Best-selling crime writer Peter James, author of Roy Grace series, coming to Derby Library
DESPITE millions of sales worldwide, it may come as a surprise to learn that top crime and thriller novelist Peter James still gets a kick out of seeing his books on shop and library shelves.
By popular demand, and in response to many requests, Peter is on his way to Derby next week to share the story of his extremely successful writing career with fans in a 90-minute talk.
His most famous creation in recent years is probably detective Roy Grace and his series of books has now been translated into 35 languages across the world.
His most recent novels – Dead Like You, Dead Man's Grip and Not Dead Yet – went straight into the Sunday Times best-seller lists at No.1 in both hardback and paperback.
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"But what really thrilled me and made me fist-pump the air was when Not Dead Yet toppled the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy off the No.1 paperback slot, ending its 25-week domination of the charts," said James wryly.
"But, generally, I do get a good feeling when I see my books in print."
Peter, an established film producer and script writer, was educated at Charterhouse then at film school. He lived in North America for a number of years, working as a screen writer and film producer before returning to England. He has produced numerous films, including The Merchant Of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes.
A television adaptation of Dead Simple from the Roy Grace series is in development, with Peter overseeing all aspects, including the scriptwriting. His tenth Roy Grace novel, Dead Man's Time, will be out in hardback in June ensuring that life remains very hectic for Peter.
He said: "I think it is really important to meet with people, especially when I have had requests to visit a place.
"I have never been to Derby before but I am looking forward to visiting, even though it will be a short visit."
Peter sets his Roy Grace novels in his home town of Brighton and, while some authors use real locations for their work, they also spend time concealing places by renaming them.
He said: "On the whole, I stick to the real places and names and it is possible to follow a map of the crime scenes around Brighton to see where I have set certain events.
"But I am careful to make sure that any house I use for a murder scene is not clearly identified, otherwise it might never sell again. And I usually invent the location of places such as bank vaults."
Unlike some authors and their main characters, Peter confesses to liking Roy Grace and admits there is a lot of himself in the fictional hero.
He said: "Roy can be quite outspoken and has subjects he likes to get on his high horse about. One of them was to do with care in hospitals – a bête noir for me – which I happily attacked.
"But I was invited to a county hospital and shown around and, since then, Roy has been a little less vociferous."
Books have always been a major love for Peter, who wanted to be an author from the age of seven.
"I used to write an essay of two or three pages at school, hand it in and wonder how easy it would be to write a book of 400 pages. I love libraries and I could hide away among books for ever.
"My social life revolves around my work as well and I can often be found researching while having lunch with the chief inspector."
Research is a big part of any book and one of Peter's most recent novels away from the Roy Grace series, and likely to be a feature film soon, is Perfect People.
It centres around genetic engineering and involved research at some of the foremost institutions in the USA, such as the California Institute of Technology, better known as Caltech.
Peter includes reference to Perfect People during his talk because it shows another side to his creativity.
But the good news for Roy Grace fans is he is destined to go on for a long time as Peter shows little sign of wanting to retire or kill him off.
Peter will be at Derby's Central Library on Monday at 7pm. Tickets cost £10 and advance booking is essential.
Bookings can be made at any city library and, for more information, call 01332 641701 or email central.library@ derby.gov.uk.