C J Carver – Q&A

Today I’m pleased to welcome C J  Carver to the blog. CJ is the author of nine novels including Blood Junction and the Dan Forrester Series including Tell Me A Lie and Spare Me the Truth. The lastest in the Dan Forrester series, Know Me Know is published by Bonnier Zaffre on 14 December 2017.

She kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about Know Me Now.

A thirteen-year-old boy commits suicide. A sixty-five-year old man dies of a heart attack. Dan Forrester knows them both . . . however, he doesn’t realise their deaths are connected, or that both have been murdered, but when he does, he teams up with his old friend DC Lucy Davies to find answers.

It’s a story about long-life friendships, made in childhood and matured over decades, and what, if anything, might cause those friendships to break.

2. What inspired the book?

I’ve always been interested in the dynamics of long-life friendship especially how loyal people can be and what they might do when the chips are down.

Personally, I found myself on the horns of a dilemma when a friend of mine turned up on my doorstep wanting to hide from the police. It turned out they were an addict – which I’d had no idea about – and had broken into an office to steal money.

My friend was a mess. I brought them in, made them a cuppa, and talked. Boy, did we talk. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to call the police because my friend turned themselves in. But if they hadn’t… what would I have done? How would I have felt if I’d called the police, or if I’d continued to harbour a criminal?

These questions inspired the friendships in this book, between a group of four people who’ve known one another since they were toddlers and are now adults, with kids of their own.

3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

I’m a bit of both. I always start with an outline, that I visualise as a tree with a strong trunk and a couple of big branches, but once I start writing things begin to happen and twigs appear, along with leaves, enriching the story and creating those all-important twists and turns we all love.

4. Having been through the publishing process a couple of times is there anything about the process of creating a novel that still surprises you?

I am always amazed when the perfect plot twist suddenly appears seemingly out of nowhere. I say “seemingly” because I now know it only occurs thanks to the work I’ve already put in getting to know the characters and making sure there’s a strong plot, but when it happens I invariably spring up from my desk shouting, “Eureka!”

5. Know Me Now is part of the Dan Forrester series. What are the benefits and downsides to writing recurring characters?

The best thing is starting a new book and seeing what they’ve been up to since you last saw them (it sounds weird, but it’s true!). For example, in Know Me Now Dan Forrester has spent the year working on a big business deal and looking after his pregnant wife, Jenny.

The downside is that I don’t feel I can keep putting my characters through the same huge action scenes they experienced in the first and second books. I think they lose believability so in the third book, although there’s lots of tension and they’re put in immense danger, it’s more about their worlds and their friendships.

6. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

I am a travel addict, so whenever I can I pack up the camper and hit the open road. My last trip was 5 weeks in Norway, lots of inspiration to be had there!

7. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

War and Peace. It has everything I enjoy, a huge cast of immensely varied characters, lots of romance, drama, fighting, murder, history and philosophy. It’s also very long, which is a plus.

8. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

Yikes! Now you’ve got me . . . er, um, do you know, I think I’ve been asked every question under the sun! Readers are an immensely inquisitive lot, and consider authors fair game for even the most personal inquiries. However, nobody has asked me how to murder someone so even the best CSI or SOCO is fooled, and although I know the answer, I’m not going to make it public knowledge.

About the book


A thirteen-year-old boy commits suicide.

A sixty-five-year old man dies of a heart attack.

Dan Forrester, ex-MI5 officer, is connected to them both.

And when he discovers that his godson and his father have been murdered, he teams up with his old friend, DC Lucy Davies, to find answers.

But as the pair investigate, they unravel a dark and violent mystery stretching decades into the past and uncover a terrible secret.

A secret someone will do anything to keep buried . . .

About the author

CJ Carver is the author of nine critically acclaimed novels that have been published in the US and translated into several languages. Blood Junction won the CWA Debut Dagger and was short listed for the USA Barry Award for best crime fiction novel of the year. It was also selected as one of the best mysteries of the year by Publishers Weekly. Spare Me the Truth, the first in the Dan Forrester and Lucy Davies series, has been shortlisted for the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Best Crime Novel Award. CJ lived in Australia for ten years before becoming a travel writer and long-distance rally driver. CJ now lives just outside Bath.


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