Hello my little chickadees.
Well there's a lot of tumbleweed moving about my author victim cave today. I really think it's about time I purloined a few more bodies to hang up and torture.They only need to spill the beans about their books, what they're up to and a little bit about themselves. I can't help it, if I'm the nosy type and it's for their benefit after all. It's looking decidedly tidy now that there is no blood, guts and torn limbs etc laying about. It can be quite unnerving you know. I'm just not used to it being this quiet. I do like the constant moaning and screaming I hear, when I prod with my taser. I nicked it from a previous victim and I can put it to much better use. Having said all that, as I wandered through the recesses at the back I did find a couple of dead mice that were quite suitable as a quick snack.
Oh and belated Happy Easter egg day. I bet there were loads buried in your neck of the woods. Did you go on an egg hunt? I haven't done that since I walked the earth as a dinosaur. Stick with me kid, I know many things!
Today on my blog I have David Jewell. A cop turned crime writer, who at one point was mistaken for a porno author of the same name. Honest. He’s had thirty one years police experience at the sharp end of some of the toughest areas in the North East and has also received several commendations. His writing captures the voices and attitudes, of a tough, working class Northern city and often the black humour of those who police it. Since then, his retirement has enabled him to get involved in several other occupations as you will discover.
In his debut novel Death Rattle, David introduces you to Detective Inspector Jack Slade of the Homicide and Major Enquiry team, who brings a new dark and gritty realism to the crime writing genre. A body is found stabbed in a notorious Newcastle Upon Tyne gay cruising area. What appears to be a robbery gone wrong, takes a dramatic turn when the identity of the victim is revealed. Slade is drawn into a dark underworld and forced to seek help from people on the fringes of the Newcastle gay scene. Jack finds himself embroiled in a sinister world of sexual exploitation, missing teenagers and murders. His unorthodox policing methods, result in the death of a suspect and he finds himself on the outside shunned by his colleagues and a suspect in a homicide.
So, let’s learn a bit more about David Jewell the author.
Who is David Jewell
I think it’s usual to identify oneself by the occupation that you have at the time. For over thirty one years if you had asked me that question I would have immediately replied with the cliché “Like a stick of rock snap me in half and it reads “cop” from top to bottom.
However, over the past four years with the success of my TV Series “Write on” and the Royal Television Society nomination for the political biography “From Pit To Parliament” I would have been able to claim that I was a documentary film maker. Covid has put a temporary halt on that.
If you ask me today then I would have to say that I am a writer and crime novelist.
Tell us about family members
I come from a large family and we’re very close. I’m sure that just like everyone reading this during the Covid pandemic I miss my family like crazy. Facetime is a great tool and I now speak to my sister in Australia more often than before the crisis but no amount of zoom or Facetime can compensate for giving loved ones a hug. I’m hoping that the nightmare is over soon, but couldn’t help but smile when my five year old niece told me last week on Facetime “Uncle David… when this is over we’re all having a big party.” I’m so looking forward to that day.
Tell me about your writing routine
I’d love to say that I have a set routine but that would be a fib. I’m envious of my friends like International Crime Writer Mari Hannah who says it is her full time job so she gets up in the morning and writes until late afternoon with a break for lunch. Playwriter and screenwriter Michael Wilcox works in the morning until lunch time but the Horror writer Stephen Laws is the opposite and starts work around Midnight writing throughout the night. When I made a TV documentary on Stephen I called it “The Midnight Man” after one of his novels. I just write when I come up with an idea but once I start I seem to keep going for hours into the night.
Although I am determined to establish a routine … that has been my New Year resolution for a few years now.
What genre do you write in/would you consider other genres?
I’m a crime writer and use my experience of more than three decades as a front line cop to fuel my writing. That being said, I am working on a potential television comedy drama but I’m finding comedy is very difficult as we all have different ideas of what is funny. I find it disconcerting when I watch classic comedy like One Foot in The Grave, Father Ted or Fawlty Towers and think to myself I could never ever be as good as that.
Probably my favourite type of food is a curry but that is best enjoyed with a pint of English Real Ale… and not that fizzy lager concoction.
I enjoy cooking food for friends and weather permitting dining “al fesco” in the garden. I really love relaxing on the patio in the Summer with a good crime book and a glass of Rose wine.
Do your characters take over at all and if so how do you deal with it?
My character Jack Slade in the crime novel “Death Rattle” has definitely grown larger than life and whilst he (rarely) breaks the law, he has no compunction about frequently bending it if the circumstances require him to. His sometimes unorthodox methods of policing have certainly found favour with my readers and he is a firm favourite amongst police officers who constantly email or message me to say how much they love him and ask when is the next Jack Slade book coming out. Maybe some of them are thinking “I wish I’d done that” whilst others muse “I know someone who got away with that.” Cops frequently say “I know who that character is!” The reality is that Jack and all the other characters he works with are fictitious with the exception of the barman in the Police club who shares his name with a real person…. along with that persons dry wit.
I did have one reviewer who said that they found one of the things Jack Slade did far-fetched and that any police officer who did that would end up in prison. I had to smile and was inwardly pleased that I hadn’t put any clues in to identify who had done that particular deed.
Truth is very often more stranger than fiction.
Any pet hates about books.
I hate the inaccuracies in procedure in books marketed as “Crime Procedurals”. I know that it is easy to make mistakes and for typos not to be picked up by readers despite having been proof read several times, but there are basic procedural actions that keep repeating.
Very rarely is a warrant required to search a property and never if a person is arrested. Searches are almost always covered by The police and Criminal Evidence Act.
Almost never is a warrant of Arrest issued for anyone unless they have failed to turn up for a scheduled court appearance. Police have widespread powers of arrest set out in legislation.
My real pet hate is the frequently repeated portrayal of the cop who is sick at the sight of a crime scene or autopsy. A cop like that isn’t going to last long. It has become a cliché and in more than thirty years as a cop I have never witnessed it.
The reality is you just get on and do your job despite the gore, death and destruction around you. It’s only when you finish work and go home that you might sit and reflect on what has happened. I think that is why cops have such a black sense of humour. It’s a coping strategy and I try to bring that out in my writing.
Sometimes especially in Television inaccuracies might not be the writer’s fault. Many years ago when I was working as a detective A great friend of mine Michael Wilcox was writing an episode of Inspector Morse and rang me to ask about the correct procedure for an identification parade. I told him but when it appeared on screen it was nothing like I’d explained. When I next spoke to him he said, “I know David but the Director said doing it the right way… just didn’t look as good on screen.”
Where do you go to escape
Some years ago my brother and I invested in a renovation property in North Northumberland that is central to all the scenic places I love. Now restored it has become a holiday home which unfortunately due to Covid, is not getting visited at the moment. When I’m there I can curl up on a lounger overlooking the garden and disappear into the pages of a book. Sometimes I also use it to escape from distractions if I need to work on a novel or screenplay.
I have always loved the Northumbrian countryside and following the success of the fantastic television series Vera with the lovely Brenda Blethyn and Kenny Doughty, the world is discovering Northumberland and it’s doing wonders for the local tourist industry.
Have you any WIP at the moment, or anything due to be published?
As I mentioned I’m working on a spec script for comedy drama television series set on Tyneside so I’m hoping that will work out.
With regard to my Crime Novels, I’m rewriting and editing the second Jack Slade novel which will be released when Lockdown is over and we can have a traditional launch.
There’s a third novel in the pipeline which is an international thriller with strong psychological undertones. Concerning technical issues with the weapons aspects of the novel I have a good friend and former colleague with whom I’m in frequent contact. He keeps me up to date concerning firearms but he has just sent me a real writers’ joke.
A priest, a pastor and a Rabbit walk into a blood donation clinic.
The nurse asks the rabbit “What is your blood type?”
The rabbit replies “I think I’m probably a Type O”.
Jewell, David — The Crime Writers' Association ()