thrillers and find myself skim reading large chunks because authors are padding out their books with admittedly well-scripted prose but not adding to the story. A lot of 400 page books could be scaled down to 300.

What is your background and how did you get in to writing professionally? How do you draw on your past when writing fiction?

For years, I had intended to write a crime thriller but when I finally got round to it, it took me ten years to write my first book, Deep Secret. This was largely due to having a full time job but it takes tremendous discipline just to sit down and write and stick at it. There is always that football match on the TV or that gardening that needs doing…Fortunately, having done it once, the next two only took about a year each and if I really worked at it, I guess I could write a book in three months. Because I have had little time to research, I have always written about things I know about. For example, Deep Secret is about the horseracing industry and The Marbella Project is set on the Costa del Sol, which I visit several times a year.

Please tell me about your books. Why do you believe they have become so popular?

Deep Secret is a story that I had had in mind for a long time and I suppose it comes within the category of crime fiction whereas my subsequent two books could more accurately be described as action thrillers. The Marbella Project is a revenge thriller set on the Costa del Sol in which a former SAS officer, assisted by a former colleague, takes on the Russian Mafia who murdered his son. I would say that anyone who enjoyed the Liam Neesom ‘Taken’ films or the TV series ‘Strikeback’ would like this book. A lot of people have said it would make a great film and so many people asked for another book with the same two characters, Dan and Jimmy, that I wrote The Corsican Project, in which a wealthy Frenchman recruits them to rescue his kidnapped daughter.

What do you enjoy reading personally? Are there any particular authors or books you are particularly engrossed by?

I have always been a fan of the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child, the Ben Hope series by Scott Mariani and the TV series, 24. I enjoy a relentless pace so that I find it difficult to put a book down and that feeling of anticipation when I pick it up again.

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why? 

If I could collaborate with anyone, it would be a scriptwriter who could turn The Marbella Project into a blockbuster movie!

Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?

I am currently writing the third book featuring Dan and Jimmy. This is a lot more topical and closer to home. London is being targeted by a terrorist and the security services are struggling to cope. In desperation, they turn to two people who will do whatever it takes without restraint.

Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward to coming up?

I always look forward to the new Lee Child book, particularly after the last when he was back to his very best.

Thanks to Nigel for taking the time, you can read more about his work HERE.


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