THE BLOG

A Thrilling Read and A Fascinating Author - Meeting Bestselling Writer Peter May

23/01/2014 17:53 GMT | Updated 24/03/2014 09:59 GMT

Peter May is a writer who needs no introduction. An award winning journalist at the age of twenty-one, he left newspapers for a career in television and screenwriting, creating three prime-time drama serials, including 1978's The Standard.

After accruing more than 1000 television credits, Peter moved into novel writing full-time receiving plaudits from all quarters, including the famous Richard & Judy Book Club. They selected the first book in his Lewis Trilogy 'The Blackhouse' as a summer read, while at the same time it became a top 5 Sunday Times bestseller.

I interviewed him earlier this week for the second episode of the After Nyne Show podcast and was staggered to learn that, even with his range of credentials behind him, he initially struggled to find a publisher for the book at all.

'It was basically rejected by every publisher in the UK', Peter told me, speaking from his hotel in London on the final UK of the promotional tour of his new book Entry Island, 'It was taken up by a publisher in France, where it turned into a bestseller over there, was sold around the world and eventually made it to Britain.'

When asked what he would like to take from his own journey to inspire young people, or writers in general who are at the beginning of their careers, he was unequivocal.

'Believe in yourself, because you will get knock backs. Especially in this industry. It's important to hang onto your self belief.'

We moved on to talk about his new book Entry Island, a standalone thriller, telling the story of Detective Sime Mackenzie, who at the beginning of the book, boards a light aircraft at Montreal's St Hubert airfield as part of a eight-officer investigation team, doing so without looking back.

For Sime, the 850-mile journey to Entry Island ahead represents an opportunity to escape the bitter blend of loneliness and regret that has come to represent his life in the city.

Awaiting him on Entry Island is the case of the island's wealthiest man, who has been discovered murdered in his home. The investigation itself appears to be little more than a formality but Sime is soon thrown into chaos when he comes face to face with the prime suspect.

A thrilling read, Peter told me the book had surprising roots in a rarely spoken about historical chapter.

'My decision to write Entry Island stemmed from my interest in the Highland Clearances, which came to my attention through the 1970 John McGrath play 'The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil'.

'The Clearances was a phenomenon that took place in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland for around 100 years in the 18th and 19th centuries. The British government were determined to dismantle the historic clan system, and dispossessed many clan chiefs of their land, slaughtering Gaelic speakers and their families.'

Peter's interest in the Highland Clearances led him to an intriguing challenge - how to blend his fiction writing expertise with this knowledge of the history.

'I didn't want to write a historical novel, and as a crime writer I obviously had to find a way of bringing the criminal, the contemporary and historical all together in one story.'

He succeeds tremendously - Entry Island is rich with detail, and the power of a haunted legacy, and I predict a future at the top of the bestseller list once again for this intriguing, engaging author.

To hear my interview with Peter May in full download the After Nyne Show podcast at

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-after-nyne-show/id797518192

Peter May's Entry Island is available now from all good bookshops.

http://www.petermay.co.uk/