An Interview with Crime Writer Chris McDonald by Stephen J. Golds

Punk Noir Magazine

Today’s Punk Noir Interview is with none other than my Red Dog Press stable mate and author of the stellar A Wash of Black Chris McDonald. Chris was kind enough to answer some of Punk Noir’s questions about life, writing and those spaces in between.

Chris McDonald

Hi Chris, thank you for agreeing to talk with us today. To start off, would you tell the Punk Noir readers a bit about how you got started in the writing scene.

After having kids, I stopped reading due to lack of time. And it bugged me. So, I started a book blog at the start of 2018 to encourage me to read again. Because of it, I found likeminded people on twitter and started to connect with them. It was wonderful, as I always assumed reading was a very independent thing.

A helluva debut

You’re best known for your DI Erika Piper Series. How did those novels come into fruition and what were your inspirations for those stories?

I always read crime and loved police stories. The first scene-with an actress dead on an ice rink, blood slowly seeping across the white-came to me about ten years ago. I never thought normal people like me could be authors, so thought nothing more of it. And then, a couple of years ago, I thought “what would happen next?”

And so, Erika was created to solve the crime. I wrote it, sent it out to a few publishers and Red Dog got in touch. The rest, as they say, is history!

What advice would you give to up and coming indie authors?

Get the first draft done. I agonised over every chapter as I went, and then during the edit, changed loads which meant all my care during the first draft got ripped to shreds. Yours will too, so don’t be precious. Get it written, start to finish, and then make it better in the edit!

What are your plans for the future?

I’m in a bit of a flux. I’ve got a detective story at 20k words, a story about a mayor trapped in a town at 5k words and have recently started a PI story where I’ve just got 2k. Im liking the vibe on that one, so gonna stick with that for the time being! I’m also contracted for two more Stonebridge cosy mysteries, so gotta wrote those at some stage!

Cosy crime at its best

What is an issue you care about deeply?

At the minute, it’s social media companies doing something major about racism. I think it’s disgusting that racism is still a thing, but the fact people can create burner accounts to insult people because of the colour of their skin and the company can’t do anything about it? It blows my mind. Hold yourselves to account and the rest will follow.

Red Dog Press has some of the best covers around

What novel are you reading at the moment?

Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep. What a fantastic book!

Pulp Noir

What music are you listening to now?

I’m really digging Manchester Orchestra. I’ve loved them for years, and their new album ‘The Million Masks of God’ is really great.

What did you last eat?

I’ve just finished eating a ham, pesto and garlic pizza. Not sure I’d have it again, to be honest.

Slainte

If you could go on a drinking binge with 5 writers alive or dead who would you choose?

I’ve been lucky enough to meet some incredible writers through the Blood Brothers podcast. Zoom has been great, but there are many that I thought: I’d like a beer with you. So, I’ve cherry picked – Stu Turton, Will Carver, TJ Newman, Louise Beech and Antti Tuomainen. There are many, many more though!

What would you like written on your gravestone?

My dad left when I was young, so it’s always been important to me to be a good dad to my own girls. I’d like my gravestone to say ‘loving husband and caring dad’.

If I can achieve those two things, my life is all good.

Chris McDonald

Chris McDonald grew up in Northern Ireland before settling in Manchester via Lancaster and London. 

He is the author of the DI Erika Piper Trilogy, as well as the cosy crime series The Stonebridge Mysteries as a remedy for the darkness.

He is a full time teacher, husband, father to two beautiful girls and a regular voice on The Blood Brothers Podcast. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs.

Stephen J. Golds

Stephen J. Golds was born in North London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life.

He writes primarily in the noir and dirty realism genres and is the co-editor of Punk Noir Magazine.

He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling the world, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs.

His books are Say Goodbye When I’m Gone, I’ll Pray When I’m Dying, Always the Dead, Poems for Ghosts in Empty Tenement Windows I Thought I Saw Once, Cut-throat & Tongue-tied, Bullet Riddled & Gun Shy and the story and poetry collection Love Like Bleeding Out With an Empty Gun in Your Hand.