I recently reviewed the thrilling SCARE ME by Richard Parker (out yesterday from Exhibit A Books!) and am so excited to have him on the blog! He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the new book, and more!
Also, we’ve got a copy of Scare Me up for grabs, so be sure to check out the details below the post!
Richard, will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Pretty much from the moment I could scrawl in a straight line. I was also a TV and movie addict so I gravitated from the short horror stories that used to alarm my teachers to writing scripts that I sent to the BBC. They were execrable but eventually I had a few sketches of mine used. I thought this would put me in good stead for getting into film school but they said I should pursue TV writing. I got more and more material used and soon wangled some commissions for various comedy shows. I was eventually offered a script associate position. After that I moved into script editing and producing. I felt I’d ticked all the boxes that I wanted to in TV, however, so I spent a good few years deciding what sort of books I wanted to write ie getting rejected and trying again. After a couple of agents Stop Me was picked up for publication in 2009. Those last two sentences sound very lightweight but they account for about a decade.
Stop Me was nominated for the CWA John Creasey Dagger Award in 2010, and your newest novel, Scare Me, is a terrifying story of the lengths that a father will go to in order to save his daughter. What inspired you to write Scare Me?
Scare Me started life as more of a slow burning suburban thriller but as I rewrote, it opened out into a much more international story. My intention was to take something as simple as Googling yourself and use this simple device to plunge a protagonist into the middle of something utterly terrifying. Like STOP ME, it’s a dark journey, not only a physical one but into the main character’s psyche. I also tried again to take the story in directions the reader wouldn’t expect. Some readers don’t like this and prefer the formula and I respect that. From a writing point of view though it’s what interests me most.
While undeniably heinous, your killer in Scare Me is surprisingly sympathetic. Was your killer modeled after anyone in particular?
I’m certainly glad to say the killer wasn’t modeled after anyone I’ve met. I’m encouraged you felt sympathetic towards them though. It was something I tried to achieve in the latter part of the story to add an extra dimension to the finale. The killer isn’t a cipher but a product of the hand life’s dealt them.
Technology plays a huge part in Scare Me, and is used to wonderful, and very creepy effect. What made you decide to make it such a big part of the story?
It was the trigger for STOP ME so I wanted to use it as a familiar starting point and tell a bigger story. It’s something that most of us are familiar with now and, like all technology, it can be used for creative dishonesty and evil as well as good. I think, on a prosaic level, we’re now becoming desensitized to it – the deluge of spam and attempts to con us and extract our cash. It’s something waiting for us every day that we now casually delete in multiple forms from our inboxes.
What, or who, are some of the biggest influences on your writing?
I don’t really have a favourite author as my tastes are so eclectic. I read plenty of thrillers, of course, but the last book I loved was nonfiction – OPERATION MINCEMEAT by Ben MacIntyre.
What do you love most about writing thrillers?
Thrillers are pure, unapologetic entertainment and that’s what pops my corn. It’s great to explore human themes within the stories but ultimately you’re attempting to make the reader hold onto your book with white knuckles. Unlike other fiction I think good thrillers always know where they’re going so, having established the destination, you can have a lot of fun along the way and still surprise yourself. At the end of it you steer your car back onto the tracks and hopefully deliver a satisfying end to the ride.
Obviously, your books cover some pretty scary territory. What’s something that truly scares you?
I couldn’t tell you that. It could be used against me. It would probably involve me drowning in a huge bin full of remaindered copies of my work though. Now that is terrifying.
When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Either ensconced in a traditional pub or at home with a stack of hardcore European horror Blu-Rays and a pizza.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on my third standalone thriller, which should be published by Exhibit A next year. They’re proving to be a force to be reckoned with and are signing up some really cool, curveball UK and US crime writers. After that, because of the movie interest, it looks like a follow up to SCARE ME may be on the cards.
About SCARE ME:
“When did you last Google yourself?”
Wealthy businessman, Will Frost, gets woken in the middle of the night by an anonymous caller, asking him exactly this.
When Will goes online, he finds a website has been set up in his name, showing photographs of the inside of his home, along with photographs of six houses he’s never seen before.
In the first of these strange houses, a gruesome murder has already taken place.
Will is then told that his own family is in mortal danger.
The only way he can keep them safe is to visit each of the houses on the website in person – before the police discover what has happened there.
Seven gruesome homicides.
Seven chances to save his daughter’s life…
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of SCARE ME by Richard Parker to 1 winner
3. Giveaway is open to US addresses only
4. You must enter on or before 5/6/13
5. Giveaway book courtesy of Exhibit A Books
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy.