Tony Black is one of the great Scottish crime writers, and one of the most prolific. He’s written four separate crime series (and his next is the fifth of one of those series), has had eight CWA Dagger nominations, and his Hard Truths collection of interviews with other writers is something every writer should read.
He’s Irvine Welsh’s favourite British crime writer.
A friend of mine doesn’t read fiction, paraphrasing Frank Skinner about it all being made-up and he has no time for any of that. What words do you have for such a philistine?
What must a protagonist have to make you read on?
A way with words.
Do you need a likeable protagonist?
I’m a misanthrope, I want all protagonists to be unlikeable.
Name a great antagonist, in a novel or movie, and what they do for you.
Begbie from Trainspotting. He smoked Club 10-packs which reminded me of my gran.
What makes you throw a book out the window?
Trying too hard.
Do you grit your teeth all the way to the end of a dodgy novel?
No, I give up on it.
What gets you writing? Is it a great novel, maybe? Something you saw on the street or on TV? Something else?
Could be all of the above; the bigger question is why do we persist?
What did you learn about writing from the last book you wrote?
Less is more. A simple story can be as captivating, if not more captivating, than a hard-worked outline.
What’s your next book, in 30 words or less?
WRECKED, Gus Dury 5, is a missing persons case that leads to murder.
Where can readers connect with you?
www.tonyblack.net and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, though my social media is mainly full of my artworks these days.