I like the idea of bonus material and think there are great possibilities for such material to add an extra dimension to the novel itself. And of course to give the reader more value for money.
And so here, to get you all ready for Granny Smith, is a small selection of the Q&A from Granny Smith and the Deadly Frogs.
Q&A With Author G. M. Dobbs
Q- So what next for Granny Smith?
A- Well, of course we have Gerald’s wedding to look forward to which will be detailed in a short Granny Smith story that will be published later this year. The next full-length novel will be called Murder Plot and concerns murder and intrigue at the allotments society.
Q-Where did the idea for Granny Smith come from?
A- The back of my brain, likely. I’ve a fondness for classic crime fiction and also the old Ealing comedy movies. I think that the Ealing movies and Agatha Christie, particularly her Miss Marple series are the two biggest influences on the Granny Smith series, but there are other influences that all meld together to form the unique universe of the novels, the Granniverse of you like. I love Tom Sharpe for instance and although my writing maybe more PG Tips than PG Wodehouse I do hope there’s a lot of good humour in the books. I’m aiming for the sky with Granny Smith, but if I only reach the shithouse roof then at least I've tried.
Q – The books usually concern a murder and the subsequent investigation. Does humour have a place amongst such dark themes?
A- The novels would fall loosely into the cozy crime category, so yes there is a murder but this takes place off page and there is very little gore or graphic detail. And of course the characters are all so much larger than life that we know we’re not dealing with a real world murder and all the ramifications resulting from such. There’s fun than blood. It’s all fantasy as is our detective the very wonderful Granny Smith. Miss Marple on steroids, indeed.
Q- Which character from the Granny Smith books would you most compare yourself to?
A- Gerald, obviously! But no I think there’s a bit of myself in all the characters. I love the way Granny sees political correctness for what it truly is and I hope I share this trait. Also Gerald’s flamboyance, Arthur’s lust for solitude and Twice’s self importance are swirling around in my DNA.
Q- Granny aged ten years from the original draft of the first novel. Why was this?
A- It’s true when I first wrote Granny Smith she was in her early Sixties, but I always wanted her to be older. I always thought her early Seventies was the correct age for the character but I was worried that it would be too much of a stretch to imagine all the things she does and so I created her as an extremely fit woman in her Sixties – which is not old by modern standards. Of course I soon realised that this was a mistake and that she had to be an older woman – and so I republished the first novel and made her 72 years old. That’s the beauty of electronic publishing in that it is so easy to go back and revise a book that’s already been published. I guess I’ll age Granny into her Eighties over maybe ten books.
Q- So you see the series going on for at least ten books?
A- And more. Granny’s a fun character to play with and I love the way the world looks through her eyes. I’ve become a fan of series characters in cozy crime and especially enjoy the works of Simon Brett, M. C. Beaton and Lesley Cookman and if these guys can continue to come up with ideas for their characters then I’m sure I can too.
Q- You have had some success writing westerns as Jack Martin so isn’t cozy crime a big switch?
A- Not really. My westerns contain a lot of humour so I don’t think they are that far removed from the Granny Smith series. And I see no reason why a writer is expected to stick to one genre. That doesn’t happen in other fields where creators are free to switch genres whenever the fancy or need takes them. Stephen Spielberg doesn’t only make one kind of movie and The Beatles switched genres from track to track. I write the story that takes over my imagination at any given time and the genre is a secondary issue.
Q- So would you write Erotica?
A- Good God, no. I find it difficult to type one-handed.
Q- Where can people find out more about your writing?
A- That’s a convenient question – thank you. Well you can follow me on Twitter @jackmartinwest and I keep a Facebook page under the name Gary Martin Dobbs and then there’s my very active blog, The Tainted Archive which you can find at http://tainted-archive.blogspot.co.uk/ .
Q- Finally where you get your ideas?
A- Well I do a lot of people watching – well one woman really but the police have told me I’ve got to stop. Where do ideas come from? Anywhere and everywhere – from other books, movies, events in newspapers. Sometimes I will be walking down the street and an idea will pop into my head and sometimes I dream story-lines as I sleep.
Q- Tell the truth: you made these questions up yourself didn’t you?
Granny Smith and the Deadly Frogs will be published 31st March 2013
Granny Smith Investigates is available now.