Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The final part of my interview with Roger Morris.

10] How much time do you devote to research for the novels?

If you're not careful, the research can go on forever and you use it as a stalling device for not writing. There are two kinds of research.
The general background stuff which you do to try and build up an understanding of the period. Then there's the more specific research that comes about as a result of needing to find ann answer to a specific point that has arisen in the story. For the former I read general histories, memoirs, biographies, and of course novels of the period. For the latter, it's sometimes a question of tracking down a particular book that I think will help, or looking for answers on the internet.
There is a fabulous resource that I have discovered which has helped me enormously and that is the Encyclopedia of St Petersburg.
It has lots of pictures as well as a large range of entries about all aspects of life in the city over a vast period of time. also subscribe to Questia, which is an online library giving access to academic articles and books.
As for how much time I devote, that's like the old how long is a piece of string question. I think with A Razor Wrapped in Silk, I allowed myself about three months for the general stuff, then tried to answer specific questions as I went along.

11] If the books were filmed for TV or movies who would you like to play the parts of Porfiry Petrovich and Pavel Pavlovich Virginsky?

Ha! Someone suggested Timothy Spall for Porfiry Petrovich. I think he would probably be very good. Toby Young would be good too. I'm not sure about Virginsky. I don't know enough young actors! Maybe that guy they've just signed up to play Dr Who? [Matt Smith]

12] Do you think that reading about Russia's past helps us understand her rulers today?

That is an interesting question! Yes, I think so. So many centuries of being under tsarist rule, I think has left its mark. It seems they like a strong ruler over there, which may partly those topless photos of Putin that were released recently. Though, actually, I'm not sure anything can help us to understand that.

Thanks very much for this four part interview Roger, and the very interesting insights into writing historical crime fiction. I shall certainly be on the look out for the fourth Porfiry Petrovich book, The Superfluous Man when it is released in 2011.


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