About Dave Sivers
Dave Sivers grew up in West London and has been writing all his life. His books
include the popular crime series featuring the Aylesbury Vale detectives, DI Lizzie
Archer and DS Dan Baines. The Scars Beneath the Soul and Dead in Deep Wate
were both top three bestsellers in the Amazon Kindle Serial Killers chart. His next
novel, In Ink, introducing DI Nathan Quarrel, will be published this year. Dave lives in
Buckinghamshire with his wife, Chris, and is a founder of the annual BeaconLit
festival of books and writing.
A conversation with Dave Sivers
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve been writing since I was six and, before the books started being published, I had articles and columns published in local papers and parochial magazines, some of my short fiction was published and won prizes, and I wrote plays and other material for the amateur stage.
In ink will be my ninth published book. Three are ebook only: a little short story collection and two hybrid crime/fantasy novels featuring the personal inquisitor Lowmar Dashiel; and then there are five so far in my Archer and Baines series set in Buckinghamshire’s Aylesbury Vale.
Where were you raised? Where do you live now? Do you have any pets?
I grew up in West London, where my amazing dad still lives in the house we moved to when I was 18. When I got married, we lived in West Hertfordshire for a while before moving to the Buckinghamshire village we now call home. So I’ve transitioned from city kid to country boy.
As a kid, I had a budgie but Mum was allergic to him, and we had a dog. But those allergies have proved hereditary and, these days, being around birds and animals is just too risky for us to have a pet. I react especially badly to horses.
What genres do you write on? Is there a particular genre you want to try writing in the future?
I like to write what I enjoy reading, which is mostly crime and ‘speculative fiction’ from fantasy to horror. At the moment I mostly write crime, although I won a competition a few years ago with a ghost story. I did have a story published in Take a Break magazine a long time ago – a chick-litty thing under a female pen name. I’ve often said that if I ever want a break from killing people on paper I might dust that pen name off and have a go at a romcom novel.
Tell us about your writing process. Do you follow a unique way for writing?
I used to be a ‘pantser’: I would start with a body and some idea of how and why the person died and how the story would finish up, and then I would sort of perch on my detectives’ shoulders, watch them investigate, and see where the story went on the way to the conclusion. The trouble with that approach was that it often left me with a whole bunch of plot holes or things that didn’t work, and the amount of rewriting meant it could take an age for the book to get finished.
Nowadays I plan more. I can’t write those very detailed outlines, because that would feel like way too much of a straitjacket. But I list the main plot points and the key twists, and develop that into a rough chapter plan. I can still go off piste, but in a more controlled way, knowing I’ve always got that route map to keep me on track. It’s speeded up the process – I can finish a book in half the time.
Describe your ideal writing spot. When you’re writing what’s your drink and snack of choice?
I’m lucky to have an upstairs bedroom as my office. My desk looks out over the garden and it’s relatively quiet. I’ve got a sofa that my wife and anyone else can sit on to chat, groaning bookshelves behind me, and a coffee table with a ridiculous number of more books on it and under it. I’m a tidy person on the whole, but my office is usually a bit of a tip.
I drink the odd cup of tea when I’m writing, but rarely with a snack – I shed a lot of weight a couple of years ago and have been making sure it doesn’t return, without completely denying my very sweet tooth. Maybe a bit of cake if I’m writing in the afternoon and we’ve some in the house.
Writing In Ink
Tell us a bit about ‘In Ink’ and your brand new series.
In Ink introduces a new protagonist, DI Nathan Quarrel. The Hertfordshire setting is not a million miles from Archer and Baines’s Aylesbury Vale, but I’d been hankering after creating a whole new set of characters for a while and the idea for this particular serial killer came to me around the same time as a character workshop at my local writers group sent me home with Nathan Quarrel pestering me to use him. Without too many spoilers, Quarrel is a man with secrets that are hinted at and then begin to come out into the light as he finds himself desperately trying to unmask a killer with a nasty agenda that involves Tarot cards. I’ve really enjoyed writing Quarrel, his team and the rest of the characters around him, as well as reacquainting myself with West Herts.
What do you think will be the initial thoughts of your readers while reading your book?
That’s a really difficult one to answer. I hope they will find the opening couple of chapters, and the killer’s signature, intriguing enough to want to keep turning the pages, and I hope they engage with my characters and finish up wanting to meet them again.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Although I know the settings, I still needed to find out a bit of in-depth background to scatter about. So a bit of Internet searching, a bit of visiting the places. I especially enjoyed getting a more solid grasp of the Rothschild family’s activities in Tring. Apart from that, people are incredibly helpful. I have a friendly CSI and a friendly psychologist who are always generous in helping me get those aspects of my stories right, and I found other experts along the way who kindly gave of their time and knowledge – for example, a colleague in my other job turned out to be married to a Tarot reader. One of the challenges is avoiding the temptation to put in too much of the fascinating stuff I uncover!
What is in future for DI Quarrel and his squad?
I hope readers take to the new team. There are things in all their lives that I’d like to explore and develop whilst, of course, giving them new cases to investigate.
Describe ‘In Ink’ in three words.
Ah, an easier one! It’s on the cover: Taken. Tortured. Terminated.
What’s next for Dave Sivers?
Are you working on a new book? Can you tell my readers a little about it, a blurb, potential release date, etc?
I’m working on Archer and Baines Book 6. It did have a working title, but a good mate of mine came up with the self same title by chance, and I’ve been struggling to find something that works as well. I hope it will be out in the early part of 2021 and the blurb is something like:
Links to reach you.
A terse, fast-paced, action-packed smartly written police procedural with well-developed characters that I cant wait to read more about!!
About ‘In Ink’
A cruel death. A macabre calling card.
A killer on a mission.
A body is found outside a church in a small Hertfordshire town. Alastair Murdoch suffered
before he died. But what really disturbs DI Nathan Quarrel is the Tarot card motif adorning
the body: The Fool.
Just 24 hours later, another body turns up.
A different card, but from the same pack.
Unless Quarrel can decipher the meaning behind the cards and the connection between the
victims, more will follow in a twisted agenda of abduction, pain and death.