Related to: 'Quercus on YouTube'

The writer tells us all about the real-life inspiration behind his new novel

Q&A with Peter May

Peter May is an award-winning crime author, and a former writer for classic soap opera Take the High Road. The Blackhouse, the first novel in his best-selling Lewis Trilogy, was famously rejected by UK publishers before being picked up in France and published in translation. His latest standalone novel, Runaway, swivels between 1965 – when Jack and his band leave Glasgow to make it big in London – and 2015, when they return to London to discover the truth behind a 50-year-old murder. May tells Yasmin Sulaiman about the real-life inspiration (minus the murder) behind the novel

Facebook

Find us on Facebook

Quercus is a vibrant, internationally successful and award-winning publisher. Join us on Facebook for the latest news on our books and campaigns.

H For History

Join H for History for news and features on all of your favourite historical fiction authors from Quercus, Headline and Hodder, including James Heneage, John Henry Clay, Rory Clements and more.

Join the conversation

Facebook Fan Page

Visit the fan page on Facebook to see what people are saying about Stieg Larsson

Keep Books on the High Street

Find your local bookshop

Our books are available through most booksellers. Follow the link to find your local chain and independent bookshops - for browsing the good, old-fashioned way.

Peter May tells us all about what led him to write his latest book, Runaway.

Peter May - my inspiration for Runaway

The story itself, obviously, drew its inspiration from the real runaway events, which actually took place in 1969. The characters drew their inspiration from different sources. Jack is partially based on myself. “Jobby” Jeff was loosely based on our then drummer, whose almost every sentence was punctuated by the word “jobbies”. Luke Sharp took his name from a childhood friend of my father (what were his parents thinking of), and his circumstance from another of my father’s friends called Johnny Main. Johnny’s parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses and had dragged him around the doors with them for years. He ran away to the south when he was fifteen and never came back. But my father never lost touch with him, and I remember visiting him in Kent on a trip to France in the 1980s. Maurie’s Jewish background was based on my experiences of virtually growing up with Stephen and his family, and the whole community of Glasgow south-side Jews which existed during my childhood. And Dave was loosely based on a friend whose acquaintance I made during my short time at the DNS. He was hugely into music, and we would often meet at the Maryland Blues Club, in Scott Street, beside the Art School. However, cannabis was his predilection, rather than drink. The character of Dr. Cliff Robert was partly based on a very creepy manager we once had in Glasgow, but took his name from The Beatles’ song, “Dr. Robert”, which was the fictitious name The Beatles used for the doctor who provided them, and many other stars of the mid-sixties, with drugs. The character of Rachel, really, is the embodiment of that person we all fall madly in love with at some point in our lives, but are destined (for any number of reasons) never to be with. The Victoria Hall, where they boys find employment improvising dramas for an experimental community of mental patients, took its inspiration from the Kingsley Hall experiment run in the mid-to-late sixties by the famous Scottish psychiatrist, R.D. Laing. There are two unusual coincidences in that. My wife, it transpired, was at school with R.D. Laing’s son, who later went on to write the definitive biography of his father. And it also turned out that R.D. Laing and myself were both trained to play the piano at the Ommer School of Music in Glasgow. To create and describe the authentic atmosphere surrounding events in the (fictitious) Victoria Hall, I was able to purchase online access to rare footage taken during the actual Kingsley Hall experiment. I also read several of R.D. Laing’s books, as well as the biography written by his son, along with an account of her time there written by the Kingsley Hall’s most famous resident, Mary Barnes, and her psychiatrist Joe Berke. I also visited the hall itself, which is still there, although all boarded up now. To get the detail right, I made the return journey of the old boys myself last year – through the Lake District and Leeds, to London, and all the locations there where the action takes place. I also did extensive research on the year 1965, including tracking down an original AA 1965 road map of Britain which I bid for on eBay, to fill in the gaps in my own memory. One particularly interesting location that I tracked down was the spot, behind the Savoy Hotel, where, in the spring of 1965, Bob Dylan shot the iconic video for his song “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, and I had the boys witnessing the filming of it in the book. I took a photograph of myself in the very spot where Dylan had stood discarding his large lyric cue cards. The Merchants’ Tavern, which appears at the end of the book, is a real restaurant to be found in Charlotte Road in Shoreditch, London. It is owned by celebrity chef, Angela Hartnet, and the chef is her partner, Neil Borthwick, a young Scotsman whom I met when he was No.2 to the top chef in France, Michel Bras, and I spent time in Bras’s kitchen researching another book.

Peter May tells us all about what led him to write his latest book, Runaway.

Peter May - my inspiration for Runaway

Peter May tells us all about what led him to write his latest book, Runaway.

Jessica Cornwell talks about her inspiration for writing her new novel, The Serpent Papers.

Writing The Serpent Papers

When I set out to write a novel, the first thing I encountered in the dark recess of my imagination was a man. His name was Ferran Fons, and he was a lonely, aging, professor at a drama school in Barcelona. Fons had an office window facing the theatre across the courtyard and so he spent the majority of his day staring at an enormous poster hanging from the wall of the building. The poster featured a portrait of a beautiful young woman. Her name – I knew in a flash – was Natalia Hernandez. And very soon she was going to die. In the weeks and months following my discovery of Natalia Hernandez, I found myself writing a mystery. New characters sprang into being – the irascible Inspector Fabregat with his love of rich food and distaste for murder – tormented by the unsolved deaths of four young women, bodies tattooed with cryptic letters, tongues cut from their mouths. Next came Rex Illuminatus: a thirteenth century Majorcan mystic who hid The Serpent Papers beneath an alchemical scrawl, secreting away an ancient manuscript written in the language of witches. Anna Verco presented herself as a young, American academic whose psychic abilities and quest to find the Serpent Papers lead her into the drawing room of Inspector Fabregat… a decade after the murder of Natalia Hernandez. I had not set out to write a thriller, but suddenly I was. Not only that, but I knew, without doubt, upon finding Anna, that I was also writing a trilogy. I read and reread the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. While making notes in the margin of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, I repeatedly returned to Wilkie Collin’s The Moonstone and the gothic novels of Horace Walpole and Mary Shelley. I wanted to write a contemporary thriller that had its roots in nineteenth century crime, so I analyzed the structure of the gothic novel, and decided that the first pulp books had evolved into vampire stories and then into serial killer narratives. I set the book in Barcelona’s gothic quarters, with its air of supernatural menace. Amidst the distinct flavor of an old, and violent, fairy tale – I saw Anna Vero driving the action forward. I loved her feminism, her single mindedness, her independence and focus, and how little she wanted to share of herself. Anna takes her lead from The Killing’s Sarah Lund, The Bridge’s Saga Norén (with whom I am completely obsessed) and Lisbeth Salander – the queens of Scandi Noir – but she’s also a very different interpretation of the genre’s damaged ‘woman detective’ or female protagonist. She blends the supernatural and the hyper-real, and in that way I think she’s quite original – and genre-bending. She also consistently surprises me, leading me on unexpected adventures into Palaeography courses at Senate House in London, the Manuscript room at the British Library, and up rocky Majorcan trails in the pouring rain. Throughout, Anna Verco remains deliciously, autonomously her own.

Crime Files discovers what Tom Callaghan would do as the master of Cluedo and who he'd have at his dream dinner party. . .

Q&A with Tom Callaghan

If you were stranded on a desert island and could take one crime novel, one DVD boxset and one character from a crime novel, who/what would you take? ‘The Big Sleep’, ‘The Wire’, Charlie Parker from the John Connolly books. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would be on the menu? Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, James Lee Burke, Stephen King, Basil Bunting, Captain Beefheart, Miles Davis. We’d eat Cantonese, steak, vegetarian, Classic Italian, rural French, and lots to drink. But the real answer is a mix of Thai and Vietnamese dishes with my wife Sara and my son Akyl. Are you a hero or a villain? I’d probably be the observer who avoids getting involved, a minor character whose name appears halfway down the credits. What is your favourite line from a film/TV series/book?· What crime novel do you wish you had written? Film: “I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe… Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time… to die…” TV series: Bladerunner Book: I would love to have written ‘The Big Sleep’. If your book was being made into a film, who would you want to play the lead character? Ideally, a Kyrgyz actor should play the part of Akyl Borubaev, which would be the opportunity of a lifetime. But if the film were set somewhere else, then you’d want a tough guy who’s also compassionate. Daniel Craig? Where are Bogart and Mitchum when you need them? What’s the scariest place you’ve visited? Peru, in the middle of a civil war. OR Rochdale town centre, on a Saturday night. You are master of cluedo and have any name, weapon and room at your disposal, whodunit and what happened? As I’m the master, I’m taking the game out of Tudor Hall, and placing it in the Kulturny bar in Bishkek. All the rooms have dead gangsters in them, shot, stabbed or poisoned. Whodunit? It’s up to Murder Squad Inspector Akyl Borubaev to find out…

@riverrunbooks

Follow riverrun

High quality literary fiction, serious non-fiction and the best in crime writing. Tweets from @neevkm @richardarcus & @rosenaomitom

Quercus Children's

A unique and innovative list of award-winning fiction for children and teens

Heron Books

Heron Books is an imprint of Quercus Books, focussed on publishing high-quality storytelling in both fiction and non-fiction.

@QuercusBooks

Follow us on Twitter

Quercus is a vibrant, internationally successful & award-winning publisher. Tweeting news, views & giveaways. RTs not endorsements.

Jo Fletcher Books

Jo Fletcher Books is an imprint of Quercus Publishing, an Hachette UK company. Jo Fletcher Books is a specialist science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint.

Sebastien's Official Website

Sebastien de Castell is a fantasy and mystery novelist. Find out further information on his latest release and upcoming projects at the official website of Sebastien de Castell

Independent

Anthony Clavane for the Independent

`Being funny is like being gay. It's hard to admit to, people think it's odd. You're born that way'

The Telegraph

"Clavane’s Promised Land...is one of the hidden gems of 21st-century sportswriting."

Clavane’s Promised Land, his lyrical evocation of a life spent supporting Leeds United FC, is one of the hidden gems of 21st-century sportswriting. The follow-up has a jaunty title that might suggest a Jupp-esque comic monologue, though in fact this is a serious work of history.

Information

Use of Cookies

Click on the details link below to navigate to information about our policies regarding collection and use of personal data and cookies.

Eat Your Way to a Clean, Lean, Nourished Body in Less than a Week

The Soup Cleanse

Win a Champneys Detox Ritual Day for Two worth £250 with The Soup Cleanse Dieting is tough, especially around the Christmas season when there are tempting treats at every corner. If you are looking for an easy helping hand to get you ready for the party season then The Soup Cleanse is your best friend. With more than 50 delicious recipes and easy-to-follow detox programmes, you'll learn how to nourish and purify your body while flooding it with essential nutrients, as you sip your way through wholefood soups packed full of regenerative ingredients. Unlike many other diets, The Soup Cleanse is built on simple, satisfying recipes that won't leave you feeling hungry or deprived, making it accessible and easy to stick to, even for those with the busiest lifestyles. To celebrate publication, Champneys Health Resort & Spa are offering two people the chance to win a Detox Ritual Day at their Detox and Wellbeing Centre at Champneys Tring. It’s the first of its kind in the UK and launched in celebration of their 90th anniversary. Offering a range of water-based personalised treatments in a smart, ultra-modern purpose-built environment; this revolutionary hub has been designed to renew and reinvigorate. Using the recuperative qualities of seawater, algae and marine minerals, our treatments have been carefully selected for their stimulating, cleansing effects on both the body and mind. By harnessing the richness of the sea, you will feel the benefits of its revitalising and rebalancing properties – vital components of health and wellbeing. Their experts will provide a personalised programme that will: detox, improve circulation, promote wellbeing and help you to slim and tone. With five key treatments and the perfect post therapy relaxation experience, you will never feel so good. Step inside their haven of tranquillity to refine, relax and tone. Slow things down, take a step back and cleanse your body from the inside out. In six blissful steps, you will be taken on a voyage of discovery. Included in your day: 9am arrival Welcome and tour of the resort Light refreshments A detox ritual worth £69 3 course buffet style lunch, with the option of using our light diet room Unlimited use of swimming pool, sauna and steam room Access up to 20 fitness class per day* 6pm departure To enter fill in your name and email address below Terms & Conditions: 1. This is a prize draw to win a Champneys Detox Ritual Day for Two People worth £250. To enter, please fill in your name and email address in the boxes set out at the following webpage: www.quercusbooks.co.uk/soupcleanse. 2. Prize includes: Welcome and tour of the resort. Light refreshment. A detox ritual worth £69. 3 course buffet style lunch, with the option of using our light diet room. Unlimited use of swimming pool, sauna and steam room. Access up to 20 fitness class per day* 3. The Winner will be selected at random from the entries received in accordance with these terms and conditions by The Soup Cleanse authors, Angela Blatteis and Vivienne Vella, whose decision will be final. 4. The Winner may see their name posted on quercusbooks.co.uk and possibly other websites and Twitter accounts. 5. Prize must be booked and taken by 30th June 2016. *£3 charge applies for advanced class bookings only. Subject to availability. Valid Monday to Thursday only at Tring Champneys Health Resort and Spa. 6. Travel, accommodation and refreshments other than those stated at paragraph 2 above are not included in the prize. 7. Quercus Editions Limited (Quercus) is not liable for the operations of Champneys Health Resorts (Champneys) and accepts no responsibility for them. Participation in the Champneys Detox Ritual Day is subject to any terms and conditions set out by Champneys Health Resorts (for more information click here: http://www.champneys.com/spa-resorts/spa-resort-breaks/specialist-retreats/slim-and-detox/detox/champneys-detox-ritual-day/ here). 8. There is no purchase necessary to enter. 9.The prize draw opens at 12:01am GMT on 10 December 2015 and closes at 11:59 pm GMT on 31 January 2016. Any entries received outside these specified times and dates will not be eligible for entry into the competition. 10. The prize draw is open to anyone aged 16 or over in the UK except employees of Quercus and Champneys, their families, or anyone professionally connected to the competition either themselves or through their families. If the winner is under 18 years of age, the Winner may be asked to have his or her guardian complete waivers, consent forms and/or other documentation as prerequisite for being awarded the prize. 11. Only one entry per person allowed. Second or subsequent entries will be disqualified. Entries will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk. 12. Quercus is not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed. 13. Quercus reserves the right to alter the prizes or cancel the prize draw without notice. No cash alternatives to prizes will be provided. 14. The Winner will be contacted by email on or before Friday 5 February 2016 and his or her name will be published at www.quercusbooks.co.uk/soupcleanse on Friday 5 February 2016. 15. The email addresses of entrants may be shared with companies within the Hachette group of companies but will not be shared with other companies outside the group. It will be used by the Hachette companies to send you news about our books, products and promotions. You will be given the option of opting out in those emails if you don’t want to receive any further news from us. 16. By entering the prize draw each entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions. 17. This competition is being organised by Quercus Editions Limited, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DZ 18. These terms and conditions and any disputes or claims (including non-contractual disputes or claims) arising out of these terms and Conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of England, whose courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.