Today I talk to former joiner and farmer John Ryder about how he draws on his experience to write intriguing crime fiction stories.
Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards thrillers and crime fiction?
I’ve always been a fan of crime fiction and thrillers, so it was natural that when I started writing my own stories, they would be in the genres I love the most. I couldn’t write a sci-fi or romance novel for all the money in the world as having not read them, I wouldn’t have a clue how to write them.
How does your background as a farmer and joiner influence your work?
I think that having a variety of experiences through life has given me lots of material to draw upon. Final Second happens in a rural setting so it was easy for me to put myself into the mindset of certain characters. As a joiner, I used many different power tools that were extremely dangerous, so it won’t be a big leap for me to imagine someone using them for nefarious purposes.
Often farmers and construction workers can be looked down upon because their jobs aren’t seen as technical, or requiring much intelligence, but that’s far from the case as anyone who has tried to work out how to get an exact spread of fertiliser onto a field. Joiners make intricate shapes on a regular basis and when it comes to casting concrete, they have to design and build moulds that are the exact opposite of the finished shape.
Where do you take your inspiration? Are there any rituals you do to get yourself in the mood for writing?
My only real ritual is to make sure I have coffee and at least a half hour to write without interruption. I take inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. A half-overheard conversation can spark an idea, as can a news story, or a “what if” proposition that nags at my mind.
What style of writing do you enjoy yourself? Are there any particular writers you admire?
I love authors who can make their words seem like honey for the eyes and yet write a gripping story that entertains and educates me. There are far too many authors I admire to list them all but books by the following authors always jump to the top of Mount To Be Read. Craig Russell, Zoe Sharp, A.A. Dhand, M.W. Craven, Stuart MacBride and many many others.
If you could collaborate with any person, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?
I’d choose Alistair MacLean as I believe he’s possibly the greatest thriller writer who ever lived. Admittedly his later books weren’t as strong as his early ones, but following stories like HMS Ulysses, Fear is the Key and Ice Station Zebra would find almost any author wanting.
Have you got any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
Grant Fletcher 2, Final Second comes out on Monday 5th October, which is always a thrill and I have just completed the first draft of Grant Fletcher 3, and I feel it’s got the bones of a great story hidden beneath all the typos. I’ve also got a book out on submission, which I have high hopes for.
Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward to later in the year?
Hyde by Craig Russell is one book I’m hugely looking forward to and I read an early draft of Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden, which is a book, and author I’m tipping for stardom.
Anything you’d like to add?
I’d just like to say thank you for hosting me, and to also thank those who’ve stuck with this interview to the bitter end. As a reward to you all, I’d suggest signing up to my newsletter on www.johnryderauthor.com as that will gain you automatic entry into every competition I run.
Thanks to John for answering my questions; it’s been great to find out more about your work.