Ziggy Stardust, Ed McBain, and me.
The machinations of the universe are a strange thing and I recently discovered a connection between Ziggy Stardust, the crime writer Ed McBain and me.
When being interviewed about my books you can almost guarantee that one of the questions will be how I got started, or at least what inspired me to start. It is the same for all authors.
In my case it was when I was around 15 years old and I discovered a stack of books my Mum had in the house. Usually she would read books that held no appeal to a fifteen year old boy, however these books were something else. I began to read them and was totally blown away.
The books were by American crime author Ed McBain and told the story of the 87th Precinct Homicide detectives in New York, namely Detective Steve Carella.
I loved reading them and this initiated my leanings towards writing crime novels myself and indeed becoming a CID detective a few years later. But, at fifteen and living in a council house with just my mum and sister, it was a world away from my reality.
Fast forward to my having One Oblique One published in 1990, an authentic police procedural set in Nottingham which was short-listed for the auspicious John Creasey Award for best debut crime novel by The Crime Writers Association.
I was asked to sit on the main panel for Bouchercon, The International Mystery Writers conference at the Theatre Royal, alongside emerging talents such as Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. Bizarrely it was being held in Nottingham and so not much travelling was necessary!
During the weekend, a friend and fellow author, David Belbin, said that the writer Ed McBain was in town as he was giving a talk At The Broadway Theatre on writing Alfred Hitchcock's classic 'The Birds.' He wrote it under his pseudonym Evan Hunter.
And so it came to pass that I not only met my writing hero Ed McBain, but in fact, had dinner with him and half a dozen others.
Who would have believed that this kid who lived world's away could ever dream of meeting Ed McBain, never mind have dinner with him. Certainly not me. The planet's truly aligned that day.
What I find hilarious is that I gave him a signed copy of my book and he gave me a copy of the Birds script in book form but I forgot to ask him to sign it!
Only the story doesn't quite end there. When my books were first published I had an idea for the book design and the publisher chose an artist called Terry Pastor to create them.
This is what the first two looked like - One Oblique One and Trace and Eliminate:
I eventually bought the original artwork from Terry and they hang in the hallway of my home.
Note the space on the left of the artwork is there for the back of the book covers as the image is wrapped around it.
Last night I thought I would look up Terry Pastor on the whirlygig magic internet box thingamajig.
Amazingly I discovered that Terry had created the artwork for Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album, Hunky Dory and albums for The Beach Boys. He also created book covers for many famous authors such as Len Deighton, Arthur C. Clark, Mickey Spillane and others. Yes, would you believe? He also did the artwork for books written by a certain Ed McBain! what are the chances that the circle would be completed in such a way?
What a small world it is.
As I return to writing I have designed the covers for my revamped books myself:
My latest book cover in The Inspector Stark series 'Murder Me Tomorrow' looks like this:
My conclusion to this? It is a small world and destiny is a fascinating subject.
While you are here, by all means feel free to have a look around the Keith Wright Author website for free short stories, free samples, videos, bio and much more.
Have a great day.