Player Profile: Chris Ewan, author of Dead Line

AuthorPic-380x570Chris Ewan, author of Dead Line

Tell us about your latest creation:

My latest book is Dead Line. It’s a noir kidnap thriller set in Marseilles, with a twist — the hostage negotiator at the heart of the story is concealing a dark secret of his own.

Daniel Trent’s fiancée, Aimee, has gone missing without a trace, and Trent does everything he can to find her. He suspects that shady businessman Jerome Moreau has something to do with her disappearance, and he plans to abduct and interrogate him. But before he has chance, Moreau is kidnapped, and now Trent must get him back quickly — and alive — before time runs out.

9780571287987 (1)Where are you from / where do you call home?:

 I’m from Taunton, England originally, but I’ve lived on the Isle of Man for the past ten years. If you’ve never been to the Isle of Man, think of somewhere small and windy in the middle of the Irish Sea. Then add motorbikes.

When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

 I wanted to be a chef, which was pretty dumb, as I’m not a great cook. Then I wanted to be a travel writer, which explains why a lot of my books end up set in exotic locales. And the Isle of Man.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

 I think there’s probably some kind of law that says I have to tell you that my most recent book is my best, but in the case of Dead Line, I think it’s probably true. It’s definitely the novel that’s turned out to be closest to the book I had in mind when I started to write it. And I really fell in love with the city of Marseilles. It’s the perfect setting for a thriller.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

I usually write in a small study carved out of the eaves in the attic of our Victorian terraced house. Just at the moment, though, I’m on vacation in Switzerland (where part of my new book will be set) and I’m writing with a spectacular view of Lake Brienz.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

 I mostly read crime fiction. Any list I give you is going to be woefully incomplete, but some of my favourite contemporary writers include Laura Lippman, Megan Abbott, Stav Sherez, Helen Fitzgerald, Ann Cleeves and Harlan Coben.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

 Ian Serraillier’s The Silver Sword, Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight Mister Tom, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Plus The Secret Seven, The Famous Five, The Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes and many more.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

Tom Ripley, without the psychosis and the murder habit. Take those out of the equation, and I reckon he had a pretty neat lifestyle.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

 I’ve just taken up running. So far, I suck at running, but I live in hope.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

Maybe not my all-time favourite food but I’m partial to the Manx national dish – chips, cheese and gravy. It tastes better than it sounds.

My favourite drink has to be coffee. I couldn’t write without it.

Who is your hero? Why?:

Raymond Chandler. Reading ‘The Long Goodbye’ for the first time made me fall in love with crime fiction, and every time I go back to it, I fall headlong under its spell all over again.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

 I’ve just finished a stint working as a writer in residence in Isle of Man schools and I’m stunned and dismayed by how few kids are reading for pleasure. There are challenges everywhere, but it seems to me that getting the next generation of potential readers to engage with books is one of the biggest.

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Jon Page

Jon Page is a bookseller and author of the Bite the Book Blog.