Monday, April 22, 2013

Scene of the Crime with Author Peter May!

I am one of those readers who feels most comfortable with a huge cache of books waiting to be read. Building that cache is a labor of love in many ways, and mine contains the books of dozens of new-to-me authors that I'm sure I'll enjoy. The trouble is... some of those authors can languish on the shelves for way too long. This week's featured author is a case in point.

Peter May was born and raised in Scotland and now lives in France. He won many awards in television there before leaving to concentrate on his first love, writing. He's written several standalone novels as well as two series, one featuring Chinese detective Li Yan and pathologist Margaret Campbell which is set in China, and the other which features Enzo Macleod, a Scottish biologist living in southwest France. I have books in both series in my "cache," but it wasn't until I heard about May's trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides that I finally committed to reading him. Now I could kick myself for waiting so long. The Lewis Trilogy is superb, and if you come back tomorrow, you'll be able to read my review of the second book in this award-winning series, The Lewis Man.

Peter May
As always, I've done a bit of research and found a few links about this very talented man that I'll share with you now:

More on Peter May's books

Let's not waste any more time-- on to the interview!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

I can't remember the title of the book.  It was one I had to read and answer questions on to earn one of my Boy Scout badges.  It was set in Finland at the time of the Russian invasion in 1939.  It was about a group of boys in their mid to late teens who went underground to fight the invaders.  It was the first time I became aware of world politics - I was still at primary school.  It fired both my imagination and my indignation, and I found myself able to step into the shoes of those boys and imagine how I would have felt if someone had invaded my country.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

Write and play music.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guidebooks.)

The Burrell Collection
My hometown is Glasgow, and I haven't been there for so long, I'm not sure now what to recommend.  Probably a visit to the Burrell Collection.   This is a collection of art and artifacts put together during a lifetime by one man, Sir William Burrell, a Glasgow shipping magnate.  In his 1944 will he left the collection to the city.  For decades it languished unseen in the cellars of the city's Art Gallery until a special building was constructed to display it.  It includes work by major artists such as Rodin, Degas, and C├ęzanne, as well as late medieval art, Chinese and Islamic Art, Ancient civilisations and more.  It is the greatest collections ever created by one person - consisting of more than 8000 objects.

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Sean Connery

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which book would that be? Why that particular book?

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, because it was seminal in motivating and inspiring me to write.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

I had just driven back to Scotland from a holiday in France and the letter from the publisher was awaiting me.  Quite unexpectedly.  I sat stunned for quite a while, then had a glass or three of wine to celebrate.  The first time I saw it on a shelf in a bookstore I moved it to a more prominent position.

Name one thing on your Bucket List.

I don't have a Bucket List.  [Neither do I.]

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for?

If I were in the States, probably Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis.  Great people, great little store.


Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Peter. It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you a little better.

May your book sales do nothing but increase!

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow to read my review of The Lewis Man. It's one of the best books I've read this year!


  1. I love discovering new series, so I look forward to your review!

    1. It's one of the best books I've read this year, Teresa. Large parts of it just blew me away.

  2. How interesting and what a coincidence! I just started to read The Blackhouse last Friday, only having come across Peter May's Lewis Trilogy last year and I wrote about the opening of the book in my Friday post.

    Sean Connery - a very good choice!

    1. Oh, Margaret-- you have some wonderful reading ahead of you!

  3. What a lovely interview. Sounds like an interesting person.

    Wish I could see the Burrell Collection, which sounds fantastic (sigh). However, I'll see it virtually.

    And now that I've read this interview, I can't wait to read your review of The Lewis Man, although (another sigh) I'm concerned about adding to the staggering TBR list. (Library books arrived yesterday, two books came in the mail and list and piles are overwhelming.) But what is life for a reader of crime fiction -- and other books, too, except for the neverending temptations of good writers?

    1. That's one temptation that I'm seldom ever able to ignore, Kathy!


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