Today I’m pleased to welcome Will Dean to the blog. Will’s debut novel, Dark Pines, a crime thriller set in a small Swedish town was published by Point Blank Books on 4 January 2018.
Will kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about Dark Pines.
SEE NO EVIL
Eyes missing, a body lies deep in the forest near an isolated Swedish town.
HEAR NO EVIL
Tuva Moodyson, a deaf reporter on a small-town local paper, is looking for the story that could make her career.
SPEAK NO EVIL
A web of secrets. And unsolved murders from twenty years ago. Can Tuva outwit the killer before she becomes the next victim? She must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the murderer. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.
2. What inspired the book?
I’ve lived at the centre of a huge forest in Western Sweden for the past six years, and I am fascinated by the place: the people, the nature, the seasons. In October 2014 I was outside playing with my baby son and the sound of high calibre rifle fire boomed all around us from the dense pine trees. And the strange thing was that it wasn’t strange anymore. It was normal. So I thought, what if? Perhaps one of the bullets isn’t intended for an elk? And because nobody notices gunfire in October, wouldn’t that first week of the elk hunt be an ideal cover for a murder?
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I plan the story arc: the beginning, middle, and end. And I know my characters quite well before I write a first draft. But there are many surprises along the way. The story contorts and shifts as I write it. And the plot – the red herrings and clues and reveals – they come much later during the rewrites. It’s only by agonising over multiple drafts that I discover what makes each and every character tick, and how they all relate to one another.
4. Having been through the publishing process is there anything about the process of creating a novel that surprised you?
I’ve been surprised and amazed just how generous and supportive the book community is. From bloggers who spend so much time and effort reading and reviewing, to cover designers and copy editors and publicists. Perhaps it’s because readers tend to be very empathetic. I live in a very isolated place in a different country and I feel very much part of a community which is quite wonderful.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I read a lot. For me that’s the best way to get away from it all. I like to read across genres, and I like to mix contemporary fiction (and proofs) with older books. When I’m not reading I’m managing the woodland, chopping logs, clearing ditches, repairing my forest track, restoring old mechanical watches. And spending time with my family and our enormous cat.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
This is so difficult! Most of my favourite books are quite short so I need to be strategic here. I’ll choose The Complete Sherlock Holmes. I’m always baffled and impressed how Doyle manages to immerse readers in a story so quickly.
7. 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?
Q: What breed is your beautiful, intelligent cat?
A: Monty is a Norwegian Forest Cat. He thinks he’s a Labrador (he’ll run if you whistle) and he has a dog flap to get in and out of his hut. A pair of eagles hunted him as a kitten but now he’s far too heavy for them to be interested. He is wonderful.
About the author
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying Law at LSE, and working many varied jobs in London, he settled in rural Sweden with his wife. He built a wooden house in a boggy forest clearing and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.