Today I’m delighted to feature crime writer Robert Scragg whose latest book All That is Buried was released in paperback yesterday.
Robert is a northerner born and bred, and has had a random mix of jobs to date, including bookseller, pizza deliverer, Karate instructor, and Football Coach.
Writing was something he hadn’t done much of since he left school, until around seven years ago when an idea for a book popped up that he found too interesting to ignore. His debut novel, What Falls Between the Cracks, introduced Porter & Styles who have since appeared in two further titles – Nothing Else Remains and All that is Buried.
Robert lives in Tyne & Wear, with his wife, children and dog.
Over to Robert
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Green Day – Time of your life. Not only do I love the song, but it’s one of the few I can actually play on the guitar, and got up at an open mic session at my cousins wedding do and played it with a mate. Bundle of nerves but what a blast!
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud. This was our first dance song when we got married in 2016, so no soundtrack would be complete without it.
Warren Zevon – Keep Me In Your Heart. Had a bizarre conversation years ago with a friend about what sings you’d want played at your funeral. I heard this on the soundtrack to Californication (TV show with David Duchovny), ages ago, and it popped back to mind for that chat!) Slightly morbid but there you go!
We Will Rock You – Queen. I was only ten when Live Aid aired, but I remember it pretty clearly, and still get goose bumps thinking about how Freddie had the crowd eating out the palm of his hand.
Eminem – Cinderella Man. I’m due to do a charity boxing event whenever COVID allows, and that’s what I’ve picked for my walkout tune – great workout tune and really gets the adrenaline flowing!
What 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
My dog – she’s nuts, needy and follows you like a shadow around the house, but I wouldn’t swap her for the world.
My Kindle – always said I’d never get one, but since I have, I’ve never looked back.
My Macbook – all my writing tends to be straight to computer rather than notebooks – all my ideas and random writing related thoughts are stored in here and I’m on it at least once a day, so I’d be lost without it!
Coffee – any writer who tells you different is a liar or has no taste
Bacon sandwiches – favourite food ever, and linked to some of my earliest memories, like Christmas mornings when I was a kid and we used to open our pressies with a butty. I’ve celebrated every publication day so far with a beach walk and a butty, so they seem to pop up at all the good points in life!
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Buy shares in Apple and Google.
Don’t worry about not knowing for sure what career you want when you’re at school. In my day job, I’m a Regional HR Manager – never in a million years did I consider that until I applied for the job. Also I never really thought about writing as a career at that stage, so just work out what makes you happy, and chase after that.
Stop making excuses not to write. From first idea to completing a first draft for book one took me eight years, for a whole host of reasons. I look back now, knowing how much fun I’m having and think “Ah I could have been doing this for years already!”
Stick with the music lessons I briefly flirted with when I was ten – I could have been a concert pianist or a guitarist of Clapton proportions by now! I love the idea of it, but just don’t have the dedication to go after it now.
It’s ok to walk away from a friendship that turns sour as long as you know you’ve tried your best. Only had a couple of these over the years, where the other person turned out to have an agenda, or hold some pretty extreme views that just made it hard to respect/trust them. Life’s too short.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I can play tunes on my teeth – once played the Lone Ranger theme tune for Donny Osmond on Challenge TV
I once appeared on The Weakest Link & The Pyramid Game. Came runner up, so left empty handed.
I’m a big martial arts fan, and got awarded my blackbelt in kickboxing back in 2012
I once appeared as Barry Gibb in a charity version of Stars in Their Eyes – footage still exists for the right price.
I used to work as a kid’s football coach in the States, and if I hadn’t had to return to resit my dissertation, might still have been out there today.
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do or achieve.
First and foremost, I’d like to write full-time. With three kids to put through Uni, that may be a few years off yet unless one of my books takes off like a rocket.
I’d also like to branch out from crime at some stage. That’s my passion and will always come first, but have ideas for picture books and a mid-grade novel too that I’d love to carve out time for. Love the idea of reading one of mine to my kids as a bed time story.
I’ve said for years I’d love to learn the guitar. I’ve dabbled with it a few times, but it’s currently sat gathering dust in my office. I tell myself I don’t have time, but I still seem to get through an amazing amount of box sets on Netflix or Prime!
Most writers if you ask them would jump at this next one – to see one or more of my stories adapted for screen. Wouldn’t be precious about them making changes – just the thought of seeing them come to life like that would be a dream come true.
Last one isn’t book related – more travel. Back in 2011, a friend and I trekked to Everest Base Camp. He made it that far, but was hit with a bout of altitude sickness when we tried for a higher peak the next day, and couldn’t make it. I promised him we’d go back one day so he could beat the mountain.
Many thanks for joining us today Robert and good luck with sales for the new paperback. I did feel slightly old when you admitted only being 10 at the time of Live Aid, I’d also been married for 29 years in the year you tied the knot – eek!! Not sure if you were able to celebrate today with your beach walk and bacon butty, but hoping you’ve got it on your to do list. Wow, playing ‘teeth’ guitar to Donny Osmond (it’s that age thing again, in my youth Donny was big!) and Stars in Their Eyes – both things we all need to see. Ah yes, those Apple and Google shares, I suspect quite a few of us wish we’d had that foresight. Hope you get to tick off those dreams, best dust off that guitar!
(NB contains affiliate links)
What Falls Between the Cracks (Porter and Styles 1)
DID SHE SLIP, OR WAS SHE PUSHED?
When a severed hand is found in an abandoned London flat, Detective Inspector Jake Porter and his partner Detective Sergeant Nick Styles are able to DNA match the limb to the owner, Natasha Barclay, who has not been seen in decades. But why has no one been looking for her?
Delving into the details behind her disappearance and discovering links to another investigation, a tragic family history begins to take on a darker twist. Natasha’s nearest and dearest are the people who can least be trusted.
Hampered by a widespread fear of a local heavy, as well as internal politics and possible corruption within the force, Porter and Styles are digging for answers, but will what they find ever see the light of day?
Nothing Else Remains (Porter and Styles 2)
When Max Brennan’s estranged father and then his own girlfriend go missing in quick succession, he turns to his old friend Detective Jake Porter for help. As Max is then attacked in his own home, Porter and his partner Nick Styles waste no time in investigating. But when their main suspect turns up dead, alongside a list of other targets, it seems the case is much bigger than it first appeared. With events spiraling, can Porter and Styles catch the killer before another victim is claimed?
All That is Buried (Porter and Styles 3)
A parent’s worst fear is realised when seven-year-old Libby Hallforth goes missing at a funfair. There are no witnesses, no leads, no trace. Her mother says she only took her eye off her for a second and her father has a quick temper. What might have been happening behind closed doors?
Months later, after the trail for Libby has gone cold, DI Jake Porter and DS Nick Styles find human remains, but that’s just the tip of a gruesome iceberg.
Everyone is a suspect, nobody can be trusted, including the Hallforth family. The chances of getting justice for Libby are fading fast, along with Porter’s chances of stopping a killer before they strike again.
From 14 bestselling authors comes a new crime thriller anthology guaranteed to keep you up all night.
Some people are scared of the dark. But it’s the light that exposes the secrets.
A young boy with nightmares faces up to his demons. A deathbed confession turns the world on its axis. A five-year-old watches his parents bury a body in the garden. A soldier returns from the war to find the horror isn’t yet over.
Afraid Of The Light brings the imagination of fourteen bestselling crime writers together in a collection that will keep you up all night. From a deadly campfire game to a holiday gone wrong, to an AI assistant with a motive and a love affair that can only end in murder, this is a gripping, twisty set of stories to send a shiver down your spine.
Are you Listening? – Adam Southward Daddy Dearest – Dominic Nolan
Deathbed, Beth Dead – Elle Croft Loveable Alan Atcliffe – S R Masters
Sleep Time – Phoebe Morgan Coming Home – N J Mackay
Sausage Fingers – Victoria Selman Just a Game – Rachael Blok
Drowning in Debt – Heather Critchlow To Evil or Not to Evil – Jo Furniss
Sheep’s Clothing – Robert Scragg Frantic – Clare Empson
Planting Nan – James Delargy Shadow – Kate Simants
All author royalties from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Samaritans.
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