The Killing Time by M J Lee ** Author Guest Post**


M J Lee's historical crime novel, The Killing Time was published by Canelo on 23rd April 2018. I am delighted today to welcome the author to Books, Life and Everything to talk to us about writing  in this genre.

First though, here's a little about the book to whet your appetite:  


As tensions simmer in Shanghai, children go missing…
Shanghai 1932: Inspector Danilov hasn't recovered from the death of his child... but across a Shanghai riven with communal tensions, children are going missing.

Missing, and then murdered. Who is responsible? Why have the children's bodies been exhibited for all to see?

Just as Danilov thinks the stakes couldn't be higher there is a new dimension, Japan, a rising power flexing its muscles. In fractious Shanghai, an explosion is long overdue. With the clock ticking can Danilov and his assistant Strachan solve the case? The fate of Shanghai may be at stake. So is Danilov’s job... And his sanity.
The latest instalment of the Inspector Danilov mysteries will leave you breathless. Perfect for fans of Philip Kerr or Rory Clements.


Welcome to the blog! We can't wait to hear what you have to say- over to you!

M.J. Lee: 
 

I’ve committed murder in the past.

I’m sorry that’s not an admission of some dark secret  - an appetite for murder with all the abandon of Jack the Ripper with a new knife. 

It is simply that I write historical crime novels and love doing it. Why?

I think having a crime in the past allows me to distance myself from it,  creating a situation and a time which allows the most heinous murders to be committed without feeling a sense of threat or terror.

Like all good crime fiction, it gives a vicarious feeling of terror to the reader. But once it’s over, they can put the book down, make a cup of tea, and give the hubby a swift kick. You know, normal stuff.

How did I get into writing historical crime?

Well, I did my first degree and postgraduate study in history. Weirdly, I’d fallen in love with the subject when I was six. Despite being an ardent Republican my mother had given me one of those illustrated books of the kings and queens of England. I was fascinated by it and that fascination continued throughout my school years.  It was a no-brainer which subject I would study when I went to University.

But why historical crime?

I'd been writing for most of my life, and had finished a couple of novels without ever publishing them. One day, I was re-categorising my books (as you do) and decided to change from an alphabetical author list to something more akin to the Dewey Decimal Classification. 

I know, I know, either I'm terminally OCD or I have far too much time on my hands. Probably both. But I discovered that the biggest section was crime, followed by historical novels, with a wonderful cross-over between the two. 

At the time, I was living in Shanghai and loving the city. Particularly, walking around the French concession and discovering the old art deco buildings that still exist in profusion. 

Then a visit to the Shanghai Police Museum sealed it for me. Why not bring all those elements together in a historical crime novel set in the 1920s? Danilov was born and I began to write the first book. 

I’m now on Book Four, The Killing Time, published by those lovely people at Canelo. The story is set in Shanghai in 1932.

Inspector Danilov hasn't recovered from the death of his child... but across a Shanghai riven with communal tensions, children are going missing.

Missing, and then murdered. Who is responsible? Why have the children's bodies been exhibited for all to see?

Just as Danilov thinks the stakes couldn't be higher there is a new dimension, Japan, a rising power flexing its muscles. In fractious Shanghai, an explosion is long overdue. With the clock ticking can Danilov and his assistant Strachan solve the case? The fate of Shanghai may be at stake. So is Danilov’s job... And his sanity.

It’s the fourth book in the series but it can be read as a stand alone novel.

Read it and see why I finally turned to crime, spending my days with my head in the past, dreaming of murder. 

It’s quite a nice way to earn a living. Maybe crime does pay after all.

About the Author


M J Lee has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a university researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, TV commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites. 

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the north of England, in London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning advertising awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and the United Nations. 

While working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarters of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in the 1920s.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practising downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake, and wishing he were George Clooney.




You can find out more about M J Lee and his books at www.writermjlee.com ,  his facebook page at www.facebook.com/martin.lee.33483 or his twitter handle, also imaginatively called @WriterMJLee.

His books can be found on Amazon UK   |  Kobo UK  |  Google Books UKApple Books UK

Thanks to M J Lee and Ellie Pilcher of Canelo for a place on the blog tour.

Catch up with these splendid bloggers!

 

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