Partners In Crime: Michael J Malone Q&A

Eeeeeeeek!!!  I am THRILLED to have my bestie, Michael J Malone as my #PartnerInCrime today!!  Mr Malone is included in my all time favourite author list because …well….he writes damn good books!!!  He is also extremely lovely and puts up with me calling him my bestie at every chance I get! … Well at least until the Restraining Order has been finalised, I guess! ? If you have never read any of his books, or wondering who this fabulous author is….well here is a little bit more about him….

About The Author


Michael Malone was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult, maybe.

He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In-Residence for an adult gift shop. Don’t ask. (WHAAAT!? ? #MustAskAboutThisAtBloodyScotland)

BLOOD TEARS, his debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge:Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers and when it was published he added a “J” to his name to differentiate it from the work of his talented U.S. namesake.

He is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website and his blog, May Contain Nuts can be found at


Partners In Crime Q&A 
First and foremost, thank you so much Michael for being my #PartnerInCrime today! I am a huge fan of your work and have been meaning to do a Q&A for ages- so your patience is absolutely appreciated!

I guess we will make a start with the most obvious question: Can you share a little about yourself and your background?

Oh jeez, where do I start? I live in Ayrshire with a teenager, and a yellow lab called Bob. I’ve worked in banking, sales and publishing. I try to exercise regularly to counteract all the crap I eat, watch way too much TV and I want my gravestone to read “He Never Ate Enough Chocolate!”

I see that you are involved with Graham Smith’s Crime & Publishment as well as your own business MJM Ink. Can you tell us a bit about these and what advice would you give aspiring writers/authors?

Crime & Publishment is a weekend of crime writing masterclasses. Attendees are people from right across the spectrum of writing experience, from beginners to published writers. And it is to Graham’s credit (he sets the programme- actually he pretty much does everything, I just turn up and steal some of the credit) that everyone gets so much from the weekend.

MJM INK, is my mentoring/ editorial business for aspiring authors. Basically, my aim is to help my clients write the best book they can write and encourage them on that lonely road to publication. Address is

Advice? I’ll steal this from Stephen King ‘cos it just says it: read a lot and write a lot – if you aren’t a reader you simply won’t have the necessary skills to be a writer. And grow a thick skin. And learn how to take feedback. And learn to be persistent. And don’t expect a shortcut – if it happens, great – but you’re here for the long haul, so buckle up, baby.

What is the weirdest thing a fan has ever done/said to you (and please do not say ‘tag (you) as their bestie’! Ha ha ha

After the chair person at a talk asked me about the sex scenes in “Beyond the Rage”, an old lady approached me at the signing and said; “I don’t mind all that sex stuff, son – my husband died five years ago so it’s a nice wee reminder.”   Ooooo-errrrrr! ?

Let’s talk McBain! You know I adore the McBain series and Bad Samaritan simply rocked! Is there anything about McBain himself you do not like or would wish to change if you could?

Actually, no. I’m not saying he’s the perfect character, but he is who he is. It’s like wanting to change one of your pals. You just accept them the way they are don’t you? He’s a complex man and that demands a lot of me when I’m writing – lots of emotional honesty and strangely, that can actually be pretty cathartic.

I know that you write poetry, other types of books as well as crime fiction, if you had to choose one genre or style of book to write, what would you choose and why?

I’d stick with the crime/ thriller genre – cos you can do so much in this world. All of life is in these books and the only real limit is that bad staff has to happen. How can you go wrong with that?

Kenny O’Neill – *swoon* – there is something about him that drew me in as a reader. In Beyond The Rage we learn more about Kenny and I wondered if we will be seeing him again (on his own) in the future?

Yes, I’ve written the first draft of a novel where Kenny gets involved with an underground fight club. It’s probably the most violent thing I’ve ever written. It was great fun to write. (What does that say about me?) To be fair, the Kenny books are FAST and he doesn’t have the emotional baggage that Ray McBain has, so my mind is in a different kind of darkness, if you like. Ray internalises a lot of stuff, while Kenny strikes out. Makes the writing of him a much different kind of proposition.

As a reader yourself, what draws you in to a book and do you have a particular genre you favour more than others when choosing what to read?

There’s a number of boxes I like ticked, and the writer doesn’t need to tick ALL of them to make me read on, but I will probably love the book if they do. Things like – honesty, emotion, a careful word choice, pace, some humour, a distinctive voice, story – there has to be a story – and I have to care about the people in the story.
I try to read as widely as I can, but mostly it’s in the crime/ mystery genre, with generous helpings of fantasy and contemporary fiction, that I get my bookish kicks.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Read, watch TV and movies with my son, walk the dog and go to the gym. That’s my life right there. Not very exciting is it? ….ummm…you are almost describing my life to a “T” ??…replace “son” with blogging and “gym” with author stalking though! 

What book are you reading right now?

Douglas Skelton’s The Dead Don’t Boogie (out in September). I like how Douglas uses his American influences to inform his Scottish based thrillers. And he’s funny. (But don’t tell him I said all that nice stuff, will you?) And The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn, which is published next month from Orenda Books – just a few pages in and I’m already impressed. The writing is beautiful and an atmosphere of claustrophobia is building.

Are there any new to you authors that have grabbed your interest?

How long have you got? Caffeine Nights are doing some great things with (among others) Mike Craven and Graham Smith. I loved AA Dhand’s debut (what a belter of a book!) I read a Sarah Pinborough recently – wow, just wow. Michael Grothaus’ Epiphany Jones was simply stunning! And Amanda Jennings’ In Her Wake had me in tears.

OMG!  THIS is exactly why we are besties!!!  Similar GREAT taste in books and authors! #JustSaying ?

What current projects are you working on?

I have a new book out on September 15th – A Suitable Lie – from Orenda Books. This is a bit of a departure for me. It’s a standalone novel. Kind of domestic noir/ psych thriller. My publisher describes it as a terrifying love story. Kinda says it all really. An early reviewer said it is “stunning, heartbreaking, passionate, tense and thought provoking.”
Which is nice.
I started this one in the late nineties when I listened in to a talk radio show and the guest described himself as a six foot ex-rugby playing policeman. His wife was just over five feet tall, quite dainty, and she regularly kicked seven bells out of him. I remember thinking, wait, that happens? I did some digging and was genuinely surprised by the scale of it. Sure, women are more often the victims of domestic abuse, but the number of men it happens to is not insignificant, and they are often left out of the conversation.
I wrote the first draft and finished it just before my then agent decided to concentrate on his TV work. Which kinda made me lose faith in it. Then my poetry started to be noticed – prizes and publications – so that distracted me from my career as a would-be-novelist. Until I had a dream (I should tell you about that some time) and DI Ray McBain was born.
Last year my ex-wife’s mother asked me about this particular book – she was one of the few people who read the first draft – saying the main character’s story had stuck with her all of these years. I had discounted it because of my agent’s non-interest, but her comments made me have a re-think. So, I dusted off the file. Tightened it up a little and asked Karen at Orenda Books to have a look. The rest, as they say, is history – with a giant edit.

If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Bald, stocky, bibliophile.

How can readers discover more about you? 

Twitter – @michaeljmalone1

All joking aside, thank you SO much Michael for joining me as my #PartnerInCrime today!  Adore your books, adore you!  I have a copy of Mr Malone’s next book: A Suitable Lie and will be reading this NEXT!  It is currently available on kindle peeps so get clicking!!

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