I had the pleasure of being part of the Blog Tour surrounding the latest Olly Jarvis’ book, Cut-Throat Defence which you can purchase here. This meant I read the book and was able to ask Olly some questions, and being the law geek I am, I decided to go down a very law related route.
Here is the brief Q&A:
Could you briefly explain your background/legal career?
I grew up in London, then travelled the world for a few years before reluctantly coming back to do the Bar Finals. I headed north to Manchester for a second six months pupillage in 1993 and I’ve been there ever since. My practice has been exclusively criminal defence, right from the start. I’m now at Exchange Chambers.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Only in my dreams. Then one day I decided that if I didn’t try and make it a reality, it would be my biggest regret.
You have a very unique writing style, where has this stemmed from?
To be honest, I have no idea! When I was called to the Bar we were told that ‘economy of language’ was the most important attribute of a barrister. Possibly, years of trying to cut to the chase in court has made me write fiction with the same brevity!
Some of your chapters are very short, one page even, is this writing style preference or do you write chapters based on time?
I come from a family of actors. When I was a kid I used to draw and colour-in on the back of old scripts – maybe that’s why I write in a filmic style. I visualize the chapters as scenes in a movie which I hope adds pace to the story and pulls the reader along.
When are you most inspired to write?
First thing in the morning, when I’m fresh – it doesn’t last long!
Working in the legal sector can be very demanding, how do you find time to write?
It’s a constant battle – work, kids etc, but I try and get the train everywhere nowadays. A long journey to some far-flung court is a great time to write.
So are any of the characters in the book, “Cut Throat Defence” based on people you have worked with or seen?
None of the characters are based on actual people or cases, but I am writing about what I know – the criminal justice system. It’s impossible to avoid drawing on past experiences and shadows of people I’ve met.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
I remember my first appearances in court – adrenalin pumping, the stress and the fear. I still get nervous, it’s a tough career. That’s what I wanted to get across in this novel.
Did the story change much whilst writing?
Yes, the plot evolved over time and became more complex. After I finished the first draft, I went back to the manuscript, time and time again, weaving in new threads.
What is your most and least enjoyable aspect of writing a book?
I hate the way it takes over your life, but seeing a great review from someone you’ve never met makes it all worth it. That can make a grown man cry!
Why did you decide to make this an ebook, when your previous book, Death By Dangerous was paper copy?
My first book sold ten times more ebooks than print copies. That’s how crime fiction readers tend to read, I guess it’s cheaper. When I got an offer from my amazing digital publishing specialists, Canelo, it was a no-brainer. They have the industry expertise to sell my stories to a much wider audience. When you’re selling a download, which only needs the press of a button to purchase, there are literally, no boundaries to who you can reach.
Have any skills you have developed whilst practising law helped you as a writer?
Yes, there are so many. Being disciplined, working to a deadline, having a strategy, thinking ahead.
Are there any future books?
Yes, the sequel to Cut-Throat Defence, which is called The Unconvicted, also published by Canelo, will be out next year.
Finally, who is your favourite crime writer?
No one compares to John Grisham, particularly his earlier novels.
And thanks for having me on your blog.
Do check out my post later on with a review of the book!