Today I’m delighted to feature crime writer Trevor Wood. His first novel, The Man on the Street, which is set in his home city, was published in March 2020. It won the Crime Writers’ Association’s John Creasey New Blood Dagger and was also selected by Val McDermid for the Theakston’s Crime Festival New Blood panel. It also just been awarded The Crimefest ‘Specsavers’ Debut Crime Novel Award. The sequel, One Way Street, was released on e-book and audio in October and was published in hardback yesterday. He is one of the founder members of the Northern Crime Syndicate.
Trevor has lived in Newcastle for almost 30 years and considers himself an adopted Geordie, though he still can’t speak the language. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for 16 years. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA.
Over to Trevor:
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Starman – David Bowie. Blew my mind when I saw this on Top of the Pops the first time. Probably began my undying love of music and artists/people who dare to be different
My Funny Valentine – Elvis Costello my brother-in-law sang this at my wedding. Couldn’t afford Mr Costello, sadly, but it worked: each day has indeed been Valentine’s Day ever since.
Meet Me On The Corner – Lindisfarne. Fog on the Tyne was one of the first albums I bought, an odd choice for a 13-year-old living in the East Midlands. I’ve now been living in Newcastle for 30 years and have worked with the band’s original drummer, Ray Laidlaw, at charity events. It was clearly meant to be
Say Yes to Life – Gang of Youths – I’ve never tired of trying new bands and this Australian group are one of my more recent discoveries. Their album Go Farther in Lightness is magnificent and the end of this song exudes the kind of positivity I try hard to emulate (See below)
Poem – She Drew the Gun. The soundtrack to my books, heartfelt, emotional and hard-hitting. Another new band that I love. This should be the national anthem. (STOP PRESS: Louisa Roach, from SDTG has just given me permission to use some lyrics from this song as an epigraph for book 3 in the series. Absolutely buzzing about that)
What 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
Unfortunately, like everyone else, I haven’t had much choice but to live without a few of these recently! Thank God that walks have still been available.
Going to the cinema
Walks in the country
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Some guy called Gary Lineker is going to get that life you’re dreaming of. Find another dream.
Experiences are much better than things. Concentrate on the former.
Move to Newcastle at the earliest opportunity. Your tribe live there.
Women aren’t as scary as you think. Try talking to them, you might be surprised.
Make saying ‘yes’ your default position. You’ll get to try many more things and meet many more people that way.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you
I spent 16 years in the Royal Navy. I loved pretty much every second of it (apart from the cider incident below).
I love going to music festivals and am very partial to sporting a glitter beard when I’m there (see pic)
I was once arrested by a Greek customs officer for trying to smuggle cider into the country. My ship’s captain persuaded him that it was apple juice and he let me go. It wasn’t. (And he wasn’t the ship’s captain!)
I’ve co-written several plays, including the international hit comedy Dirty Dusting. You can read about it and the other plays here http://www.edwaughandtrevorwood.co.uk/
I was unbeaten in the Egg and Spoon Race at school. I was devastated when I learnt it wasn’t an Olympic sport
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do or achieve.
I’ve always wanted to kayak through the Grand Canyon. Never say never.
I’d love to see the books turned into a TV series. They have been optioned by the wonderful World Productions, makers of Line of Duty, so one day maybe…
I had plans to visit Japan for the first time pre-Covid, be good to resurrect those.
Is it too late to be the lead singer in an indie rock band?
I’d like to throw a massive party for my Golden Wedding Anniversary. Only 20 years to go…
Many thanks for joining me today Trevor – some happy memories with your music choices. I’ve seen Elvis Costello and Lindisfarne in concert (not together!) and Bowie always brings a smile to my face. I suspect my original interest was more to annoy my mother who was outraged by him. The late Mick Ronson had been a gardener at my school ( and probably everybody else’s) when he worked for the Council Parks dept. Fingers crossed for life getting back on track and being able to doing all the things we’ve taken for granted – who could have imagined no pubs or cinemas. Gary really did live the dream didn’t he, he can even speak Spanish (while I struggle to get more than a couple of sentences together!)
I’m definitely keeping an eye out for your theatre and TV work, you’re very talented Trevor. Given the ‘new’ sports finding their way into the Olympics, you’d better resurrect that egg and spoon! I really hope you get to achieve your dreams, fingers crossed for a TV series – I’m in. As for being a lead singer – never too late for anything, keep dreaming and never say never!
The Man on the Street
It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight.
Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story.
The police don’t believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new.
But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.
One Way Street
A series of bizarre drug-related deaths among runaway teenagers has set the North East’s homeless community on edge.
The word on the street is that a rogue batch of Spice – the zombie drug sweeping the inner cities – is to blame, but when one of Jimmy’s few close friends is caught up in the carnage, loyalty compels him to find out what’s really going on.
One Way Street sees the welcome return of Jimmy Mullen, the homeless, PTSD-suffering, veteran as he attempts to rebuild his life following the events in The Man on the Street.
As his probation officer constantly reminds him: all he needs to do is keep out of trouble. Sadly for him, trouble seems to have a habit of tracking Jimmy down.