To celebrate the launch of The Black Beacon Book of Mystery, we’ve asked our contributors to answer a few questions so you can get to know them better. Let’s unravel the mystery behind the stories together.
First question, inevitable perhaps considering the pandemic...how are you coping?
Honestly, things could be worse. As a full-time writer with far too many projects on the boil, it's shocking how little about my daily routine has changed. If anything, it's made me appreciate that bit more how much worse my circumstances could be.
Is there a story behind your contribution to The Black Beacon Book of Mystery? What inspired you to write this mystery?
It's a long time since I wrote it, so my memory's fuzzy, but I recall that I was thinking about perfect crimes and how somebody might actually go about getting away with murder.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Probably not a literary pilgrimage as such, but I'm lucky enough to live in the same city and to be friends with one of my favourite authors, Adrian Tchaikovsky; does popping around to your mate's house to play board games count as pilgrimaging? If not, then I once went a bit farther out of my way to interview the marvellous Joanne Harris, which was a real once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What are the key ingredients for a ripping mystery story?
For me, it's that balance of giving the reader enough information that they don't feel like the wool's being pulled over their eyes, while still obfuscating the twists and turns enough that they come as a satisfying surprise.
Do you have a favourite fictional sleuth?
I'm a big fan of Dashiell Hammett and Film Noir, so I'd have to go with Sam Spade. Admittedly he's probably not that much cop as a detective, but when you're played by Humphrey Bogart, you don't need to be.
Tell us about a real mystery you have solved or would like to?
It's not a mystery as such, since it's well known who the main perpetrators were, but a current project I'm working on and which hopefully will be announced quite soon is a fictitious account of a famous bank robbery from around a century ago. While I haven't been solving anything as such, it's been a heck of a challenge attempting to get into the heads of long-dead historical figures and to understand the whys and wherefores of what they did.
What are you writing now?
As I write this, I'm mostly wrapping up the fourth in my Black River Chronicles series of fantasy novels, Graduate or Die, as well as a science-fiction horror novella called Graveyard of Titans, both of which should be out around the time of this anthology.
Where can we follow or contact you online?
I'm on Twitter and Facebook, and my website, www.davidtallerman.co.uk, has tons of information about my various projects, as well as a link to my blog.