For Reasons Unknown Blog Tour: Q&A with Michael H Wood



So who is the handsome devil above you may ask?..Well that my dear #bookjunkies is the author of one of my favourite reads of 2015: For Reasons Unknown

Michael H Wood has kindly offered his time to answer a few questions.  I am so grateful for his time and very pleased to welcome Michael to CrimeBookJunkie!  If you would like to read my 5⭐️ review of this phenomenal book, click here.

CrimeBookJunkie Interview With Michael H Wood

Can you share a little about yourself and your background?
I am a former journalist and a great deal of my stories always had some crime element. I used to cover the courts a lot too which I found very interesting. I currently work as a book reviewer and a freelance proofreader when I’m not writing.

For Reasons Unknown is your debut novel, how did it all come about?
I’m interested in why a person commits a crime rather than who has committed it. Hence the title. Are there genuine reasons for committing a murder? The killer obviously thinks so. That is what interested me and the story developed from there. I wanted to create a thriller where the reason for killing was paramount to the killer but to everyone else the reason wasn’t justified.

What do you like to do when you are not writing? Hobbies etc?
Writing does take up a lot of my spare time. However, when I’m not writing I’m probably reading. I’m a huge fan of crime fiction and a massive book geek. I have hundreds of books and a reading pile of almost two hundred, which I keep adding to on a weekly basis. I could talk about my favourite authors and books for hours. Pull up a chair…

What drew you to crime thriller vs another style of writing?
The simple answer is that I love crime. I can still remember the first crime fiction novel I read: The Sculptress by Minette Walters. It completely blew my mind. When I finished it I went out to the book shop and bought every other title she’d written (at the time she had written four). I devoured every word and wanted to explore the genre more.

Do you work to a particular outline/structure/plot or do you prefer to just see where your ideas/the story takes you?
I come up with a story, although I don’t always know who the killer is, then I plot it out on paper very briefly. Then I hand write the first few chapters. That’s how I know if the story is going anywhere. After that I plot my chapters by hand before typing them up. I only plot a few chapters in front as I always go off in a different direction once I’m at the computer, but that’s the fun of writing. Even I don’t know what the characters are going to do next.

Have you ever experienced the dreaded “writers block” and if yes, what did you do to get over the hurdle?
I don’t think I have. I’ve had times where I’ve found myself in a bit of a hole and not known where to go next, but when that happens I’ve just walked away from it, done something else, and cleared my mind. When I’ve gone back to the laptop it seems to have sorted itself out.

If you were out buying books, would For Reasons Unknown be something that you would have purchased for yourself?
Definitely. It’s my kind of book. Full of manipulation and psychology. That’s what I love in crime fiction books. Also, the author of For Reasons Unknown is very good. I’d read anything he writes.

I am a big fan of book covers, I really thought yours stood out. How did you decide on the cover of your book?
I didn’t. That was all down to the publisher. When it came back there was one thing that needed tweaking but apart from that I had nothing to do with it at all. I’m very pleased with it. I think it’s a great cover. I’d love it on a t-shirt.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it be and why?
This is an excellent question. It would be easy to pick a Minette Walters novel but I think I’ll challenge myself by choosing something out of my top ten. I’m going to choose Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I first read it as a child and it spoke to me. I try to read it once a year (although I haven’t read it this year yet). To me, it’s the perfect novel. It’s my comfort blanket.

What book are you reading right now?
I’ve just finished The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie and I’m about to start Spider’s Web by Ben Cheetham. I shall be reviewing this one for CrimeSquad. It’s set in Sheffield (as is my novel) so I’m looking forward to reading it.

Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
Alex Marwood, Sarah Hilary, Eva Dolan, Emma Kavanagh are all amazing writers. They all write very different books but they’re all equally brilliant. I intend to read everything they write. Belinda Bauer and Elly Griffiths have both been around a good few years now but they’re always worth a mention.

What current project{s} are you working on?
Book two in the DCI Matilda Darke series, and I’m always writing short stories too.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging when you are writing?
Not having enough time. I’d love to spend all day writing but that annoying thing called work keeps getting in the way.

What do you think makes your books stand out from others?
I’m not sure I can answer this question without sounding big-headed. My setting stands out. There are very few novels set in Sheffield, so I’d like to think I’m bringing a new city and environment to reader’s attention.

I absolutely adore your dog, Woody! Can you tell us a little bit about Woody and do you think you will ever feature him in one of your books?
Woody is a golden Labrador and my writing companion. He sits by my desk when I write and I read my chapters out to him to sound them out. He’s eleven years old, and, unfortunately, he’s blind, but he’s a wonderful friend. We’ve been through a lot together over the years and I’ve told him things I’d never tell anyone else.

When I read, For Reasons Unknown, I felt there was a huge connection between you and the book. How much of yourself did you put into the characters?
A great deal. I think when you’re writing your debut novel you want it to be as good as you can make it so you draw on things you know. I’ve learned a lot from being a journalist and attending crime scenes and court sessions. Matilda’s anxiety is created from my own issues with the world and Jonathan’s book collection is similar to mine, although I don’t have his library which I was very jealous of. Adele has all the confidence that Matilda (and I) would love to have and I thoroughly enjoy writing her.

If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Worried. Thoughtful. Tired.

If you could describe your book in three words—what would they be?
Psychological. Dark. Thrilling.

And finally, how can readers discover more about you and your book?Facebook
Twitter: @MichaelHWood

WOW!! Was that as good for you as it was for me #bookjunkies!?! What fantastic answers!!  I was absolutely thrilled to be able to interview Michael and I hope you enjoyed his answers as much as I did.  I am really look forward to reading about DCI Matilda Darke (GREAT NAME!!) again in the future and mark my words…Michael is an author to keep an eye on!  To buy a copy of this book, just click the link below:

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Thanks again Michael!  Now get back to editing Book 2 as I am feeling withdrawal symptoms! ?