Less About Me

So, a post that’s not about me for a change.

It’s an interview with top author, and top bloke, Roger (sometimes N) Morris, whose third book, A Vengeful Longing (Faber and Faber) was released earlier in the month.

So, over to Roger…

So, who’s it for and what’s it about?

Ah, these are deceptively simple questions! Who’s it for, I suppose I always write the kind of books I would like to read. So my ideal reader is someone like myself! It’s a historical crime novel, so I’m obviously hoping fans of that genre will go for it. I try to balance the needs of a good crime novel with other perhaps more literary demands – characterisation is important to me, as well as the quality of the writing. It’s set in St Petersburg in the 1860s and features Porfiry Petrovich, a character I’ve taken from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. A series of apparently unconnected murders take place in a stifling summer. Porfiry is distracted by the unsanitory stench of an open drain, so it takes him a while to piece things together. A bit I like from the blurb says “Delving into the hidden, squalid heart of the city, he is brought face to face with incomprehensible horror and cruelty, in this vivid rendering of a brutal and stifling nineteenth-century St Petersburg.”

Why did you write it?

There are so many ways to answer this. I love writing historical novels, I love researching a particular period and setting, getting deeply involved in it, and letting the stories and characters develop from how that research impacts on my imagination. I read this quote about the historical novel that described it as “the fruit of the seductive fornication of history and imagination.” I for one do find it very seductive!

What do you hope readers will get from it?

My primary aim, always, is to entertain. A good story, good writing, characters that intrigue and with whom the reader can engage. A real vivid sense of the time and place.

How long did it take you to write?

Between a year and eighteen months. Probably more like the latter. I was supposed to do it in a year but I got a bit behind.
Did you use a fountain pen to write it?

No, a quill! No, seriously, I do write in longhand first and then transfer to computer, but I use Pilot Ball pens for preference. Or anything. A biro.

Tell us something about you.

I’m a dad. I live in Crouch End, which is in North London. I’ve just had a birthday. I got a Dennis the Menace T-shirt from my son, a guitar strap from my daughter, and a Sea Sick Steve CD from my wife.

What’s next for you?

I’m researching and generally working myself up to start writing the next Porfiry Petrovich adventure. I’m also working with a friend, who is a composer, on an opera. I’m providing the words. Libretto, I believe it’s called. I’m learning lots of fancy words like that!

Anything you’d like to add?

Just like to say thanks for the opportunity, Nik.
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And while I’m on the subject of interviews, there’s a great one with Laura Dave over at Vulpes Libris.
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(Added: Apologies for the inconsistent line spacing. Blogger is misbehaving.)

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