Tuesday, 19 July 2022

πŸ“– Author in the Spotlight ~ Harry Fisher


I am delighted to welcome author, Harry Fisher, to the spotlight today

Welcome to Jaffareadstoo, Harry. Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m a native of Edinburgh but I live in Aberdeen with my wife, Shiona, and our Hungarian Vizsla. He’s bonkers, as anyone who knows the breed will readily testify. I’m retired - from business, my writing keeps me busy – but I’m very active: tennis, walking the dog, cycling, and bits and bobs of DIY and gardening.

Where did you get the first flash of inspiration for your crime series?

My first book Way Beyond A Lie is about a woman who disappears while supermarket shopping with her husband. Blokes who are reading this might empathise, but my wife can disappear from sight in the supermarket in the blink of an eye. Now, usually I find her in the next aisle or even the one after that, but one day I got to thinking – what if I couldn’t find her? What if she’d completely vanished? If she wasn’t in the store, or the cafΓ©, or the toilets, or the car park – what would I do? So I started the story with that premise, and it all worked out nicely.

Without giving too much away – what can you tell us about your latest novel - Yes, I Killed Her?

Over the years I’ve become fascinated with the concept of the perfect murder. A few Christmases ago, we were watching Murder on the Orient Express. In that period, Poirot had to rely mainly on his intelligence and powers of observation to solve the murder. But in modern times, CCTV is omnipresent. Forensic science, both biological and digital, has come on leaps and bounds, and we all leave electronic footprints a blind man could follow in a fog.

In Yes, I Killed Her Edwin Fuller has decided to murder his wife. He’s devised a detailed plan not only to kill her but to guarantee he gets away with it. (I’m not giving away any spoilers here – we find that out in the first couple of pages.) But it’s not just a question of loading her body in the back of a car and dumping it somewhere – he’d almost certainly be caught. No, it’s far more complicated than that.

This is the second book in the DI Melissa Cooper series (#1 was Be Sure Your Sins) so Mel and her team are on the case. But all the evidence points away from Edwin Fuller – exactly as he had planned. But then he makes his big mistake.

Incidentally, a few weeks before the book was published in May 2022 my publisher, Rebecca, told me the story was a howdunnit as opposed to the more obvious whodunnit. But told me that on April 1st, so I thought she was winding me up. Turns out she wasn’t, howdunnit is a legitimate sub-genre. Who knew?

Are you a plotter...or ...a start writing and see where it takes you, sort of writer?

I don’t write to a plan. Speaking personally, I can’t see how that would work for me because while I’m writing, plot ideas and changes of direction occur to me all the time so any plan wouldn’t last long.

But when I start a book, I do have an outline concept of where the story is heading and then I let it evolve. Yes, I Killed Her is my third book so I’m quite relaxed about this writing by evolution – which I find very strange because during my career I was an extremely process-driven operator and the idea of just letting things flow would have been anathema.

Whilst you are writing you must live with your characters. How do you feel about them when the book is finished? Are they what you expected them to be?

I’ll answer the second question first. I guess, just like the story, my characters also evolve. Thinking back to my first book Way Beyond A Lie there is a character called Jarek. He’s Czech, and an assassin. Now, Jarek takes great pride in his work but he’s not a psychopath. He’s principled and he has a good heart. But this is not how I set out to write him. He turned into that.

Similarly in Yes, I Killed Her the murderer’s personality changed as the story moved on. But I don’t suppose that’s a surprise, really. How many of us would be the same person after killing someone?

When it comes down to my regular characters, they change over time as more of their pasts and their personalities are revealed. To me as well as to the readers.

Going back to the question about how I feel about my characters when a book is finished, it’s vital I feel the same as I want my readers to feel. For every character you have to feel something; you either love them or loathe them. Even minor characters – they have to make some form of impression, otherwise I haven’t done my job properly.

Do you write the type of books you like to read and which authors influence you?

Yes, almost exclusively I read thrillers. In recent times I’ve been positively influenced by TM Logan, Harry Bingham and MW Craven – they all write terrific books.

But if I read a book that I don’t like, and there’s a particular reason, then I can take something from that too. A couple of years back I read one of a series by a multi-million seller – no names, naturally. There was a technical hole in the plot that an ocean liner could have sailed through. It involved a suicide where, at 30% through the story, the senior forensic pathologist stated the victim had shot himself in the head with a rifle. He was found slumped on the floor with his back to a wall. But the pathologist didn’t calculate the trajectory of the bullet or analyse the blood spatter or even prove the victim’s arms were long enough to reach the trigger. I remember thinking, oh come on! Seriously?

Sure enough, at about 70%, the pathologist discovered his “mistake” and that the victim had actually been shot by someone standing in front of him with the angle of the rifle pointing down. Utter twaddle, lazy writing, and showed precious little respect for the readers’ intelligence. I’m particularly anal about plot holes like that, which is why one of my beta-readers has the specific task of making sure I don’t make the same type of mistake. Because if I had, I’d want to be told.

How do you manage to balance writing with your everyday life?

Way Beyond A Lie was life-consuming across the four years plus that it took from concept to self-publication. My wife was an absolute star about how much time I spent on it, and I was incredibly grateful. So when I started on Be Sure Your Sins I resolved to be more disciplined about it. And even more so with Yes, I Killed Her.

Real life has to go on – going shopping, DIY, the garden, walking the hound, going out for lunch – all that good stuff. So I tend to write after morning coffee (like now) or late afternoon. I’ve found that works perfectly well at the writing stage, and to a lesser extent while I’m editing. But there’s no doubt the closer I get to publication date, my involvement ramps up and that’s when it’s tricky to keep a lid on it.

Harry, how can readers discover more about you and your work?

Twitter @HFwritesCrime

More about Harry Fisher 

Harry Fisher is a native of Leith (the port for Edinburgh) so that’s where his crime thrillers are set. Write about what you know, and all that. He lives in Aberdeen with his wife, Shiona, and their Hungarian Vizsla.

Prior to self-publishing his debut, Harry had never written a word of fiction. So he just launched in – cold turkey for authors. And now he’s written three books:

Way Beyond A Lie has bang up to date themes: identity theft and cybercrime. During two free book promotions in 2020, it was downloaded 2,700 times over five days.

Be Sure Your Sins is #1 in the DI Mel Cooper series. (She takes no crap, not even from the bad guys). The story concerns “six events that happen to six people that destroy six lives”. Both thrillers were published by www.hobeck.net in Autumn 2021.

Hobeck Books

Yes, I Killed Her (published May 2022) is Harry Fisher's audacious follow-up crime thriller, also starring DI Mel Cooper. “In the 21st century, is the perfect murder remotely possible? Edwin Fuller is convinced it is. He’s cunning, calculating, and chilling. He makes a plan. He carries it out. And he kills his wife.

Fuller’s plan has worked; he’s got away with murder. Case closed.

Until he makes a big mistake.”

Currently, all Harry’s books have Amazon ratings of 4.5 stars from around 650 reviews, and he’s immensely proud of that. But the icing on the cake is Yes, I Killed Her has been endorsed by James Oswald, best-selling Scottish crime author of the Inspector Tony McLean mysteries. He said, “I would recommend this to anyone”.

Things Harry’s into apart from walking the hound every day: travel, outdoor stuff, wine and food, and if all four can be combined then so much the better.


Huge thanks to Harry for being my guest in the spotlight today.

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