1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve been writing for a long time; I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t. I’d already written several very bad short stories by the time I finally got to what turned into my first book, Shadow of the Wraith, when I was about 12. It wasn’t until I’d finished that book that my grandmother asked if I was going to try to get it published. The thought hadn’t occurred to me before, but I came around to the idea.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
The main author I’ve always read is Terry Pratchett. I don’t think there’s a Discworld novel I haven’t read. I always loved Douglas Adams too, although I much prefer the Dirk Gently novels to Hitchhiker’s Guide. Lee Child is probably my favourite author of serious fiction, and Iain M Banks or Peter F Hamilton for sci-fi.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel Acts Of Violence?
A mix of reading the first Jack Reacher book and playing a noir game, Max Payne 3. The game’s vibrant, South American setting combined with strongly-noir narration not only made me want to write something noir-ish, but also showed me that bleak, rainy, grey settings weren’t the only ones in which noir could work. Of course, Acts of Violence turned out to have just such a setting anyway. The book inspired the first-person narration, which I had disliked intensely until then, but which I knew was the best way to write mine.
4. Can you tell the readers about your other works?
My other writing comes in two forms: a science-fantasy series, NEXUS, and a series of steampunk short stories (two, so far).
In the NEXUS series are Shadow of the Wraith and Temple of the Sixth, both space operas. They are very different to Acts of Violence and are intended for a wider age range. The series is non-linear, so that readers don’t have to start with the first book, but based on the idea of everything being connected. So, although the books don’t/won’t have direct sequels, they will connect with each other in some big or small way.
The post-apocalyptic steampunk short stories follow the titular character, Kira: a teenage girl who finds herself the guardian of a younger boy in their quest to simply survive the wastelands, mutant animals and oppressive, sinister government.
5. Why did you decide to mix sci-fi with crime noir?
I don’t know. I don’t think that was the intention when I started writing, but at some point I decided that I didn’t want to have to set the book in any real-world location. The obvious solution was to take a dark corner of the universe I’d already created in the NEXUS series and set the book there. The sci-fi stays very much in the background, and the city of Harem isn’t prosperous or advanced enough to be particularly futuristic. The result is a setting that should be familiar to the reader whilst still giving me the freedom I want and need.
6. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life?
Not really. Most of them are stereotypes to some degree: the violent, trigger-happy son of the crime-lord, who doesn’t do a lot of thinking; the calm, collected crime-lord himself who has more going on than people suspect; the detective who can’t catch a break, and who might be the only person in the city who isn’t corrupt; and of course the wannabe private detective who takes at least as many beatings as he hands out.
I wanted to take those kinds of characters and flesh them out a little more than their usual portrayal, and perhaps end up with something familiar yet fresh.
7. Since you write mostly sci-fi, what other genres would you like to try your hand at?
At some point in the distant future I will write fantasy and some kind of superhero novel. Probably not until I have finished the sci-fi series.
8. What would you do if what you were in Acts of Violence?
I suppose that depends what role I had in it. Although most would result in me finding somewhere to hide and cry, and hope that no one found me.
9. You say you like superheroes and video games. What are your favorite comic books and games?
I’ve read very few graphic novels, but of the ones I have, Batman: Hush is my favourite. In a graphic novel, the writing and the artwork both have to be very good, and Hush succeeds with both.
In terms of games, it has to be story-driven and not some mindless garbage where you just shoot anything that moves just for the hell of it – that stopped being entertaining years ago. Unfortunately, the industry doesn’t have the brains to treat the medium with proper respect and so well-written games are fairly few and far between. Role-playing games are therefore my favourite, with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the first Mass Effect at the top of the list. Immersive, expansive and responsive to the player’s choices.
10. Would you like to see Acts of Violence as a film? If yes, who do you want to see play your characters?
I actually wrote a film script for it, but haven’t bothered sending it to anyone. The setting and genre lend themselves to a nicely stylised film with a few unique(ish) aspects. I’ve never given much thought to who could play the characters; just so long as they can act!
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I’ll probably be finishing up work on the second film to concentrate on the game, of course, and counting how many gold bars are in my pyramid.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
If I hadn’t run out of money for lessons, flying a helicopter. Otherwise, I’m about to start a proofreading business, so…that.
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
I’m very slowly progressing with the third novel in the NEXUS series. It has been badly treated, having been pushed aside three times in favour of other books, and now in favour of some proofreading refresher courses. I’m a little under halfway finished.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
Perhaps someone who already writes in a similar style and setting to me. Otherwise it would get too complicated. The idea of collaborating is both interesting and concerning.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
I can fly a helicopter, but I can’t start it up.
I’m not overly fond of bacon!
I have a post-it note on my monitor with a picture of Osiris dressed up as an ankh Grim Reaper. For some reason.
Find Mr. Harrison online via:
Official site (has all social media links)