Peter James

Literary Birthday – 22 August – Peter James

Happy Birthday, Peter James, born 22 August 1948.


  1. Every novel starts with a theme, and I am constantly looking for big ideas.
  2. …I don’t have concrete plans for the future. I just think of success and keep a successful attitude. Success is 99 percent preparation. If you set yourself up for winning, rarely will you fail.
  3. Music is an important part of my writing process.
  4. The crime genre’s always been regarded very well by the literary end of the book world, whereas horror, although it had that spell in the late eighties, by and large, it’s sort of ghetto-ized, and considered to be exploited literature.
  5. I travel abroad constantly on book promotion and research, and the Internet is invaluable to me for accessing U.K. news in places such as America, which most of the time hasn’t heard of England.
  6. To read is human, to review is divine.
  7. Drafting is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge.The closer you get to the end, the more you start to worry about the beginning.


Seven Writing Tips

  1. Read. Read. Read. Read books that have done well in the genre you want to write in.
  2. I have this holy trinity of writing which consists of Character, Research, and Plot.
  3. Structure is important. Know your ending before you start writing. You wouldn’t just get into a car and drive without knowing where you’re going. Know your most important plot points. This does not mean that things won’t change, but you will never get stuck.
  4. Writer’s Block doesn’t exist. If you have a plot with a proper outline you will never get Writer’s Block.
  5. Once you start writing a book, make time to write every single day. Find a comfortable number of words for you to write each day and stick to that number. I am comfortable with 1000 words.
  6. Love your characters. Even your villains. And the way to make a villain lovable is to give him something to love.
  7. And one from Graham Greene: ‘Every writer has to carry a chip of ice in their heart.’

Read our Interview with Peter James

Peter James is the British best-selling author of the Detective Roy Grace novels, which started with Dead Simple. The series, set in Brighton, has been translated into 37 languages with sales of over 18 million copies. In 2016 he was awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger lifetime achievement award for sustained excellence.

by Amanda Patterson

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