Interview with UK thriller author Stephen Leather

special guest is Stephen Leather
to chat with me about his supernatural/occult novel New York Night.

During his virtual book tour, Stephen will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes
and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be
entered for a chance to win, use the
form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit
his other tour stops
and enter there, too!

Leather is one of the UK’s most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday
Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan “Spider’
Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels.
becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers
such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the
South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country’s most
successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in
the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted
by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK
publishing world.
Born in
Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been
translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows
such as London’s Burning, The Knock and the BBC’s Murder in Mind series and two
of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV.

Welcome, Stephen. Please share a little
bit about your current release.

New York Night
is the seventh book in the Jack Nightingale supernatural
detective series. Nightingale was a cop who was sacked after a man he was
interviewing was thrown through a window and fell to his death. No one knew for
sure if the man had jumped or if Nightingale had pushed him, but it was the end
of his police career. He became a private detective, and just before his
thirty-third birthday he is told that his father was a Satanist and that he
sold Jack’s soul to a devil. On his birthday, the devil is coming to collect
the prize. That’s the first book, in which Jack has to find a way of saving his
soul – by the time we get to New York Night he is much more familiar with the
supernatural world. He travels from city to city fighting the forces of darkness
while keeping his own soul safe. Jack smokes too much (so much so that when I’m
writing I feel like having a cigarette even thought I’m not a smoker! He has a
good sense of humour and often says things that make me laugh out loud! In New York Night teenagers are being possessed
and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists.
So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to
investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line.

What inspired you to write this

I think the original inspiration came from the books of Dennis Wheatley that I
used to read when I was kid, coupled with a love of horror movies, especially
the films that were showing when I was growing up, like The Exorcist and The
Omen. The inspiration for the character Jack Nightingale was partly the Harry
Angel character in the 1987 movie Angel Heart, played by Mickey Rourke. New
York Night
is the seventh book in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective

The first five were published by my UK publisher Hodder and Stoughton
and were set in the UK. I am now self-publishing the books and have moved the
character to the United States. The first self-published book was San Francisco
and the next one will be Miami Night. Part of the inspiration for the
books now comes from the city where they are set!

Excerpt from New York Night:
Horowitz drove them to the crime scene in a grey
saloon. Perez sat up front and they chatted about old times for the fifteen minutes
it took to get to the apartment building. They parked on the street and
Horowitz let them in through a door sandwiched between a delicatessen and a
discount shoe shop.
The detective walked towards an old-fashioned delivery
elevator. He pulled on a length of rope that lifted a wooden panel. Perez
stepped in.
‘I’d prefer the stairs,’ said Nightingale.
‘Say what?’ said Horowitz.
‘I’m not a big fan of lifts. Or elevators as you call
‘It’s only the third floor,’ said Horowitz.
‘Can I walk up?’
‘There aren’t any internal stairs,’ he said. ‘There’s
a fire escape running down the back of the building but you’ve got to go down
an alley to reach it and even then I’m not sure you’ll be able to pull it
‘What’s wrong, Jack?’
‘I just don’t like elevators. Never have done.’
‘Don’t see you’ve got a choice,’ said Perez.
Nightingale sighed and stepped in. He took out his
cigarettes but Perez shook her head. ‘Not indoors, Jack,’ she said. ‘Not in New
Horowitz pulled the door closed and pressed the button
for the third floor. The elevator jerked and Nightingale yelped. Perez grinned
as the elevator rattled upwards for almost thirty seconds before it shuddered
to a stop. Horowitz opened the door and Nightingale hurried out.
Perez followed him and Horowitz closed the door and
took out a set of keys to open the door to the apartment.
It was long and narrow with floor to ceiling windows
to the left and an open-plan kitchen to the right. There was no furniture, just
bare wooden floorboards. The sound of the traffic was like a dull throb in the
background. Above their heads were black-painted pipes and wiring conduits.
‘Where was the body?’ asked Nightingale.
Horowitz took a couple of crime scene photographs from
his overcoat pocket, studied them and gestured towards the middle of the room.
‘Can I have a look?’ asked Nightingale, holding out
his hand.
‘You can keep them,’ said Horowitz. ‘Cheryl said you’d
want them.’
Nightingale flicked through the photographs. They were
all shots of the body, lying face down on the floor. He compared the pictures
to the scene one by one, rotating them to match what he was seeing. The girl
was face down, her back and legs a mass of cuts. He stared closely at the
photographs but there was no way of making out the sigil among all the flayed
flesh and blood.
‘He really went to work on her,’ said Horowitz. ‘It’s
either a sadistic serial killer who gets off on torture, or it’s personal.’

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am
working on the 13th Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd book, Dark Forces. Shepherd is up against a Syrian sniper who travels to
England to carry out a terrorist atrocity. The ending will take place at a
London stadium, packed with people, as Shepherd rushes to stop the sniper.

When did you first consider yourself a

When I worked for the Daily Record in Glasgow and saw my byline in a major
newspaper for the first time. I really enjoyed being a journalist and getting
my work in print. My first big book was The Chinaman and I did get a kick out
of seeing that on the shelves in various bookshelves, but I thought of myself
as a writer long before then.

Do you write full-time? If so,
what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do
you find time to write?
Yes, I have
been a full-time writer for about twenty-five years, and before that I was a
journalist for ten years on newspapers like the Glasgow Herald, the Daily
Mirror, the Daily Mail, The Times and the South China Morning Post in Hong
Kong. I try to write every day, usually in the evenings and late into the
night. I have never been a morning person. Early afternoons I tend to do admin
work, tidying my websites, posting on Facebook and responding to emails. I am
one of Amazon’s most successful self-publishers and that takes up a lot of time
– editing, formatting, arranging covers, correcting errors that readers have
spotted. Busy, busy, busy! When I’m finishing a book (as I am now) I go into
overdrive and write for more than 12 hours a day, often as much as 4,000 words.

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?

I sit in front of the TV with my Mac on a coffee table. I watch TV as I write
and always have done. I did most of my homework at school and university with
the TV on, and most of my working life was spent in busy newspaper offices so I
need a buzz around me as I work. Working with the TV on helps when I need to
describe a character’s clothing and the credits are always a good source of
names! I drink a cup of coffee pretty much every half hour and my cat (one of
three) Peanut Butter sits on the sofa next to me to keep me company.

As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?

A writer. Or a superhero.

Anything additional
you want to share with the readers?
continue reading, and wherever possible support your local library. Almost all
my reading when I was a child came from the local library and it worries me how
much pressure libraries are under these days.

You can
find out more from Stephen’s website and you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Jack Nightingale has his own website at
You can buy
New York Night on Amazon
Kobo iBooks, and at Smashwords.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog today, Stephen!

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10 thoughts on “Interview with UK thriller author Stephen Leather

  1. Ally Swanson says:

    I really enjoyed reading the excerpt and the interview! This book sounds like such an exciting, interesting, and intriguing read! Can't wait to read this book!

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