An Interview with Author, Nick Quantrill
Yorkshire Crime Author Nick Quantrill in Conversation
by Sarah Morgan
Hull. A city out on a limb, a place that’s been home to many memorable characters over the years.
While Edinburgh has Ian Rankin’s Rebus, East Yorkshire’s largest conurbation has Joe Geraghty, a private eye who always gets his man.
He’s the creation of local boy Nick Quantrill, but it’s been a while since we saw Joe in action. Now he’a back in the forthcoming Sound of the Sinners, which Nick has jokingly described as the fourth in a trilogy of novels.
“The last one came out in 2013 just as Hull was being voted City of Culture,” says Nick. “I kind of left Joe Geraghty at that point. He was literally walking away from the city and I thought I was done with him, so it was an interesting challenge to come back and start what I hope will be another trilogy.”
While many entries in the crime genre are police procedurals, Nick’s books take a different approach.
“I liked the idea of taking that American, 1930s, hardboiled template and trying to lay it into a contemporary northern British city. I suppose it was the influence of Ted Lewis before I really knew a lot about him and his work. He was doing that with Get Carter, but placing it in Scunthorpe. I wanted to play with the tropes of the genre and make it modern.
“With the Geraghty novels I wanted to talk about Hull. It’s as much about me having a conversation with the city as anything. When I started them, I didn’t know anybody else who was writing about it, it was a creative dead end in that sense. I wanted to make sense of Hull and to document it. It’s about place for me.”
“It’s an addiction”
In the past few years, alongside being an author, Nick has become a familiar face on the festival circuit, not just talking about his own work, but also chairing discussions with fellow authors. His knowledge of current crime fiction is second to none, so it may surprise some people to learn he didn’t start out yearning to be a writer.
“I grew up in Hull in the 1980s where art was a sort of swear word,” he explains. “It was only after discovering the local music scene in the early 1990s that I found like-minded people who were doing their own thing in their own way. So it was a bit of a slow-burner.
“I started reading a lot more in my twenties and finished an Open University degree when I was 30. After that I was motivated to do something and had more time on my hands so I thought I’d write a short story, and now, 15 years later, I can’t stop doing it – it’s an addiction.”
Although excited about the release of Sound of the Sinners, 2020 hasn’t been without its disappointments – not least the cancellation of this year’s Hull Noir festival; he’s one of the event’s founders and organisers.
Hopes are, however, high for next year: “We’ve rebooked, the new date is 25th March 2021. Fingers crossed. It will probably follow the programme we were going to have this year, but obviously we have to see what happens with the wider health issue.”
“Proud to be a crime writer”
Those who attend such events are often budding writers themselves, and Nick has a few words of wisdom for anyone hoping to follow in his footsteps.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran, it’s all about just sitting down and writing, there’s no getting around it,” he claims.
“You’ve got to remember it’s a marathon as well, so there’ll be days when it’s a slog and you don’t feel as if you’re achieving anything, but the cumulative effect is what you’re working towards. And read a lot too.”
Fans will be pleased to know that Nick is already working on his next book – “it’s not a Joe Geraghty novel. I’m about halfway through and it’s a bit of a journey of discovery at the moment; I can’t really say too much about it in case I change my mind completely!”
But what he is willing to tell us is that it’s another crime tale – and he has no plans to quit either, he’s in it for the long run.
“I love writing crime novels and reading them. It’s a genre that can be looked down on sometimes but I’m proud to be a crime writer and to be writing about Hull. The aim is to just write better crime novels.”
‘Sound of the Sinners’ by Nick Quantrill is published by Fahrenheit Press on August 28th. Pre-order it and buy the rest of the Joe Geraghty novels – ‘Broken Dreams’, ‘The Late Greats’ and ‘The Crooked Beat’ – via: Fahrenheit Press