For my next Author Spotlight I’m joined by the wonderful Kristian Parker! We talked always being a bookworm, throwing characters from different worlds together, and using knitting to solve plot problems.
Take it away Kristian…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Kristian Parker and thank you to Charlie for giving me the chance to speak to you all. I’m a fairly new writer on the block with three releases in 2021 and five this year.
When I’m not writing, I love all the usual stuff like theatre, reading, going for walks, cinema and travel.
I also have a dull day job in finance but those endless meetings are pretty useful for plot planning. If my boss asks, I’m taking notes.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I like to write ordinary characters in extraordinary situations. My first release, Venetian Valentine, is a thrill ride where the main characters get caught up in a mob crime and have to run for their lives.
But I’m equally comfortable with a love affair that goes through a whole load of twists before we get to the pay off. I’m currently writing a trilogy set in the gangster underworld of Manchester. These stories definitely have thrills as well as spice. What more do we need in life?
Describe your books in only three words.
Escapist, truthful, saucy
What’s your next book about and when is it coming out?
The Rule of Three comes out on 7th June 2022. It is the first instalment of my brand new, Village Affairs, series and I’m so excited about it. It’s also my first 50k+ story so I’ve really got stuck into this one.
The story centres around James, Ed, and Arthur who live in the fictional Yorkshire village of Napthwaite. James and Ed are old school friends, somewhere along the line their friendship turned into more and they’ve been having a secret affair for years. James is quite content with this arrangement but Ed wants more.
When Arthur, the handsome new school teacher arrives in the village, things are turned on their head. Each man has to question himself in order to find where true happiness lies.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
I honestly think The Rule of Three up to this point. But disclaimer, the third instalment of Village Affairs, Triple Intent, (Out in October) is my absolute favourite. I got to write a flawed villain in this one and growing up watching Joan Collins in Dynasty, I couldn’t wait!
I’ve been on a steep learning curve since Venetian Valentine came out in February 2021 and can see the lessons I’ve learnt paying off in Village Affairs. I’m also incredibly lucky to have a wonderful editor who guides me… patiently.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Being a bookworm all my life has had a huge impact on my writing. It sounds like a cliche but you have to read everything you can get your hands on.
Since falling down the MM rabbit hole, I’ve not only discovered so much good writing but also a community of wonderful people. I love finding out what other writers are up to and what readers are enjoying. That influences me to carry on.
What inspired you to start writing?
I can’t remember a time I didn’t write. However, over the years I’ve made “sensible” decisions like getting a finance qualification and being in an office job, etc.
But the creative spark never left me and ten years ago I got my MA in TV & Radio Scriptwriting. Ever since then, I’ve been exploring different paths but now I know I’ve found my groove and have never been happier.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I am lucky enough to have a writing day every second Wednesday, other than that it’s grabbing time here and there.
I can only write first drafts in the mornings. Don’t ask me why, perhaps the coffee is at its strongest at that point! So a writing day will be banging out words from 8-12. Then I’ll break for lunch and in the afternoon, I edit, plot or do admin things. If I try to write a brand new chapter, it can take hours and be totally unusable so I don’t even bother now. I’d love to be a night owl, typing away until I can barely keep my eyes open but I’m more likely to be in bed by nine.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
I don’t have a set rule for this. When the inspiration strikes, I just hope I have a notebook to hand.
To Light A Fire, the first book in my historical Speak Its Name trilogy and my enquiry book to Pride Publishing, was 100% plot driven. I thought it would be fascinating to explore a clandestine affair between a guest and a servant in a 1920s stately home. I’d probably been binge watching Downton Abbey. However for the final book, Spotlight On Love (out in July), the main character just appeared to me. George Lomax is a black American music hall star who is being exploited by his evil company manager. I wanted to pick him up and drop him into a British seaside resort to see what happens.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Earlier this year when the evil Covid finally got me, I read the Tidal books by Brigham Vaughn and K Evan Coles and was absolutely blown away by them. I got so invested in the characters and how the story would end. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Oooh, that’s a tough one. I like forced proximity. I think it’s fascinating to throw characters from totally different worlds into a scenario and see how they react.
What would be your three desert island books?
Middlemarch by George Eliot – an absolute masterclass in how to write a saga.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl – it never gets old.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – I could take each section and write additional content if I was bored of reading on my island.
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
I think I would go for Venetian Valentine on the proviso that I supervise the production in Venice and Sorrento. For the main character, Andrew, I would cast Russell Tovey. For the handsome gondolier, Sergio, I would choose Giulio Berruti (yum!)
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
If you are friends with me on Facebook this isn’t a secret but I’m an avid knitter. My best friend and my goddaughter are having babies this year so I’m either hammering away at the keyboard or tip tapping away with the needles at the moment.
I find it so therapeutic and if a character is being problematic, picking up my knitting and doing a few rows helps me to solve the issue.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
I’m going to go for a diplodocus because I think the brontosaurus gets most of the long-necked attention and it’s time for the old diplo to shine. Justice for Diplodocus!!
I have written for as long as I could write. In fact, before, when I would dictate to my auntie. I love to read, and I love to create worlds and characters.
I live in the English countryside. When I’m not writing, I like to get out there and think through the next scenario I’m going to throw my characters into.
Inspiration can be found anywhere, on a train, in a restaurant or in an office. I am always in search of the next character to find love in one of my stories. In a world of apps and online dating, it is important to remember love can be found when you least expect it.
For more information on Kristian and his work you can find him on his website, where you can also sign up for his newsletter, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also join his Facebook Group, Kristian’s World, for more news and updates.