Every week we feature a Q&A with one of our Crime Cymru authors so that they can tell us a little bit about themselves. This week Dylan H Jones talks about his character and his writing.
My next project-
It’s taken a while to come to fruition, but the next in the Tudor Max series should be released this summer. ‘Shadow Soul’is set around RAF Valley on the Isle of Anglesey, and finds DI Manx investigating the possible murder of an RAF officer. With limited access to the base, Manx has his work cut out solving the case, and when series of holiday home fires set the whole island on edge, Manx and his team are in a race against time to track down and stop more carnage and lost lives.
Visualising my characters-
I’m a pretty visual person, and always like to sketch out my characters, even the minor players, giving them dimension and depth. DI Manx himself has a very distinctive, minimalist way of dressing–black jeans, black Blundstone boots, white unbuttoned shirt, (sometimes with a thin, black tie attached depending on the occasion) and a black sports jacket. If the dream were ever to come true, the great Welsh actor Rhys Ifans would be the perfect casting for Manx.
Sense of Place-
Sense of place plays a huge role in all my books, and the island of Anglesey was the inspiration for the series before I’d even imagined Manx’s character. I’d always been a huge fan of Scandi-Noir and how they used the environment to enhance the story. I know it’s a well-worn cliché, but place does become character, and with Anglesey it was a place I knew well and having lived away for so long it also gave me an outsiders’ perspective. Anglesey ebbs and flows with the seasons and I reflect that shift of mood in each of my books.
For DI Tudor Manx, Anglesey is a place he never wanted to return to, but now he’s back, he’s dealing with the demons and ghosts he left behind thirty years ago. In some ways he’s a fish out of water, in other ways he’s more familiar with the island than he likes to admit to himself. He sees his posting to Anglesey as a temporary blip in his life plan, though at the back of his mind the reality maybe less comforting. Manx has a weakness for King Edward cigars, Springbank Single Malt Scotch and relaxes listening to Alternative Country music.
I’m a very intuitive writer. I like the have a solid idea before I start writing, something that’s caught my interest and inspired me to find out more.The twists sometimes come as I’m writing, or more often than not when I’m daydreaming or napping!
I like to imagine I have a distinctive style, but it’s hard to give it a name. In general, I’d say my writing is kinetic, descriptive, tense with a peppering of humour.
For Shadow Soul, I spent a great deal of time researching drone warfare and the effects of PTSD on drone pilots. Out of that research came the character of Bobbie Matthews, my protagonist. One trick I use for not overloading the reader is to dramatize the research as much as possible; i.e. I try to bury the research in the action or in dialogue without it sounding like exposition–easier said than done at times.
I don’t think I’m plagued by repeated words as it’s easy enough to find alternatives, however I think repeated actions are the toughest to write. The small actions a character makes such as sitting, walking, listening, reacting; these are all important to break up dialogue or description, but finding new ways of writing them can take some serious brain scrunching.
What prompted your latest novel?-
I was reading an article on post traumatic stress disorder that can affect drone pilots. Even though they’re pulling the trigger thousands of miles away from their targets, they can suffer what’s called a ‘moral injury’ where they feel intense guilt for the taking of lives. I thought this was a fascinating area to explore, and of course as a writer I took this a step further and asked the big ‘what if?’ I came up with the character of Bobbie Matthews, a young woman struggling through intense grief and prepared to go to immense lengths to discover the truth and right wrongs. You’ll have to read the book to discover what truth she’s searching for and the lengths she goes to find it!
A bit of a writing repose, then research on book four in the DI Tudor Manx series. I’m not set on any single idea right now, but I’m researching criminal gangs and organized crime, so it could end up anywhere in that realm. Continuing my seasonal theme, it will be set in Autumn, when the days become shorter, the temperature cooler, and a DI’s such as Tudor Manx’s persuasion begin to feel the pinch of restlessness and uncertainty.
To find out more about Dylan H Jones, visit his website .
To buy some of Dylan’s books, visit his amazon page .
13th March 2020