James Carol

James Carol

Broken Dolls is a psychological thriller set in London. There’s a psychopath on the loose, one who kidnaps, tortures then lobotomises his victims. The police have hit a dead end so they bring in Jefferson Winter to help solve the crime.

Please tell us more about the character of Jefferson Winter.

Winter is a former FBI profiler who now travels the world hunting serial criminals. He has a genius-level IQ, a fondness for single malt whisky and an aversion to cheap motel rooms. Oh, and he’s the son of one of America’s most notorious serial killers.

I never know what he’s going to do or say next, which makes him a lot of fun to write. He’s not wired like everyone else and this can lead to some interesting situations. Quite often I’ll get to the end of a scene and think “you can’t do that”. Then I’ll think “ah but Jefferson Winter can”. He’s such a fun character to write, and from the feedback I’m getting, readers are taking him to their hearts, which is incredibly gratifying.


How does it feel to received such glowing praise from people such as Stephen Fry?

It’s amazing. The fact that he liked the book is one thing, the fact that he liked it enough to option the TV and Film rights takes things to a whole new level. The plan is to adapt Broken Dolls for TV, then create a spin-off series entitled WINTER based around those characters. Watching the TV series take shape is fascinating. There are some amazingly talented people involved in the project and I can’t wait to see what they do with the book.

How long did it take you to perfect the pace and tension in each your books during your writing process?

Each novel takes about a year to write. That’s not to say I’m working flat out on it for a year. I’m not. The first draft takes about four months. I’ll then put that away for a month and go and work on something new, so that when I come back to do the second draft I’m coming at it fresh. During the next six months I work with my agent, editor and copyeditor, drafting and redrafting until the book is as good as I can make it. In between drafts I’ll go and work on something else. I like to keep busy so I’ve usually got two or three projects on the go at any one time.

Why is the thriller genre so appealing for you as a writer?

For the same reason that I enjoy reading thrillers: I want to know what happens next. I’m not one of those writers who plot everything out to the nth degree. Instead, I get an idea and run with it. When I start writing a novel I have no idea how it’s going to end. That’s what keeps me ploughing on through the first draft. I have to know how that story is going to end. A good thriller twists and turns and keeps you guessing right to the end. For me that’s as true when I’m writing as when I’m reading.

When did your writing life begin?

When I left school, I worked as a journalist for a few years. That was the first time I got paid to write, and it was a great apprenticeship for what I do now. The two most important things I learned from those days was how to work to deadlines, and how to work with editors.

As for writing fiction, I wrote my first novel back at the turn of the Millennium.  My first attempt wasn’t brilliant but I’ve got better since then. The best advice I’ve ever seen for aspiring writers is that you’ve got to write. It’s no good talking about writing. That won’t get you anywhere. If you want to get better, you’ve got to switch on your computer and hit the keyboard. So that’s what I do. Most days I’ll write. Maybe I’ll be working on a novel, or doing some edits. Or maybe I’ll be doing a Q&A for Female First!

Who are you a fan of in the genre?

Thomas Harris has got to be up near the top of the list. The guy is a legend. He writes like an angel, and he invented the serial killer novel. Hannibal Lecter is still one of the most incredible fictional characters ever dreamt up.

Lee Child is another incredibly talented writer. He’s up to book nineteen now and the novels are as good as ever. Whenever a new one is released, that’s it, I just check out from life until I’ve devoured it.

What is next for your eager fans?

Presumed Guilty comes out in July. This is the first instalment in an eBook series set during Winter’s FBI days. For readers who are interested in finding out more about Winter, this is a good place to start. The plan is to release the eBooks between the full length novels.

Smoke and Mirrors, the second Jefferson Winter novel, sees Winter travelling to Northern Louisiana to work on a case there. This will be released in September. All in all, it’s going to be a busy year for Winter.


Broken Dolls by James Carol is out now in paperback, £7.99 (Faber & Faber)



by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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