Stuart MacBride is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Logan McRae and Ash Henderson novels. He’s also published a near-future thriller, a short story collection, a couple of novellas, and a ‘slightly twisted picture book for slightly twisted children’.
Stuart’s next book, The Blood Road, is due in May. We already have a waiting list for it so get your reservation in early. In the meantime, you can read or listen to one of Stuart’s other books from our physical catalogue or OverDrive service.
1. Who were your literary influences as you were growing up?
A. A. Milne was my introduction into a lifelong love of reading, paving the way for the Hardy Boys novels and from them to Dashiell Hammett. I loved Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Stephen King, James Herbert, Larry Niven…
I went back to the Hardy Boys recently to research an article I was asked to write and, dear Lord, they’re dreadfully written. But when I was a wee boy I loved them.
2. Your latest book is The Blood Road. How would you describe it to someone reading this and thinking they would like to read one of your books?
The Blood Road is dark, thrilling, funny, gripping, and terrifying in equal measure. Or, at least, I hope it is.
3. Logan McRae is a great character. How did he come about?
Logan’s a reaction against all the crime fiction I love reading – the kind where there’s a larger-than-life central character with loads of strange character tics (Morse, Rebus, Sherlock…) and they always have a normal person they drag around with them so the writer can explain what’s going on to the reader (Lewis, Siobhan, Watson…).
I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to write about the sidekick rather than the hero? So that’s where Logan comes from: he’s a normal guy trying to do his best, while working for the kind of characters who should be the hero. Like DI Steel.
4. Is there anything you can share about your latest ‘work in progress’?
Tufty loses something very important, Steel goes to the toilet, Rennie does a Columbo impersonation, and Logan eats a sandwich. I could tell you more, but then I’d have to kill you.
5. What is it about Scotland that produces so many great crime writers?
We’re thrawn. Completely and utterly thrawn. It runs through us like the letters in a stick of Blackpool rock. And it’s that resistance to authority and being pushed around that suffuses our crime fiction.
6. If you had the chance to re-imagine another book in any genre what would it be?
I’ve been toying with the idea of Miss Marple, believe it or not. But I’m not one of those writers who says things like “Oh I wish I’d written [this book] or [that book]…” because there isn’t a single book I’d like to have written. Because if I’d written [that book], I wouldn’t have had the joy of reading it. And if I’d written it, it wouldn’t be the same book, because I write like me, not like whoever it was that wrote [that book].
So I think I’ll probably stick to doing my own thing. I’d love to write a children’s novel, or more science fiction, or fantasy, or magical realism, or horror, assuming I ever get the time.
7. Do you have a message for your many readers in Suffolk Libraries?
Yes: you are magnificent animals! Libraries are the cathedrals of literature – we need more of them, not less – and if you’re using your local library you’re helping it stay open. Councils seem to be desperate to shut down the places where we can worship the written word, learn and experience new things, explore worlds that have never existed, and share a deep and visceral connection with each other’s brains. Using your local library makes it a lot more difficult for these people to close them.
8. Can you tell us one thing that your readers may not know about you?
I’m a terrible softy at heart and I love a good rom com.