This week I get to introduce you to a new name in crime fiction: Ian Lomond, who is self-publishing his debut novel Death Investor.
Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards crime fiction?
My writing style is human centred and dialogue driven – you can hear the characters and see their movements through their dialogue and interactions with each other. In crime, there is always more behind the words than the meanings themselves. A “no comment” can mean so much, or “I don’t remember” is frustratingly ambiguous!
Crime fiction let’s me share my favourite locations, build special characters, and invite you to my favourite bars and restaurants, with action and investigations leading you through the front door. I think it’s a wonderful format to share a city, and it’s people. For me, crime fiction let’s me extend what I think is possible – could someone do that, can technology aid that crime, would greed lead someone that far?
What is your background and how did you get in to writing? How do you experiences when writing fiction?
My career is in managing people and technology, and I’ve done this in many industries, including a decade in the law and justice sector. These experiences, combined with a role that allows me to constantly learn about new organisations and meet new people, provides a platter of ideas and stories to draw from, extrapolate and exaggerate. Through this, I did a lot of dry business writing, reports, submissions and so forth. So, I use this experience, practice and discipline when writing fiction.
Please tell me about your book. How did you come to write it and who is it aimed at?
Death Investor is a crime mystery novel that follows two detectives in tracking down the killer of Peter Maher, a software developer murdered after sharing his new technology idea.
The detectives are Rebecca Reid and Mark Kidman. Rebecca is younger, and whilst recognised for her experience, lacks the confidence of the older Kidman. Together, they navigate the streets and clues that lead them to a successful property developer with a criminal past and political connections, and a rough, old time street criminal, who now owns a pub.
The pair uncovers the software the victim developed could track someone without their consent, using their phone’s Bluetooth and WIFI connections, and linking that to credit card purchases. In fact, several governments are rolling out very similar mobile apps right now to trace and track COVID19 cases. This story reflects on the power of digital surveillance software, and the lengths that people might go to keep their location and history to themselves.
Through other characters, I can share an insight into a few of Sydney iconic suburbs and locations – Kings Cross and its dark and dubious history, the Sydney Harbour, The Bay Run, Lane Cove and even the delicious delicacies at Newtown and Merryland’s.
It was important to have a female protagonist in this series from the outset. Detective Rebecca Reid grows in stature and confidence through the story, and there are plans for this to continue over the next two stories in the series.
You’re publishing your novel yourself: tell me about this process?
I chose to be in control of my own release and path as an author and have published independently. This does mean that your team is just as important, and finding editors, beta readers, cover designers and a support crew you gel with is critical to achieve publication, and retain some sanity in the process!
If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?
This is a great question! I really admire Ian Rankin and his Rebus series, so it would be tempting to say him. However, I would have to say Stephen King, for a few reasons.
One, his no nonsense approach to writing is as relevant now as it was when he release On Writing two decades ago. His no victims spared, no holds barred deliver on what it takes to be a better writer then you are now is fantastic and inspiring.
My style often shares the nuances of the surroundings – it’s those details that I recall often with an emotional connection, and I try to bring that across in my work. However, striking the balance between detail and action is a work in progress – something I think King could definitely influence me on.
Thirdly, he has the master touch of building characters, making them angelic, making them dark, making you love or hate them. I can’t help but think I would enjoy and learn so much in company.
Finally, he has a corgi nicknamed “The Thing of Evil”! I love dogs, and meeting The Thing of Evil would be surreal.
Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
The sequel to Death Investor is in draft mode. The title is Pipeline of Death, and it centres on the murder of a CEO of a gas pipeline company. There are many interests at play in such a company – money, power, environmental. The possibilities on how I could shape this story to share Sydney CBD, and the wilderness of The Blue Mountains has me excited. Detective Rebecca Reid is dealing with a troubled teenager daughter, whilst trying to focus on the investigation, and Detective Kidman relies on his instincts, but perhaps too much.
Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward to in the future?
Chris Hammers Silver is on my to be read list – it was released in 2019, and his second novel, after Scrublands. His sense of place and descriptions of locations are wonderful. I have also beta read a few fantastic stories, and I keeping an eye on their authors – I am hoping to see and support their releases this year!
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I would like to share that as debut novelist, the step to hit publish, and share your work is exhilarating and scary and wonderful all at the same time, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to reflect on that journey here in the interview.
Huge thanks to Ian for answering my questions; I love to work with up-and-coming authors. You can find out more about Ian and his work here.