Who are you and what have you written?
I’m Frank Westworth, author of the Killing Sisters novels: A Last Act Of Charity and The Corruption Of Chastity, as well as the JJ Stoner stories: First Contract, Two Wrongs, Third Person and Four Cornered. The Stoner stories introduce key characters from the Killing Sisters series so there’s some overlap. However, you can start with any of the books in either series; they’re all written to be enjoyed if you come in halfway through.
The final novel in the Sisters trilogy is being revised right now, and while that’s being edited I’ll wrap up the next Stoner story, Fifth Columnist. Some people have suggested that I share several characteristics with JJ Stoner, not least playing blues guitar and riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Unlike Stoner, I haven’t deliberately killed anyone!
Why do you write crime fiction?
It’s a great opportunity for telling lies, getting even and poking fun and mischief at anyone and everyone while pretending that writing is art. In crime fiction, it’s easy to be entirely honest with an opinion or an action which would be utterly unacceptable in real life.
What informs your crime writing?
People. People are fascinating, even the endless impossibly tedious people are remarkable for their improbable dullness. Then you encounter someone utterly astonishing, unpredictable and wild, and the temptation is born to tell a what-if story. What-if seriously strange person meets impossibly tedious person and … does something very bad to them? What’s the story behind that? The psychology of the strange, the accomplished, the genuine genius-level operator in any field is compelling for me, and the most remarkable individuals are very often criminal – depending on your definition of the word of course.
What’s your usual writing routine?
I write every day for the day job – motoring journalist as I am. So it’s important to split the fiction, which is recreation, away from the commercial composition, which is work. So I switch off the desktop PC, leave the office and park up somewhere else in the house with a netbook, to write stories on that. It’s the netbook’s only use, so there’s a creative disconnect between that and the real world. I have talismans too, like flame-grilled steak crisps, a lot of coffee – best is Srim-Cup, from Thailand – and a Tasmanian Devil USP stick which acts as back-up and prompt.
As well as that, I like to take my motorcycle away for a couple of days every month and park up in a motel, where I eat flame-grilled steak crisps and write long into the night. Coffee is king at that point, and my least bad fiction comes from these kinds of excursions.
Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?
The Last Good Kiss, by James Crumley. Astonishing writing, absurdly brilliant characters behaving in unpredictable ways. The author’s imagination and experience combine here to produce something truly unique.