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Guest slot 1 - Adam Maxwell, author of the Kilchester series

For the first in my guest blog slots showcasing writers, musicians, and creatives we are joined by the writer Adam Maxwell. Author of fifteen books and counting, Adam is the writer of the successful Kilchester series - dark, funny crime novels following a collection of criminals led by Violet Winters. Adam also lives in my home village of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland, and therefore I have another reason to be highlighting his terrific work! Over to Adam.

1. Tell us about yourself

I have a finely honed bio that I tend to deploy for moments like this… Crime writer. Genius. Idiot. Liar.

Three of those are true and I can exclusively reveal for the first time that it is the second of the four that is untrue.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember but my first collection of short stories was published in 2006. Since then I’ve stumbled through a variety of genres - I even wrote a series of kids books - but my heart has always been a blackened husk so these days I really only write darkly funny crime.

2. Describe your writing in five words

I should have read these questions in advance and used my previous answer for this.

Funny… Heist… Gripping… Criminal… Fast-paced…

Is that last one two words? I’m gonna risk it…

3. What are you writing at the moment?

I’m currently doing the final edits on book four in my Kilchester series which is entitled ‘Rockdown in Lockdown’. My Kilchester series follows a criminal crew led by Violet Winters and is set it the fictional northern city of Kilchester.

The idea for the book came, unsurprisingly enough, when the global lurgy struck and it occurred to me that it might be pretty funny if the gang tried to pull a socially-distanced heist.

Things kind of spiralled from there (as they are want to do) and what was supposed to be a short story wound up being an editor’s nightmare and pretty much novel-length.

Once I’ve finished the line edits on Rockdown I’ll be returning to the as-yet-unpublished book 3 in the series which is called ‘Get The Girl, Kill The Baddies’.

I’m aware of the fact that releasing book four before book three in a series is a somewhat eccentric state of affairs but I figured that if I was to choose a famous author at random… Neil Gaiman… then no-one would question the logic of such a move. Conversely, if I was an absolute nobody then no-one would care either way. Looking at that scale from the top down means that it doesn’t matter where you sit on it, you can literally release books in any order you want, as long as you explain what the hell you’re doing. Which I might. One day.

Thankfully, since I write the series to be read in any order it won’t affect the enjoyment of one by reading it after another. Though there are easter eggs and progressions which long-term readers are rewarded with there’s nothing that will be ruined by the dreaded spoilers.

4. What’s been your proudest moment as a writer?

That’s a tricky one. The first time I held one of my own books in my hand? The moment when the newest book is published?

5. Who are your heroes in real life and in fiction?

I’m not sure I have heroes as such. I admire unpretentious people who work hard to achieve their vision. Terry Pratchett I think was one of the good ones. He was ahead of his time in a lot of his portrayals of some of the modern issues in society.

In fiction, I would probably answer this differently depending on my mood, but Granny Weatherwax from the Discworld novels springs to mind. That’s a woman who’s a force of nature and doesn’t take shit from anyone.

6. If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Douglas Adams. Without a doubt. He was a writer who was not only brimming with ideas but was in love with the English language. A well deployed metaphor can be as hilarious or profound as anything in the most high-brow of fiction. On occasion he could do both!

7. What’s your favourite part of the creative process - and your least favourite?

My least favourite is a no-brainer and that’s editing. Whenever I improve my process of writing (I’ve published something like fifteen books so I had to learn something as I went along!) it’s usually to minimise the editing process.

My favourite part is when I have the story plotted out and I know the characters and I can just sit down and have the adventures with them. Write the thrills and spills and make the jokes and just have time run away from you while you’re driving your chaotic word-car into the fog.

8. When you are not writing, what is your favourite way to spend your time?

Consuming other people’s writing.

To clarify, I don’t mean going to the library with a knife and fork and a bottle of ketchup and eating the books. I mean reading, listening to audiobooks, or watching TV series and movies.

I read a lot of books about the craft of writing and I’ve been reading more and more non-fiction recently. I think sometimes being able to see where the levers and switches are in writing sometimes makes me a bad reader or viewer so getting inspiration from the real-world is refreshing.

9. What is the one book you always recommend to people and why?

Recently, I’ve been recommending A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell to anyone who’ll listen. There aren’t a lot of modern writers who can balance crime with humour as sublimely as Caimh does. It’s a really difficult skill but his world-building, characters, and use of language have had me ploughing through his back-catalogue at top speed. I like a book where, if someone pulls a gun, you aren’t sure if they’ll shoot themselves in the foot or someone else in the unmentionables.

10. What is next for you?

Back to Kilchester for ‘Get The Girl, Kill The Baddies’. I’ve written around eighty thousand words of it already but I’ve left it too long so I’m going to go back and rework the plot before I continue to make sure it’s actually working. Then on to book six which has already started to take shape in my notepads. Violet and the gang are insatiable in their thirst for crime. I’d like to get it out in the first half of 2022.

And of course to publish ‘Rockdown in Lockdown’ before we all forget what it was like to exist in a global pandemic, which I’m sure will happen any day now.


To find out more about Adam and his work you can find his website at: and if you'd like to join the Kilchester gang stealing a blank Salvador Dali canvas then you could do worse than check out the Dali Deception:

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