Interview with John Nicholl

John Nicholl

Today’s interview guest is John Nicholl, author of White is the Coldest Colour, When Evil Calls Your Name and Portraits of the Dead.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I wrote ‘White is the coldest colour’ primarily as an entertaining dark psychological thriller, but I also hoped it would play a small part in increasing public awareness of the heinous risks posed by sexual predators.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

The book draws heavily on my working life. Some years have now passed, and that time sometimes feels like a different life; but, with that said, writing the book brought back some memories of real events that were perhaps better left in the past.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Writing some aspects of the book proved cathartic, in that you can control events in books a lot more easily than in real life.

Are there misconceptions that people have about your book?  If so, explain.

I think the vast majority of reviewers understood what I was trying to achieve. I have had to accept, however, that you can’t please everyone. The book addresses an emotive subject, and was always going to engender strong emotions.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read an eclectic range of books, from historical biographies to modern thrillers. I find books written by people who have experienced extraordinary events particularly interesting.

How long have you been a police officer and child protection social worker? Is there anything you can tell us about that?

About 21 years in total. I finally retired from a post heading up child protection services for the county of Carmarthenshire in Wales.

When did you decide to write this series?

The first book tells the story from the perspective of the offender, his intended victim, and the boy’s family. The sequel tells the story in the words of the perpetrator’s wife, and explores issues of domestic violence and manipulation. It answers some of the questions readers are left with after book one.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject, that isn’t so?

When I first worked in child protection it was extremely difficult to convince other professionals, let alone the general public, that a significant number of adults, most of whom were male, posed a significant risk to children. This lack of knowledge was one of the reasons men like Jimmy Saville avoided arrest for as long as they did. That’s changed now, and I think the public have a much better awareness of the activities of this group of deviant criminals. That has to be a good thing from a protective perspective.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

While fictional, my books are influenced by real experiences. Readers tell me that that shows in the writing.

Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?

I used to run a Taekwondo club and play squash, but these days it’s yoga, swimming and travel.

Do you have a ritual you use while writing? (During commercials, certain music, etc)

I tend to write until lunchtime, with weekends off; always with music playing.

Are you working on anything presently?

Yes, I’m working on a serial killer thriller, which I hope to finish by September 2016.

What is your writing space like?

I only wish I had one! I write at the dining room table with family life going on around me. Such is life.

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