I’m delighted to welcome one of my favourite crime authors to my blog today. I featured David in the March issue of Writers’ Forum but the 800 words I am allowed for my column are just not enough to do justice to this prolific and highly successful author.
Welcome to my blog, David. Let’s kick off by talking about about your books in general. What genre do you write and do you write a series or are your books standalone?
I write crime. Mostly blue collar cosy with a deliberate vein of humour. But I also turn out much darker works, Feyer & Drake, for example, or the Cain Hypno-Thrillers published under my pen name, Robert Devine.
I try to produce series. It’s a commercial decision as much as anything. Series sell much better than standalones, and readers soon become familiar with the core characters. As you progress, however, it becomes more difficult to say anything new about those key characters, which is why I put Joe Murray through the mill over the last few Sanford titles.
The Sanford titles would be your Sanford Third Age Club mysteries, which I really enjoy. ‘Blue collar cosy’ has a nice ring to it and sums up the series perfectly. How about giving us the blurbs from, say, your first book and then your most recent one?
I have nothing in the immediate pipeline so here’s the blurb from the very first, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, The Filey Connection, published nine years ago by Crooked Cat, and now under CC’s darkstroke banner. It’s followed by the blurb for The Frame, the second Feyer & Drake title.
The Filey Connection
It’s summertime, and the Sanford 3rd Age Club are living it up in the seaside town of Filey. But the hot months don’t pass without problems for amateur sleuth, Joe Murray.
Was Nicola Leach’s death an accident or deliberate? Did Eddie Dobson fall into the sea or did he jump? What’s going on behind the innocent façade – and closed doors – of the Beachside Hotel? And who raided Joe’s room?
Joe and his sidekicks must find the answers to solve the mystery of The Filey Connection.
Sam Feyer, relishing her role as head of Landshaven CID, and Wes Drake, a broken man after the murder of his partner, are charged with reopening the inquiry into Barbara Shawforth’s brutal murder.
For Sam, it’s a path littered with obstacles from the autocratic hierarchy of Landshaven and the police, to handling the ill-tempered Drake, a man who greets every attempt to thwart him as a personal challenge there to be crushed.
Amid frequent disagreements, an air of thin tolerance between them, they must forge a fresh alliance to battle through a smokescreen of corruption, suspicion and lies if they are to learn what really happened four years ago.
Then the body count begins to rise
Thank you, David. I’ve only recently discovered the Feyer and Drake series and really enjoy them. And I understand there’s a new one coming out this year which is something to look forward to.
So, what inspires you most when you sit down to write? Is it characters? Settings? Or maybe even books you have read?
My work is mainly character driven. I’m an ardent people-watcher and the apparently random, sometimes mindless activity of others is a source of endless fascination to me. Many of the humorous incidents in the Sanford Mysteries are events I’ve observed in real life. The snooty receptionist in Summer Wedding Murder is such an example, although the hotel in question was in Majorca, and the receptionist was neither female, nor aiming his criticism at me. I simply observed it.
Location comes second. My wife and I are seasoned travellers, and most of the towns, hotels, holiday parks I write about are based on places we’ve visited. Of particular note is the architecturally quirky hotel in Peril in Palmanova. That hotel exists and it’s as described, right down to the entertainment staff identified with the word “Animacion” on their uniforms.
Landshaven, the location for The Frame, Feyer & Drake #2, is a barely concealed clone of on Scarborough, one of our favourite British seaside towns.
I never base any of my work on books I may have read, although I do read a fair number and often think to myself, “I could have done that better”.
So, how did your writing journey start? Have you always written? And what was your first published piece?
I’ve been writing since my teens, but I didn’t publish my first piece until the mid-1980s. It was a short article published by our local newspaper, and it concerned the colloquial language differences between my home city of Leeds, Yorkshire, and Northeast Manchester where I now live. Only 35 miles separate us, but the linguistics differences are striking. The article paid me the princely sum of £8.
Ha! My first piece earned me the princely sum of £6 from BBC Radio Bristol. They obviously pay better ‘up North’!
I really enjoy your dry sense of humour, David, and love your YouTube channel. How did that come about?
A combination of arthritis which makes typing tedious and often difficult, and my frustration at never having the bottle to try my luck as a stand-up comedian. I’m naturally gregarious, possessed of what I call a ‘one-megaton sense of humour’, and I’m more than a little eccentric. Sitting, talking to the webcam is faster and less painful than typing out or even dictating blog posts.
And what of your future plans?
More of the same. A third F&D novel, working title The Crypto Killings is well-advanced, and the 22nd Sanford Mystery, Death on the Shore is in progress.
Hooray! I’m really looking forward to that. So finally, tell us three things we might not know about you.
1: I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was eight years old. My recovery at home coincided with the 1958 FA Cup Final between Bolton Wanderers and a Manchester United team rebuilt after the Munich air crash. During that game (which United lost 2-0) I became a devout Man U supporter. This is despite being born a Yorkshireman and attending most of Leeds United’s home games.
2: After a minor operation went wrong in 1989, my liver couldn’t drain and in 1991 I was told that I without a transplant I had two years to live. It was a misdiagnosis (although I did need five hours of surgery to correct the problem) but it took away any fear of death I may have had. I’m in no hurry to shuffle off this mortal coil, but I have no fear of dying.
3: Over the last 30 years, I have attended no less than six funerals of relatives who should have outlived me. Three stillborn grandchildren, a nephew killed in a car crash at the age of 20, my younger brother, aged only 54 when he had a massive heart attack, and most distressing, my daughter, barely 49 years of age when she died through complications of Motor Neurone Disease.
That’s really sad, David and I am so sorry for your losses. Thank you so much for answering my questions with such openness and patience. And thank you, too, for the hours of reading pleasure you have given me and your many fans.
Social Media Links, blog, YouTube, website etc.
The all important buy link.
All titles are exclusive to Amazon
Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries
The Filey Connection: https://mybook.to/fileyconnection
The Summer Wedding Murder:https://mybook.to/sumwed
Peril in Palmanova: mybook.to/peripal
Tis the Season to be Murdered.mybook.to/Stacseason
Feyer & Drake #2
The Frame mybook.to/frame
David Robinson retired from the rat race after the other rats objected to his participation, and he now lives with his long-suffering wife in sight of the Pennine Moors outside Manchester.
A workaholic, gregarious and eccentric, and an animal lover, he has an absolute loathing of politicians, over-hyped celebrities, and television.
Best known as the creator of the light-hearted Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries, and the cynically humorous Midthorpe Murder Mysteries, he also produces the darker, more psychological, Feyer & Drake police procedural crime thrillers.
Writing as Robert Devine, he also produces stark psycho thrillers bordering on sci-fi and horror.