Today on Meet the Author we’re talking to Jake Cross about his most recent book, The Family Lie, why he’d struggle if he did have a time machine, and being picked in a police line-up…..
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a dad who’s more childish than his kids. I love to write, of course, and watch films. I love reading true crime, but I’m also mad on space technology at the minute. I like playing snooker. I can’t write without music or a cup of tea.
What inspired you to start writing?
My dad started a postal writing course and I wanted to impress him. If he was into writing stories, well, I’d do it that way. The bug caught. It never left.
How many books have you written and published?
There are some cheesy old books floating out there on the Internet, under various names. Officially, it’s three, all published. by Bookouture. In terms of written: twenty or so. Most are long lost because they were typed on paper or on computers nobody uses any more. But I still have nine or ten on this hard drive.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Of the published three, it’s The Family Lie, but only because it was the easiest. It flowed out fast. Like diarrhoea.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
One trick I use is to grab a list of sportsmen off Wikipedia. Footballers, say. Most helpful when I need foreign names. I never use names of people I know, unless I don’t realise I’ve done it.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Of my published works, I really don’t know. A guy should pick a woman, right? If we’re there for twenty years, a family would be nice. If it’s a week, maybe a guy like Chris Redfern, from Perfect Stranger, because he’s funny and I could do with a laugh. But if it’s anything I’ve written, then the main character from a story I’m dabbling in at the minute. He’s a superhero. He can fly.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
I’ve got to say Stephen King because I’ve read and loved that guy’s work since I was about ten. His novel Firestarter is one of only a handful of fiction books I’ve read more than once. But my favourite book of all time is Lord of the Rings.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
It was a short story about a kid who moves in next door to a family whose own kid is a vampire. I loved it. This was 1984 and the next year, when a movie called Fright Night came out, I was certain the makers had ripped me off. Not so sure now.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
Nothing I regret passing up or would ever go back to.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I can stare at Netflix titles for ages, unable to decide what to watch, so I’d have no hope of actually nailing down a time period if I had a time machine. I just re-watched the Alien films, so the future seems cool. But I recently watched Gladiator, too, so that era would be nice. Then again, I had a great night out last week, so maybe a repeat of that. That said, I can’t wait for August 21st, when Perfect Stranger is published, and if I had the chance to bring that day forward…
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Peter Sutcliffe. As a true crime fan, I just have to know the whole story, and what was going on in his head.
What are your favourite things to do?
I love plotting ideas while driving. Reading in the bath. Watching space or MMA videos on YouTube late at night.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Twenty years or so ago the police approached me to take part in a line-up. The old fashioned way back then, with guys standing in a line. I got picked. Wrongly, of course, but I suddenly had a terrible fear. It didn’t help that the officer dealing with me pretended that I was going to be arrested and sent down. The joke only lasted thirty seconds, but that’s a long time when you think a prison cell is going to be your new home.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
When you get that won’t-ever-get-published feeling in 2005, DO. NOT. GIVE. UP.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
I should say mine, shouldn’t I? Actually, it depends. True crime fans should read Wicked Beyond Belief, by Michael Bilton. There is no more in-depth analysis of a police investigation. In fiction, I would say Lord of the Rings, because it is timeless and seems to transcend genres.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
It’s called The Family Lie and it’s available from Amazon, Kobo, all the usual places you’d find digital books. This is the blurb:
You whispered goodnight to your daughter. You didn’t know that would be your last goodbye.
You wake up in the middle of the night.
Your five-year-old daughter is gone.
Your husband is nowhere to be seen.
Your family think he took her.
The police believe he’s guilty.
But he wouldn’t do that, would he?
He’s a loving father. A loving husband. Isn’t he?
Where to find Jake online: Twitter
Thanks Jake for taking part – what a great interview! I can imagine the police line-up must have been terrifying, especially when you got picked! Your book sounds right up my street so I’ll definitely be checking that out!
Any questions for Jake – give him a shout!
Have a wonderful Saturday lovelies!