Interview with Blair Denholm, Author of Shot to the Heart

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Shot to the Heart?

Shot to the Heart is the fourth book in my crime fiction series, The Fighting Detective. In this one gritty cop Jack Lisbon briefly returns from Australia to his homeland, the United Kingdom, where he must face the demons and dangers he fled five years earlier. The reason for his trip is to be reunited with his daughter, Skye, whom he hasn’t clapped eyes on for five years. I’ve drawn some inspiration from the movie “Taken” starring Liam Neeson.

In the novel, I’ve tried to imbue Jack Lisbon with a warmer heart than readers are used to in the previous three books. If early reviews are anything to go by, I think I’ve achieved it to a large degree. One reader has personally emailed me with ideas for incorporating Jack’s daughter into future plots, and it’s certainly worth thinking about!

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Shot to the Heart, what would they be?

This is a great question! There is actually a YouTube playlist for my first novel, Kill Shot, right here. It features a selection of Jack’s favourite tracks. His mobile phone’s ringtone is the first song on that list – London Calling by The Clash. He’s an old school punk fan who later in life also comes to appreciate the beauty of classical music. As for his sidekick and partner Detective Constable Claudia Taylor, her theme song could be the Guns N’ Roses classic, “Patience”, considering the drama and anxiety Jack Lisbon puts her through on a daily basis.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

If you check out my profile on Goodreads, you’ll see my taste in books is eclectic with 171 books read and reviewed. One minute I’m reading crime and espionage thrillers, the next it’s literary fiction or old-school sci-fi. My only criterion for a good book is this – entertain me.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

I’ve got a couple of books queued up on my Kindle, including a box set from The Freeman Files series by author friend Ted Tayler, and “Smugglers” by fellow Aussie writer Matt Rogers. On my bookshelf I’ve got “A Matter of Honour” by Jeffrey Archer, Paul Theroux’s “My Secret History” and Scott Turow’s “Pleading Guilty”.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

For some of the action scenes in this novel I had to research helicopters, Zodiac boats, and military-style tactical operations, lots of detail that was new to me on a technical level. I really enjoyed taking the knowledge I’d acquired and weaving it into an action-packed narrative.

Without giving too much away, there’s a frantic scene where Jack joins forces with highly-trained police officers to storm a farm-house on the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland. I guess that one was my favorite to write.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I keep a glass nick-nack on my monitor stand etched with a quote attributed to George Bernard Shaw. It says: Some see things as they are and ask, why? I dream of things as they never were and ask, why not?

Additionally, my little dog Bruno often sits beside me on a bench in my office while I write. My partner, Sandra, often jokes that Bruno is going to work when he comes to sit with me.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I’d like readers to feel like they’ve thoroughly enjoyed a few hours of adventure and escapism, with a twisty plot that makes them take a deep breath. And I hope they remember to sign up to my newsletter at the end of the last chapter.


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