Today, I would like to introduce another of my favourite authors to you, Stewart Giles. Initially, I wasn’t keen on Stewart’s writing style but he’s certainly grown on me and I’m now rather fond of him.
Stewart’s crime fiction novels have been published by Joffe Books but he’s now self publishing the majority of them. He’s certainly pretty amazing to do the writing, publishing, and promoting isn’t he?
Links to some of his most popular books can be found at the end of the interview.
So, for now, I will hand the stage over to Stewart.
First off, would you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
Hi there. I’m Stewart Giles, 45 years old and living in the sunshine of South Africa. I’ve written 12 books so far – all crime thrillers. 9 DS Jason Smith books and 3 Detective Harriet Taylor ones.
Stewart on Writing
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I research as I go along. I research just about everything. In fact, if the FBI ever got hold of my browsing history there would be some probing questions to be asked.
How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
It depends. I wrote one of my books in three weeks and another in six months.
Are any of your characters based on people you know?
Definitely. Especially the ones who end up dead. Although I won’t elaborate on that.
Is there anything you regret about the books you have written? (Characters, Storylines, etc.)
One of the underlying themes in one of my books makes me cringe a bit when I read it now.
What items are essentials to have by your side when you write?
A big tub of wine gums, my CD player and a photo of my dad behind me.
Do you have a favourite place to write? Tell me about it.
I used to write everything out free hand in block capitals and I could write anywhere. Now, I’m a more civilised writer – everything is done in my study, surrounded by other people’s books.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote a series based on Willard Price’s ‘Adventure’ stories. I was 8 or 9.
Stewart on Feedback
Do you read the reviews of your books? How do you deal with the negative ones?
I read all the reviews. If the negative ones are constructive, I use them to improve on my stuff – if they’re downright nasty, I laugh them off. A thick skin is essential in this industry.
Do any of your family members read your books?
My mum is my biggest fan. She’s read everything I’ve written. My brother is also a keen reader of my stuff as are my cousins.
Stewart on Reading
Who are your favourite authors?
I love Scandinavian Noir Crime – Henning Mankell, Lars Kepler, Gunnar Staalesen, Antti Tuomainen, Ragnar Jonasson etc.
Stewart’s Random Thoughts
What does literary success look like to you?
If I can make people laugh, cry or scream with my books then I consider it a success.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block?
I see it more as the brain telling you do go and play with the dogs instead.
What inspires you to get out of bed every day?
Usually my bladder, but sometimes I look forward to the next few chapters.
What is your most unusual writer’s quirk?
I like to write in sparkly socks. I feel it makes me a better writer.
Do you feel like you would be a better writer if you wore sparkly socks during your writing sessions?
Oh, I thought 14 was the last question.
The DS Jason Smith Series
The Detective Harriet Taylor Series
The Backpacker Review
July was a good month for reading, mainly because I’ve signed myself up for a fair few Blog Tours with Jill.
This is a review of Stewart Giles’ most recent self-published book, The Backpacker. I have only read one other Stewart Giles book in the past and that was part of Stewart’s Smith series. However, The Backpacker is the third in the Harriet Taylor series.
About The Backpacker
A girl is found murdered on a farm during lambing season, close to the coast to coast hiking trail.
The trail is quiet at the time of year and the quest is on to find a cold-blooded murder before anyone finds out about the other secret.
When forensics go over the crime scene they make a grizzly discovery, an aged corpse hidden inside the rocks. This body holds yet more secrets.
As Harriet and the team investigate stones are turned over and everyone is a suspect.
Will the murderer be caught?
Was the decomposed corpse murder?
Will secrets be revealed?
Having read one of Stewart’s books before and struggling with it initially, I started The Backpacker with an open mind.
I was surprised when I felt at home right away, although I feel I need to go back and read the previous two books because I don’t feel I know Harriet well enough. If that makes sense.
I enjoyed The Backpacker; I found it fast-paced, energetic with just enough, um, fluff…. Sorry Stewart, I can’t think of a better word.
I enjoyed the waiting until the very end for the climax, although I had guessed correctly by about 90% who the murderer was. I liked the fact that a step forward seemed to take the team back two steps at some points.
I think lovers of crime fiction would enjoy the Backpacker. Although, it’s not in the same league as the Jason Smith series he’s written. The Backpacker is somewhat more cozy and comfortable. Although not armchair cozy.
If you like mild crime fiction you can get into Stewarts books below.
About Stewart Giles
After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live. After Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later. 3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series – the DC Harriet Taylor Cornwall series. The Beekeeper hit the shelves and hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well. The third in the series, The Backpacker I have self-published and is now available.
Today, it’s time for another Blog Tour stop at my place. Another read, another crime novel. This time, taking the stage, it’s Unworthy, a self-published novel by Stewart Giles.
Unworthy is the 8th book in the series following DS Jason Smith and his team in York.
DS Smith cuts his leave short as a case of murdered mothers unfolds. There are startling similarities between crime scenes, but it most certainly goes deeper than first appears. DS Smith fights to solve the case before a case of mistaken identity brings his world crashing down around him.
I had never heard of Stewart Giles before this book arrived in my inbox. I have to say, initially, I found it hard going.
The first few chapters of the book were difficult, I genuinely thought that I wouldn’t be able to finish it and I would never be able to write this review. However, I could attribute that to the fact that the characters had already developed and I hadn’t seen the evolution of them. I do feel that the history of DS Smith is important, and the reader only gets snippets of it throughout the book. (This wouldn’t be a problem if I had read the first 7.)
By the time I got to the half way point, I had been engrossed in the storyline for a while and the characters, particularly Jason, had grown on me. I actually loved the different facets of his character. Stewart’s writing style had also worked its charm and with a plot full of twists and a very big red herring (thanks, Stewart!) I can safely say it has stuck with me.
Although, the characters are well defined and developed, there’s definitely room for more development should Stewart decide to continue the series. (The thought is a good one).
I recommend Unworthy to anyone who loves a good crime novel with plenty of suspense. You can click on the image below to buy it.
Again, with all my book reviews, I’m going to make it easy for you to start at the beginning. The images below are clickable links to the first 7 of the DS Jason Smith series.
Also, there’s a collection of five early DS Smith cases in which he learns that detective work isn’t always black and white. You can buy this one by clicking the image below.
About Stewart Giles
After reading English & Drama at three different English Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling and finally ended up in South Africa, where I still live. I enjoy the serene life running a boat shop on the banks of the Vaal Dam. I came up with the DS Jason Smith idea after my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head. Whether it was intentional still remains a mystery. Smith, the first in the series was finished in September 2013 and was closely followed by Boomerang and Ladybird. Occam’s Razor, Harlequin and Phobia (a series of short stories detailing Smith’s early life) were all completed in one hazy 365 days and Selene was done and dusted a few months later.