A Day in the Life of @ThomasMogford #BritCrime

‘Day in the life’ articles often seem to start with suspiciously early rises (‘The alarm sounds at 5am and I flip on the Gaggia...’). In my case, however, such statements are sadly legitimate. Not through any puritanical work ethic – I’d go the full Proust if I could and spend the whole day writing in bed. But rather through sharing a house with a 4- and a 5-year-old for whom daybreak equals ACTION!

It’s 5.30am when the first thump (never patter) of tiny feet wakes me and my wife. We take it turns to do the early shift, the first part of which entails shouting at the children to keep quiet. Eventually one of us will struggle up at about 6.30am. Today may be a writing day, but such thoughts are still a distant dream...

This morning, my creative equilibrium took another hit once I’d dropped the children at their local Battersea nursery. Someone had discarded a can of Special Brew in our front garden, so I picked up the empty with a view to recycling it in our kitchen bin. Unfortunately, our neighbour saw me clasping it as I unlocked the door. Her look seemed to say, ‘Writers...’

At last the house is quiet. Ergo – a swift perusal of the online papers. Followed by ten minutes staring at the wall, fretting about Brexit. Then some emailing. Double-check for breaking news. More Brexit wall-staring. Then, furious with myself at the time wasted, work.

I try and plot out each book out in advance, so even if the Muse is AWOL, I always know where the story has to go. Before starting a new chapter, I jot down a list marked ‘Essentials’. These are the core events that need to happen to make a scene work.

In the past, I worked fulltime as an Assistant Producer at ITV Sport. One of my jobs was to make the music pieces which precede football matches (and hopefully keep people watching). I used to compile a ‘shotlist’ before going into edit – the tightest close-ups, the most dramatic moments of action – and I think the ‘Essentials’ list is a throwback to that.
List complete, I decide on another short break. Some online banking, perhaps? No good can ever come of this. Last week, I became convinced I was the victim of an elaborate internet fraud, as a vast sum of money seemed to be missing from our account. When I phoned the bank, however, I was briskly informed that nothing more sinister had occurred than the automatic renewal of our car insurance. This led to fifteen minutes’ contemplation as to whether it might be cheaper to take Ubers everywhere than to own a car. And then – finally – actual writing...

I try and write fast, living the events of each chapter as the words go down. Where did three hours go? Time for lunch.
Back at the computer, I spell-check the morning’s work and prepare myself for the read-through. This demands a change of persona – from fearless writer to snarky editor. If I can pretend that what I’m reading has been written by someone else, it’s easier to hack it apart. In some ways, the process of writing and self-editing encourages a split personality. Perhaps that’s why so many writers go slightly mad...

Depending on how long is left before the children re-invade, I might set about some research. At the moment, my fifth Spike Sanguinetti novel is being readied for publication in January 2017, so in the breaks between, I’m working on an idea for a new historical crime series. I’ve already written the first part, but the middle requires some in-depth reading about travellers in the Victorian Empire...

Between the two of us, my wife and I have usually bullied the children into their beds by 7pm. If a deadline looms, I might press on with more work. But more likely, I will open a bottle of cheap supermarket wine and pour us both a large glass. Madness is kept at bay as we chat or dig into a box set. I might complain about the children/writing double act, but deep down, I love it.

Sleeping Dogs by Thomas MogfordAn old friend persuades Gibraltarian lawyer Spike Sanguinetti to take a well-earned rest on Corfu's beautiful north-east coast. But when the bloodied body of a young Albanian is found and a local man accused of his murder, Spike reluctantly agrees to take the case. Beneath the island's veneer of wealth and privilege Spike uncovers truths so damaging that those involved will go to any lengths to protect them. And when a vulnerable young woman disappears, Spike knows that there are some sleeping dogs he cannot let lie.

"Evocative, engrossing and entertaining." The Times
Get Sleeping Dogs from Amazon

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