Tony Bury is one of our returning authors who has published eight books to date. He is most well-known for his serial killer series - the Edmund Carson series - and his crime series - the Alex Keaton series.
Can you give us an overview of your books? What are they about and who are they aimed at?
Now there is a question. As I have been exploring different genres, I guess it depends on which book we are talking about.
The Alex Keaton Series:
Alex is a troubled detective who lost her partner in a violent shoot out, and is returning to work after a four month absence. Her first case initially seems to everyone like a straightforward suicide, but Alex senses there is something deeper. She decides to keep investigating, but ends up with more questions than answers and very quickly finds herself knee deep into a worldwide epidemic. As the story unfolds over the coming books, she travels the world in search of answers and ends up involved with unknown powerful organisations, and even with the power behind the Whitehouse. However, no matter the dangers and threats encountered, Alex doesn’t stop working, and she continues to hunt down the worlds greatest serial killers. I guess this series is aimed at anyone who loves a good crime story. I think I wrote it to feel like a detective TV series without really meaning to, at least that is the feedback I tend to get.
Edmund Carson Trilogy:
Edmund is the self-proclaimed world’s greatest serial killer. Written in the first person, you actually walk in this teenager's shoes as he decides who and what he wants to be, and as he goes on his journey to reach fame and fortune. Like all good stories, there are highs and lows in Edmund's life and it is all entertaining. I think Edmund appeals to all…if you ever wanted to be a serial killer, this is the book for you. There is some horror, crime and comedy all wrapped up in the journey of his life.
Ane the Last Witch:
This is my first step into the world of wizards and witches. Ane is an eight year old witch who just loves magic. Despite her mum constantly telling her to not use it, she is always up to mischief. One day something goes wrong in the Kingdom and Ane realises that she is the only person capable of using magic. Knowing full well that this problem could be linked to the return of the six most powerful wizards of all time, who disappeared from the Kingdom 100 years ago, Ane and her friends courageously set off to save the Kingdom.
The people have spoken and the death sentence has returned to the UK. Callington Island, which up until this point was considered a full blown retirement home, now houses the only prison and execution site in the country. Bringing murderers to this quiet island has its consequences though and Father Matthew, who is the island priest and Mayor, soon has to call on the local policeman, Nigel, to solve a crime. Have prisoners escaped or are the islanders not what they seemed? One thing is clear, from that point on things will never be the same again. This is my first step into the world of 'who done it', appealing to all fans of that genre, and crime. There is a guest star on the island as well, which I am hoping will bring excitement to readers of my other books.
Do you have a writing schedule? Tell us how you go about writing your books.
I try to have a schedule. As I am a morning person, most mornings from five to eight, you will find me with my laptop writing or editing…unless I have to work on my day job. Saturday and Sunday mornings are my favourite though, as I have three daughters who wake up late and the house is generally quiet until 10am.
With respect to writing, I very rarely have a plan. I normally sit in front of my laptop and let the characters do all the work. Some mornings I find myself so excited about what the characters got up to, that I can’t wait to tell people, which is hard when you are writing a series and you don’t want to give spoilers...
Both the Alex Keaton series and the Edmund Carson series are crime thrillers – what drew you to this genre in particular?
I don’t think I meant for it to start that way. I started by writing children’s poetry, which I will still publish one day. The idea of what would eventually become my first novel, Intervention Forgiven, started to come to life when a few friends of mine were going through IVF treatment. I found it a very interesting process so I sat in front of my laptop and a character called Jack Quaid popped up. The first chapter sees Jack rambling in front of a camera and finishes with him killing himself. I was as shocked as anyone when this happened. My novel sat on my computer for a couple of years at that point whilst I tried to figure out what to do. Then Alex Keaton came along to investigate the suicide and my detective was born…
As Alex continued case by case, I started to wonder what it was like on the other side of the fence; what would it be like to be the killer? I was on a plane to New York and my then girlfriend, now my wife, was reading E L James', 50 Shades of Grey, on the plane. The book is written in the first person and I started to wonder if you could do that with a serial killer…Edmund was born on that plane as I typed away for most of the journey.
What is the last book you read?
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, I read it every year. I love the way he can make sense of madness and that has always been my aim as a writer.
Thrillers and crime fiction are clearly genres that interest you – who is your favourite crime/thriller novelist and why?
The oddest thing is that crime isn’t really what I read. I love adventure books like Lord of the Rings, Terry Pratchett's Discworld and the Narnia Chronicles.
How would you say your books stand out from other novels? What makes them special?
That is a really difficult question to answer as the writer. I think my readers are better placed to answer so I will quote some of the feedback I have had…
Alex Keaton has been described as fast paced, full of action and heroic. She is a real hero; the woman all women readers want to be. I have had a lot of feedback to say that it reads like a TV series so I have started to write the screenplays for it and it actually adapts really well. They were right!
Edmund Carson…I would say he is unique and his story is unique. The feedback for this book is quite strange; people really seem to care for him but they tend to feel guilty for caring as he is the world’s biggest serial killer. People can identify themselves with the uncertainty that teenage years bring, yet they are shocked by the extremes he goes to, to find out who he is. Writing in the first person is fun and I believe it connects with people in a different way than simply telling a story. A friend of mine, Jo, was on the tube in London right after reading Inside Edmund Carson and saw a person on the tube dressed like one of Edmund’s characters: THE ONE. Remembering one of the scenes in the book, even though she knew it wasn't real, Jo got off the tube and took a taxi. I don’t think there is higher praise than that.
I would say that one of the things that make the books different is my style of writing. I think it was the Commissioning Editor, from Pegasus, who was the first person to tell me I had a style of writing before I realised myself. After she read Ane the Last Witch, she told me she loved it and she knew I had written it. I found this really surprising as it was a children’s book and I thought it was totally different to anything else I had written.
For me, all the books are special as the characters never leave me. I hope it is the same for the reader.
Are you planning a cross over between Edmund Carson and Alex Keaton?
Another good question and one I thought about a lot. Alex references Edmund in her second book Intervention Needed. She actually comes to the UK and spends time in Camden, which is Edmund’s favourite place. They have even been in the same pub but they didn’t meet. I guess they didn’t want to, as it probably wouldn't end up well for one of them. Those who are up to date with Alex and have read book four, Darkness Falls, know that she is in a real dark place at the moment so we have to wait and see what happens.
Are you currently working on a new book? If yes, can you give us a hint about what it might be about?
I am always working on new books as the ideas don´t stop in my head, but at the moment…
I have two more releases ready to go this year.
First, Edmund Carson is The Alphabet Killer. This is the third instalment in his story and follows Edmund as he travels the length and breadth of the UK, trying to lift the media's blackout.
The second is Predator Island. Murder comes to Callington Island for the first time but who is responsible?
Some of what is in the pipeline…
Alex Keaton will return in her fifth book, Justification. She and Maria were both in trouble when we left them so we will have to wait and see where that takes us.
I am writing a book called The Door with my very talented thirteen year old daughter, Alana. It is an adventure across a world made up of the seven deadly sins.
The Institution will be my second 'who done it' novel. Oddly based in an institution where the inmates are some of the best characters I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
I wrote a screenplay called The Seven Steps, which I am turning into a book. Harry is a good man but he dies in a tragic accident. He thought he led a great life but Heaven had a different view. It is all about how he can make his way back to his family.
Ane the Last Witch is returning with Sofia the mermaid princess and Elena the warrior. She has discovered how to use her grandfather's trunk, but there are still so many secrets she doesn’t know.
The Fluffies will also be coming soon. This is where all my writing began. I have around twenty poems already written. Four fluffy friends are off on the greatest adventure.
Along Came a Mouse is another children’s poetry book which I have already written and, as with The Fluffies, I am now in the final process of engaging with an artist to bring them to life.
I have so many more ideas though, so my love affair with writing will continue for some time.
What advice would you give other aspiring authors looking to get published?
I suppose I have two pieces of advice.
The first one is to write; write every day. The more you write, the better your writing will become. I can see that in all my books; I think all writers can.
The second piece of advice is the hardest. Edit. Edit. Edit. I find this so hard, so I know most writers will not like doing this but as you do, your work will become better every time.
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