Auntie M just finished reading A. M. Peacock’s debut serial killer thriller, Open Grave, which introduces DCI Jack Lambert. Having managed to hurt or offend pretty much everyone in his life, struggling with his own choices, Lambert is a workaholic who heads a team tasked with unraveling murders where two victims are buried and then dug up. Whether they two know each other is just one of the many items under investigation. In a realistic light, this isn’t the only case on the team’s plate. An effective start with a Newcastle setting to what promises to be a strong series, here’s Peacock’s story on is inspiration for the book. And Happy Birthday!

My inspiration for Open Grave:

Before I began writing Open Grave, my education consisted of a healthy obsession with reading crime fiction. A number of years ago, I discovered Stuart MacBride and read Cold Granite cover to cover in two days. From then on, I was hooked. I got the chance to see MacBride at a local library event, before he became a household name, and took the opportunity to pick his brains regarding the process of writing a book and how he came to be published.

In fact, this is a common thread in my journey to publication. A number of authors I admire have provided both inspiration and advice to me, whether this was due to a question at an event, or having the opportunity to meet them in another capacity. Authors such as Mari Hannah, Tess Gerritsen and Ann Cleeves all contributed to my own journey to publication in different ways.

Like most writers, I also write short fiction, and I have been published on multiple occasions. Before migrating onto writing longer fiction, this gave me confidence in my ability to pen something worthwhile. Also, like most writers, I wrote a very ‘autobiographical’ 70k word novel that is currently sitting in a drawer never to be read again. Once this was out of my system, and the stabilisers had been removed, it felt natural for me to delve into the world of crime.

I am constantly inspired by a number of other writers. Other than those highlighted above, I absolutely adore books by Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, Lee Child and Dennis Lehane. I think the ability to create characters that you care about, with interesting crimes and a strong sense of environment, is the key to good crime writing. The authors I mention above all do this.

It’s no coincidence that my novel is set in the bleak Newcastle winter. Granted, we don’t get much sun in the North East of England anyway, but there is something much more atmospheric about a cold, grey, miserable setting, than a sunny jaunt by the seaside in my hometown of South Shields.

With regards to my main character, I was keen to bring Jack Lambert to life by giving him an interesting back story, one which would impact on everything he does. Jack, the hero of the book, is one of the only gay male detectives I can think of. When Open Grave begins, we see that he has only recently admitted this to the people around him. Because of this, we see a tension amongst those who know him and within Jack himself. He also comes from a troubled background, with links to a local gang.

This may or may not impact heavily on the story as things progress…

Open Grave, the first in the DCI Jack Lambert series, is available now in paperback, audiobook and ebook, via Amazon and other book retailers. As for book two, it’s just about done, so watch this space…

A.M. Peacock grew up in the North East of England before leaving to study for a degree in music technology at the University of Hull. A subsequent return to his hometown of South Shields saw him spend seven years as a teacher in a local college before changing careers to become a trade union official.

Having always been an avid reader, he took to writing after being encouraged to do so by his PGCE tutor. He has since gone on to produce a number of short stories, winning the Writers’ Forum Magazine competition on two occasions, as well as producing articles for both the local press and a university magazine.

A.M. Peacock is passionate about crime fiction and his debut novel, Open Grave, is the first in what will become a series of books featuring Newcastle-based detective, DCI Jack Lambert.

Away from writing, A.M. Peacock enjoys watching films, playing guitar and can often be found pavement pounding in preparation for the odd half marathon.

A.M. Peacock can be found on Twitter at @ampeacockwriter.