Neil Broadfoot is the author of All the Devils, Falling Fast and The Storm. His latest novel, No Man’s Land, was published by Constable on 6 September 2018.
Neil kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about No Man’s Land.
It’s the first book in a new series for me which focuses on Connor Fraser, a former police officer turned close protection specialist. It’s set in Stirling (the idea came to me at Bloody Scotland a couple of years ago) and Connor is drawn into investigating a series of brutal murders that might have more to do with his past than he’s comfortable with…
2. What inspired the book?
Bloody Scotland, the book festival that is held in Stirling. I was watching the annual Scotland v England football match and, me being me, the idea of dumping a body on the pitch came to me. It was such a great idea that I took it away, went for a walk through Stirling and started to think about dumping bodies around the city. I went back to my room and started jotting notes about Connor that night.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I never plan, it kills the writing for me. When I’m writing I’m telling the story to myself as much as the reader. It keeps it (hopefully) fresh and engaging- if I don’t know what the story is going to do next, then the reader doesn’t either. It’s not the most relaxing way of working- I was about 80,000 words into No Man’s Land before I figured out what was going on, but it keeps the pace going and the story alive.
4. Having been through the publishing process a number of times is there anything about the process of creating a novel that still surprises you?
No Man’s Land is my first novel with a big publisher, Constable (my first three books were with Contraband) so it’s been like being a first-time author all over again in a lot of ways. One of the most pleasant surprises was how hands on my publisher, Krystyna Green, was in the editing process. She gave me extensive notes and suggestions on the early draft of No Man’s Land, and they’ve gone to make it a better book. In a company as big as Constable, that level of enthusiasm and personal investment in my work was invaluable.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I’m married with two kids and three dogs, so getting away from it all isn’t really an option! I love to read, crime fiction unsurprisingly, so that helps a lot. I also try to keep fit so I train a bit, and my next door neighbour is the king of braii (barbeque) and whisky, so that always helps me unwind!
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
Oooooft- talk about an impossible question! I don’t think I could narrow it down, I’ve loved and reread a lot of books over the years. I find something new every time I go back to A Study In Scarlet, I have a tradition of rereading The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde every December and Craig Russell’s The Ghosts of Altona is endlessly entertaining with new depths to discover on every read, so can I go for them as top three?
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?
Probably this very question – it’s a great one! I’ve been fairly lucky in the interviews and Q&As I’ve done as they’ve been fairly wide ranging and comprehensive. I suppose the one question I like having to answer is from writers who want to get published and what they can do. The answer, which I heard when I was trying to get a book deal, was keep going. Keep writing, keep reading and always, always enjoy the work. We write about some serious stuff, but the act of writing itself, should hopefully always be fun.
About the book
War is coming to No-Man’s Land, and Connor Fraser will be ready.
A mutilated body is found dumped at Cowane’s Hospital in the heart of historic Stirling. For DCI Malcolm Ford it’s like nothing he’s ever seen before, the savagery of the crime makes him want to catch the murderer before he strikes again. For reporter Donna Blake it’s a shot at the big time, a chance to get her career back on track and prove all the doubters wrong. But for close protection specialist Connor Fraser it’s merely a grisly distraction from the day job.
But then another bloodied and broken corpse is found, this time in the shadow of the Wallace Monument – and with it, a message. One Connor has received before, during his time as a police officer in Belfast.
With Ford facing mounting political and public pressure to make an arrest and quell fears the murders are somehow connected to heightened post-Brexit tensions, Connor is drawn into a race against time to stop another murder. But to do so, he must question old loyalties, confront his past and unravel a mystery that some would sacrifice anything – and anyone – to protect.
About the author
Neil Broadfoot worked as a journalist for 15 years at both national and local newspapers, including The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Evening News, covering some of the biggest stories of the day. A poacher turned gamekeeper, he has since moved into communications: providing media relations advice for a variety of organisations, from emergency services to government and private clients in the City.
Neil is married to Fiona and a father to two girls, meaning he’s completely outnumbered in his own home. He lives in Dunfermline, the setting for his first job as a local reporter.