Ian W. Sainsbury – Q&A

Ian W. Sainsbury is the author of Clockwork Sherlock, published in audio book by Audible on 25 July 2020.

Ian kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about Clockwork Sherlock.

Set in the near future, Clockwork Sherlock features a virtual reality version of the famous detective. Every Holmes needs a Watson, especially this one, as, apparently, he doesn’t exist in the real world. That’s where our main character, Captain Jo Barnes, comes in. Smart, battle-hardened, and with a temper that can get her in trouble, Jo has enough problems of her own. It’s a whodunnit with AI, advanced tech, and a kick-ass Watson.

2. What inspired the book?

I love the Conan Doyle stories. I discovered them in my teens, and I’ve read the entire collection to both my children. One day, the idea of a virtual reality version popped into my head along with the name Clockwork Sherlock. You don’t ignore a gift like that.

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

I write ideas for scenes, characters, and beats over the course of a few weeks, but I don’t commit as it always changes, particularly the ending. I like to give room for the ideas to come alive as I write.

4. Having been through the audio publishing process, is there anything about the process of creating a novel that surprised you?

Nothing came as a surprise, but it was great to have a talented editor (Julie Crisp) get involved after the first draft and really hone in on what was working, and what needed fixing.

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

Reading. Is there anything better than the thrill of finding a book that speaks to you?

I was a professional musician until writing took over, so I’m trying to master the music production devices I’ve accumulated. I still write music occasionally. I don’t think I’ve written a song since the first book in 2016, but I’d like to get back to it.

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

Oh, an impossible question. Thanks…

If fiction, either The Glass Bead Game, by Herman Hesse, or A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K LeGuin. If I had to choose, the Hesse. Don’t make me choose.

If non-fiction, Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu – the Ursula LeGuin translation.

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?

Great question. It’s, ”Why is a mouse when it spins?”, and the answer is (of course) “because the higher, the fewer.”

Clockwork Sherlock by Ian W. Sainsbury is available now exclusively on Audible.

About the Book

A thrilling new adventure featuring literature’s favourite detective like you’ve never seen him before. The first in a series, Clockwork Sherlock follows ex-soldier Captain Jo Barnes. The mysterious VR detective singles her out as his own Dr Watson, but he’s about to find out she’s no fawning sidekick.

When tech giant Robert Fairfield is found dead of a suspected drug overdose, fingers are pointed at the two women who stood most to gain from his death: his fiancée and leader of the New Ludds, Greta Blackstone, and Beth Fairchild, Robert’s ambitious daughter. But when Beth is found dead and the evidence shows she was killed before her father, the suspect is obvious. To everyone, that is, except Sherlock Holmes.

Using futuristic tech and good, old-fashioned sleuthing, Captain Barnes and the famed detective set out to find the killer. With rooftop pursuits, gangland bosses and plenty of action – this listen is sure to appeal to fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Paul Cornell and Jim Butcher.

About the Author


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