Interview with Michael K. Foster, Author of “Satan’s Beckoning”
you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. I want to congratulate
you on the release of Satan’s Beckoning.
Thank you, Antony. It’s a pleasure to meet up with you.
tell the reader’s out there where Satan’s Beckoning picks up in the DCI Mason
and David Carlisle series. How much time has passed since the events of the
first book, The Wharf Butcher, and what has changed for both DCI Mason and
David Carlisle since that first book?
Book 2 in the series opens with
a late night fatal road traffic accident, in the middle of January 2013. Barely
six weeks into his new role with the Northumbria Police Serious Crime Squad, Jack
Mason is sent to investigate. With the dust barely settled on the Wharf Butcher
case, the Detective Chief Inspector is out to impress. On his arrival at the
crash scene, all is not what it appears to be and he is soon faced with a
vicious murder investigation.
When criminal profiler David
Carlisle is drafted in to assist, he is faced with the killer’s wrath. Within
the seemingly dark vaults of the police missing persons files lay untold
dangers. Young women are easy pickings for a serial killer who believes God has
sent him to rid the world of an overindulgent appetite for greed.
What was the process like returning to this
series? Did you find it easy to pick up from where The Wharf Butcher left off
or is it more of a challenge to revisit a series that you spent so much time
The plot idea for Satan’s
Beckoning came as a result of watching a late night TV chat show. At the
time, the host was interviewing a well-known celebrity who was going through a major
divorce settlement. He was 75 and she was 26, and boy did they look an odd
couple. What intrigued me more than anything else about this case was the money
settlement his wife’s lawyers were seeking. They’d only been married two years,
and she was asking for millions. Not only that, she was desperate to enhance
her own career by exposing her aging husband’s nasty little secrets in an
autobiography she’d supposedly written.
this is where the writer in me takes over. Blackmail, greed, jealousy, hate,
they are all in there. Suddenly ideas for book 2 were swimming around in my
head – so why not throw another serial killer into the mix? If nothing else it
seemed the perfect challenge for the
two central characters, David Carlisle and DCI Mason.
Without revealing any plot details, what would
you say is the biggest difference between The Wharf Butcher and the killer in
Satan’s Beckoning? What makes this case a challenge for David Carlisle and DCI
created the Wharf Butcher, creating another narcissistic monster was a big
challenge this time. I guess the big difference between the two serial killers
is the not knowing who the killer is in Satan’s Beckoning. In trying to shed
some light on the serial killer myths, I decided that this book would feature
heavily on the mind games. Serial killers by their very nature are manipulative
interspecies predators who have the striking ability to deceive. Many believe they
even own their victims, and treat them as personal possessions. These people
are sensation seekers, and unnerving callous individuals who are prone to
violate the rules of society.
question I often ask myself is why are so many readers, including myself,
fascinated by serial killers? With this in mind, there is little wonder that
David Carlisle would feature heavily in Satan’s Beckoning. The difficulty was
how to fit Jack Mason into the storyline. I’d always wanted to write a crime
thriller series, but always felt the need to write something different from the
standard British police procedurals. I hope I have succeeded!
When writing, what drove you more when writing
this series: the character development or the plot?
The beauty of writing a series is that
the central characters are already developed, which allows me more time to
concentrate on the plot. By the very nature of the title – Satan’s Beckoning –this
was always going to be a dark psychological thriller, a game of cat and mouse
between the criminal profiler and a serial killer. Writing suspense into a
novel can be a very tricky challenge, writing continual suspense even harder.
You have to work on it, and the plot development for this book took two years
How important would you say the setting was in
really important in a novel, and it doesn’t matter where you live just as long
as the writer can take you to that place in their story. A few years ago I met up
with Ian Rankin in the old Oxford Pub, in Young Street, Edinburgh. The master
of crime fiction who has sold millions of books, Ian’s advice to me was that a
strong sense of place is very important in every good crime novel. I’m glad I
took his advice.
What was the process like researching for this
book series? What was the most fascinating thing you learned when researching
crime investigations by the police?
In trying to understand the innermost workings of a serial
killers mind, I spent endless hours on research and talking to senior police
officers, SOCOs, prison officers and people who have had dealings with these
people. Serial killers are not everyday people, but there are still plenty of
bad guys out there who wouldn’t think twice about tearing you apart. I’m lucky
I suppose, having worked six years in the British Law Courts as a Magistrate, I
regularly came face to face with the real criminals – a priceless experience as
a crime writer.
Shifting gears to the marketing side of your
book release, what would you say has changed in terms of your book launch for
The Wharf Butcher and now Satan’s Beckoning?
Twelve months on from my first book launch, and I have built up a small
following of readers. It has certainly made the difference, and through social media
networking, I have seen that interest slowly grow.
the experience been like meeting readers and doing signings with book stores?
Book signing is an exciting
opportunity to have face-to-face discussions with your readers. Not only that, you have the chance to inspire and connect with
your readers. This, I feel, gives me a great opportunity to better understand my
target audience in a much deeper way than any other market research
or online communication.
In truth, I sell far more paperback books than anything else, so these
events are very important to me. Besides, talking
with potential readers leaves an impact unmatched by all other forms of
marketing, making your audience more likely to read your book and support your
this age of social media, what would you say has been the best social media sites
to promote your book, and why do you think that is?
From my own experience, and the experience of many
authors, bloggers, and top reviewers alike, Goodreads can be a great launch platform
to promote your work. How much weight the review holds for an author, depends
greatly on the publication and how much the reader trusts the reviewer’s
judgment. That said Goodreads
isn’t a platform to sell books directly. If you do try to do that, you will
simply be pushed out. Like many other platforms, genuine engagement is required
to get the most from it.
That said, Goodreads does offer authors the opportunity
to promote their books through giveaways and advertising, both of which can
help you get reviews on your books and spread the word about.
does the future of the DCI Mason and David Carlisle look like? Are there any
other book projects on the horizon?
I’m currently working on book 3 in the series. Still no firm title yet, but I hope to
have it ready for release by autumn 2017. The plot has been a nightmare to get
right, and has taken two years to research. It can be hard going at times, but
I’m really pleased with the way things are shaping up. No spoilers here, but
this one’s a real spine-chiller and not for the faint-hearted. All will be revealed
in the due course of time, but if you think you’re safe – think again!
you again so much for talking with us today.
Thank you for inviting me, Anthony. It’s been a
pleasure talking to you today.
you have any websites or news you’d like to share with our audience?
For those who wish, more about me and
writing can be found at: www.mike-foster.me
on the book launch. This was a fantastic read and you truly have captured the
spirit and genius of the British Crime Fiction genre.
luck with the continued launch of Satan’s Beckoning, and we look forward to
seeing your continued success and your next great book.