10 Questions for… Richard Jay Parker

Richard Jay Parker has been a professional TV writer for twenty-two years and started by submitting material to the BBC.  After contributing to a wide variety of TV shows he became a head writer, script editor and then producer.

At the age of thirty he decided he wanted to write a novel and have it published. After ten years of rejection, Parker's debut novel, Stop Me, was picked up for publication by Allison and Busby in 2009.

Since then Stop Me has been nominated for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2010 and has entered four Amazon Top 10 bestseller charts.

So, without any further ado, here are 10 questions for Richard Jay Parker.

1. What would you like readers to know about Stop Me?

Stop Me is a twisty and dark psychological thriller that begins with a chain email that must be forwarded to ten people otherwise a victim will be murdered. It's not a typical cop/serial killer story and, I hope, confounds the reader's expectations. It was nominated for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award and, to my surprise, got to #7 on Amazon's Thriller chart as well as #14 in the overall bestsellers.

2. Who are some writers that have affected your storytelling sensibilities?

All the authors on my bookshelves - good and bad.  Whether I've admired them or thought I could do better, I expect, like all writers, I'm a product of every book I've read. I think I'm also inspired by movies as much as books.

3. Along with being a novelist, you’ve also written for television. Creatively speaking, how does one genre compare with the other?

I used to write a lot of comedy for television which, outwardly, would appear to have very little to do with writing dark thrillers. But comedy is all about setting up and paying off and that's something you do in thrillers on a grander scale. Writing scripts has also obviously enabled me to refine writing dialogue.

4. What methods and strategies have you employed in order to promote both yourself as an author, as well Stop Me?

I've done the usual signings and library readings. Social media is a fun tool for getting the word out.  Facebook and Twitter are a great way of contacting like-minded readers and writers. The bonus is I've met a lot of good people in the process.

5. Writing a book is such a complex exercise that I imagine no two authors do it exactly the same. Can you summarize your process for me?

I started with a number of ideas I wanted to explore and constructed the plot.  However, I gave myself plenty of latitude to go off on a tangent which is exactly what happens to Leo in Stop Me.  I think it's good to give yourself freedom to explore although I know other writers who stick to a more rigid plan.

6. When you’re not writing, what sort of books do you enjoy reading?

I have very eclectic tastes. As well as books with a dark vein, I also enjoy bios. My favourite book this year was Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre.

7. What drove you to write Stop Me?

I'd already written a couple of dark thrillers which got close with publishers.I had a handful of ideas for new books but incorporated them all into Stop Me, which was great fun. I think that's the key - with such a difficult path ahead at the end of the writing process you have to make sure you enjoy the work. It should be reward in itself.

8. Where do you see your writing career five years from now?

It would be great to combine my script writing with my novel writing and create a screenplay of one of my books. I'm realistic though and just hope I'm still writing material I enjoy, whatever the project.

9. What are you currently working on?

I've just completed a rewrite of book 2 and am developing some other projects which I hope to put out later this year.

10. What advice would you give to an aspiring author who hopes to see their work published one day?

I only have one book published so I don't know whether I'm qualified to advise, but I think the one thing that's paid off for me is perseverance.  It's a cliche but it's true.  Make sure the work you submit is the best you can produce and then get it under as many noses as possible.  If it's not being read, it's not going to happen.

And there you have it. I'd like to thank Richard Jay Parker for taking some time to hang out on Inside Martin. If you'd like to learn more about Richard and his novel, Stop Me, you can visit RichardJayParker.com. You can also connect with Richard on Twitter, as well as Facebook.