Sam Dyke Investigations # 10
Edward Ransome is one of England’s most famous artists – rich, a friend to celebrities and known for his devotion to his craft for almost fifty years.
Then someone steals his favourite painting – the painting that set Ransome on course to fame and fortune but was never sold and rarely seen.
Sam Dyke is hired to find the painting, and the thief, but quickly discovers that the loss of the painting is only one of the many losses suffered by Ransome, and his family.
What’s more, whoever stole the painting is keen to keep it a secret, and committing murder to do so is not out of the question.
Soon Dyke finds he has more than a simple burglary on his hands – it’s a case that spans generations and includes more than one ordinary crime.
1. When and where do you prefer to write?
I used to write on a laptop on my knees, which of course ended up killing my back. Now I sit in my study on a proper office chair with a proper – separate – monitor in my eye line. I live in France and my study overlooks a rather disreputable courtyard that constantly reminds me it needs weeding/tending/sweeping. Fortunately, these days, my writing timetable has evolved to being really late at night, from 11 pm to 1 or 2 am in the morning, so I’m not staring at the yard. It’s when my brain seems ‘clear’ of the day’s rubbish.
2. Do you have certain writing rituals?
I write in a program called Scrivener, which allows me to ‘compile’ the day’s work into a file for the Kindle. So at the end of a writing session I compile the work, send it to my Kindle and read it in bed. As it’s in a different format I can spot typos or other things I want to change more easily. The next day, the first thing I do is put these changes into the Scrivener text. That’s like a version of a first draft for me, though there’ll be many more to come.
3. Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
I wish I could say something writerly like a pint of whisky … but no. An occasional cup of tea!
4. What is your favourite book?
Hard to narrow them down, but if absolutely pushed I’d probably say The Great Gatsby. It’s so slim but so dense and packed with meaning, and there are phrases and descriptions in there that I remember from the first time I read it years ago.
5. Have you considered writing a different genre in the future?
When I was younger I wrote in a number of different genres, but lately I seem to have settled on the crime genre. I’ve written one ‘literary’ novel called Actress and a romance under a pseudonym. I’ll probably continue in the crime genre for now, but maybe shift the particular flavour of crime!
6. Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
These days, not so much, though I have in the past – not physically, but perhaps in some aspect of their personality. I’ve never described a real person that I know in a novel. They say people don’t recognise themselves in books, though they might recognise others. I’m not willing to take the chance!
7. Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I tried that – bought a nice, new, pocket-sized book and a fancy pen … never touched page one. I don’t seem to be the type to take notes – I just assume that when I need a detail, or a character trait, I’ll be able to summon it up. It comes easier when you’ve lived long enough to have met lots of people!
9. If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
The Great Elmore Leonard, sadly passed away now. He seemed like a lot of fun and I just love his books.
10. If you could travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
Probably Russia, at the moment. I have no particular affinity for it, but if I wanted to write a thriller with foreign villains it would be good to explore first hand some locations over there.
Thank you, Keith Dixon and Random Things Tours.
About the author
Keith Dixon was born in Yorkshire and grew up in the Midlands. He’s been writing since he was thirteen years old in a number of different genres: thriller, espionage, science fiction, literary. Two-time winner of the Chanticleer Reviews CLUE First in Category award for Private Eye/Noir novel, he’s the author of nine full-length books and one short-story in the Sam Dyke Investigations series and two other non-crime works, as well as two collections of blog posts on the craft of writing. His new series of Paul Storey Thrillers began in 2016 and there are now three books in the series.
Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SamDykeInvestigations/
website at http://www.keithdixonnovels.com/