Today it is my pleasure to feature a guest post where author Simon Hall interviews his character Dan Groves. I will let you read what the book is about first.
About the Book
Dan Groves is a television reporter newly assigned to the crime beat and not at all happy about it.
Dan knows next nothing about police work or how to report on it so when he persuades Detective Chief Inspector Adam Breen to allow him to shadow a high-profile murder inquiry it seems like the perfect solution though it soon becomes clear some members of the police force have no intention of playing nice with the new boy.
With his first case Dan is dropped in at the deep-end. A man is killed in a lay-by with a blast through the heart from a shotgun. The victim is a notorious local businessman, Edward Bray, a man with so many enemies there are almost too many suspects for the police to eliminate.
As tensions rise between Dan and the police he comes close to being thrown off the case until the detectives realise that far from being a liability, Dan might actually be the key to tempting the murderer into a trap.
The TV Detective is the first book in a classic crime series from Simon Hall, who until recently was the BBC Crime Correspondent for the Devon and Cornwall area.
Which do you prefer; your TV reporting or investigating?
What a question! That’s like asking a parent which of their two children they prefer. There must be an honest answer, but it’s probably not one that should ever be revealed. What I would say is becoming an unofficial detective has been a new life for me, an absolute revelation, and I relish it.
Is it ethical, the way you cross the line from being an impartial reporter to helping the police with the stories you put out?
I do think about that. I take my day job very seriously, and I do my best to inform, educate, and entertain the public. I would never knowingly mislead them. But sometimes you have to balance conflicting needs and demands. And if there is something I broadcast, even if I know the police want me to do so to help them with a case, if it would assist in catching a murderer, or a rapist, or some other terrible criminal, surely I would be ethically wrong not to do so.
How do you balance the intensive demands of being a TV reporter whilst working inside a high-profile criminal inquiry?
The short answer is not always well. I do get very pressured and rather stressed sometimes. But I just about manage to keep everyone happy, from Adam as he leads the investigation, to Lizzie as she edits my stories. Both know exactly what is going on, and we all need each other, so the subtext keeps us working together, even if we sometimes get snappy with each other.
Are you ever going to make an honest woman of Claire, your detective sergeant on-off girlfriend?
I think it would be better to ask whether she is ever going to make an honest man of me! Claire is wonderful. To be honest, I don’t know what she sees in me, but I’m so glad it’s something. As to whether we will get together permanently, I can only say that we’ve been through some very difficult times and always wanted to come back together, which gives me a sense of optimism for the future.
How are you coping with the depression which has always haunted you, the swamp as you think of it?
It’s far less of an issue these days than it was. I think that’s partly because I have so much more in my life now with the criminal investigations, but I just don’t have much time for sitting around and moping. I also don’t drink as much as I used to, which I think is a big help. But most of all, there is Claire. I felt so nervous confessing to her about the depression. What has someone like me got to be depressed about? I have a great life. But she was wonderfully understanding, to the extent that I think she already knew about my suffering, and she has helped me more than I can possibly say. Love does that.
What do you really think of your best friend, and professional detective, Adam
It might be an old cliché, but we really are, if I’m honest, like an old married couple. We couldn’t be without each other, but we do sometimes wind each other up. Adam can be infuriating, with his pompous, uptight ways, but I confess I hugely admire his courage and determination, not to mention his dedication to getting justice for the victims of the dreadful crimes we investigate together. And I know he needs my perception and insight. So I guess we need each other. We just don’t say so. Ever.
What happened to you in your past to make you such a good investigator? It’s alluded to, but never discussed.
For very good reasons. I just can’t say why. It’s not that I don’t know. I do. But I can’t say for a whole host of reasons, not least my own personal safety. That was a point when I thought I would never be able to face it. It’s got easier over the last few years, what happened to me, but it’s still difficult to cope with. All I will say is that it goes back to my college days, and being guided onto a path which I probably never should have taken.
Was that part of the cause of your depression?
It certainly didn’t help. I think I have a genetic predisposition towards depression, but seeing some of the things I had to see, and doing some of the things I had to do, at such a young age, that must have made it much worse. It’s the stuff of nightmares, and I’ve had more than my share.
Onto a lighter subject. How is Dirty El, that sleazy photographer who will stop at nothing to get a snap?
He is absolutely wonderful. Apart from being a great friend, and making me laugh with his dreadful antics, he’s always got a way of getting the pictures we need to make a story work. Despite being such a buffoon, there’s nothing wrong with his wits. I spoke to him earlier and he was back at the fancy dress shop, which is always a danger sign. The last time he was in there he was getting a doctor’s outfit so he could get up to no good trying to take a snap of someone in the local hospital.
And what about Rutherford, your beautiful Alsatian dog?
I would be lost without him. We went for a walk on Dartmoor last night, and he managed to get himself jammed in a gully. I had to dig him out, which was messy and annoying. But he is a source of joy to me, on our runs and walks around the beautiful Devon countryside. He also loves Claire, and Claire loves him, so we are almost a happy family!
It’s almost time to wrap this interview, so forgive me this cheeky question… How much of your creator do you think is in you?
No comment. I never comment on that. If I even thought about it, it would scare me senseless. Bits of him in me? I don’t want to go there. In fact, I’ve just remembered I need to be off now. I’ve got to walk Rutherford, and Adam needs to chat about a case.
About Simon Hall:
Simon Hall is an author and journalist.
He has been a broadcaster for twenty five years, mostly as a BBC Television and Radio News Correspondent, covering some of the biggest stories Britain has seen.
His books – the tv detective series – are about a television reporter who covers crimes and gets so involved in the cases he helps the police to solve them. Seven have been published.
Simon has also contributed articles and short stories to a range of newspapers and magazines, written plays, and even a pantomime.
Alongside his novels and stories, Simon is a tutor in media skills and creative writing, teaching at popular Writers’ Summer Schools such as Swanwick and Winchester, on cruise ships and overseas.
Simon has also become sought after as a speaker, appearing at a variety of prestigious literary festivals. His talks combine an insight into his writing work, along with some extraordinary anecdotes from the life of a television reporter, including the now notorious story of What to do when you really need a dead otter.
Now 49 years old, he began a broadcasting career as a DJ on the radio and in nightclubs, then moved into radio and TV news. He worked in Europe, London, Ireland, and the south-west of England, before settling in Cambridge.
Simon is married to Jess, Director of Libraries at the University of Cambridge, and has an adopted daughter, Niamh. She’s an army officer, which makes her father both very proud and very nervous.
Simon lectures on careers in the media at Cambridge University, and in schools and colleges. Amongst his proudest achievements, he includes the number of young people he has helped into jobs in broadcasting, and aspiring writers into publication.
As for his likes, Simon lists beer – he judges at real ale festivals – cycling the countryside, solving cryptic crosswords, composing curious Tweets (find him @thetvdetective ) and studying pop lyrics.
For more on Simon, see his website – www.thetvdetective.com
Simon’s Social Media:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Simon-Hall/e/B0034Q7NPC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1523989492&sr=1-1
Buy The TV Detective direct from Fahrenheit Press: