Also today, I’m delighted to welcome Stewart Giles onto Meet the Author. We’re chatting about the result of his wife dropping a speaker on his head (!), what he has a huge collection of, being struck by lightning (!), family skydives, the accident he had that still makes him laugh, his most recent book, Lies on the Island which is due out on 15th December and much, much more…..This will have you laughing out loud!
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a 47 year old free spirit living in a small town on the Vaal Dam in South Africa. I had a boat shop here for 14 years, then 3 years ago I got a bit of luck thanks to a publisher and realised I would be able to write full time. I’m lucky to be able to live the good life in the sunshine. We’re blessed with a huge expanse of water and a world-class dropzone on our doorsteps, so when I’m not writing or reading I love to sail our 23 footer on the lake, and when the wind isn’t blowing too hard, I enjoy jumping out of perfectly good planes.
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
I had a pretty bad accident a few years back that left me in a wheelchair for four months. While I was in hospital I devoured Scandinavian crime thrillers, then one day I thought – I can write this stuff. Nothing came of it, but a few years later, my wife dropped a huge speaker on my head and I lost a day or two, but when the concussion subsided I came up with an idea for a crime thriller series and I decided to start it. I get my ideas from all over the place but mostly from the insane nightmares I’ve had since I was a kid.
How many books have you written and published?
I’ve written 25 crime thrillers and 1 Horror.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It used to take between 3 and 4 months, but now it varies between 26 days and 2 months.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
It has to be the fifth in my Detective Jason Smith series, Harlequin. Something about that book still gives me chills.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Definitely DS Smith. He likes beer and he’s got a wicked sense of humour.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Pathologist. I always thought it would be cool to cut up dead bodies.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
After University I set off travelling around the world and worked as a waiter, barman, cook, and other hotel jobs. I’ve been a bin man, a postman and a forklift truck driver. Here in South Africa I had a boat shop where I sold boats, spares and carried out repairs on all kinds of boats.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)
Definitely backwards to the time of the Beats. I would love to have a few drinks with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I’ve got a slight guitar problem – I’ve cut down a bit, so now I’ve only got around 35 of them and I make sure I play them all because my wife calls them dust collectors. When the wind blows we love to sail our yacht and when it’s calm I like to jump out of planes.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
I got struck by lightning a while ago. I woke up to find three dogs licking my face and for a week afterwards all I could smell was onions.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Don’t be in such a rush to get the book out there. Patience is definitely a virtue in writing. The first draft is always pretty rough, so leave it alone for a while and do something else. Then come back and fix what you couldn’t see before.
Name one book you think everyone should read and tell us why?
I think everyone should read Stephen King’s Carrie. In terms of structure and suspense it is unrivalled. For a first book by an author I reckon it can’t be beaten. And Stephen King teaches us all how a story should be told.
What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
Crossroads with Ralph Macchio. A virtuoso guitarist and a deal with the Devil. What’s not to like?
If you were given a boat, what would you name it and why?
We’ve got a boat called Enola Gay after the plane that dropped THE bomb in WW2. That wasn’t my idea. If I was to name it again I’d probably call it Serendipity.
What is the best thing you’ve done in your life so far?
The coolest thing I did was skydive for the first time with my daughter when she was 13. The best thing was when I watched her come into the world totally oblivious to the fact that I would jump out of a plane with her 13 years later.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Totally. The first time I met my wife, she was driving a van with a beer in her hand. It was love at first sight. That was 25 years ago.
Describe yourself using three words only…….
Hard to handle.
If a movie was made about your life, what genre would it be, who would you want to play you and what would its title be?
It would be a horror starring Eric Idle called The Fool.
If you were a genie, what wish would you refuse to grant and why?
Wealth. I don’t believe instant riches can give any happiness whatsoever. Wealth can only be enjoyed when it’s earned.
If you could travel anywhere (world/universe etc!) where would you go and why?
Fremantle, Western Australia. It’s where my main man, DS Smith is from and it would be nice to see it for real and not just through Google Maps.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
It’s not really funny, but it still makes me laugh. I ended up in a wheelchair for four months because I sort of chopped off the branch I was sitting on.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I would like the power to be able to make arseholes mute.
You win a million pounds – you give half to charity. Which charity do you pick and why? What would you do with the rest of the money?
I’d give it to the hospice that made my Dad’s final days so dignified and bearable. And the rest I’d probably do what I normally do and let my wife figure out how to spend it.
If you could be, or meet, any mythical creature, what would you choose and why?
I’d love to meet a Kraken while out sailing. Just to take a selfie with it.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you (that you’re willing to share?!)
I have this bizarre inability to feel embarrassment. It freaks my daughter out.
What is something you can’t live without?
Do you feel it’s more important to have a) strong characters b) a mind-blowing plot or c) amazing settings?
Strong characters are the crux of any book. The plot and setting are secondary.
What is your favourite genre to read and why?
I can’t get enough of crime thrillers. I love it when a plot develops into a denouement that makes me shiver.
What is the funniest typo you have ever written?
His noose had definitely been broken at some stage.
What is your favourite time to write, and why?
Early morning. Simply for the fact that my wife and daughter are not around. Noise tends to follow them wherever they go.
What is your favourite word and why?
Serendipity. It dances off the tongue and conjures up images of happiness and good luck.
If you could offer a piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Don’t do it for money. If money comes, great, but never let that be your primary goal when you set out.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Lies on the Island, the second in the DI O’Reilly mystery series will be out on 15 December.
Detective Liam O’Reilly is bored. Life on the peaceful island of Guernsey is quiet, but it’s too quiet for his liking. In the middle of an insurance fraud investigation he confides in his daughter and tells her he’d give anything for a juicy murder case to sink his teeth into.
‘Be careful what you wish for, Dad.”
Her words are still fresh in his mind when O’Reilly stumbles upon two dead bodies while investigating a fire at a container depot.
The bodies have been burned beyond recognition and nobody seems to know how they ended up inside the container.
Soon it becomes very clear that something sinister is happening on the sleepy island and O’Reilly is thrown into the depths of lies and deception as he delves deeper into the lives of one particular family.
Everywhere he turns, he’s met with lies but O’Reilly is determined to find out the truth behind these gruesome murders even if by uncovering the lies means he’s putting his own life on the line.
thanks so much for coming over and chatting to us stewart! You genuinely had me laughing out loud!
If you have any questions or comments for Stewart then drop us a comment below, or get in touch using one of the above.
Have a wonderful weekend now my lovelies.