An Interview with Mick Herron

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to ask Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Shortlistee Mick Herron all of our burning questions.

Read on to find out Mick’s writing quirks and what he’s most looking forward to at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival this year.

And don’t forget to cast your vote to decide who will take home the UK and Ireland’s most coveted crime fiction writing award.

We like to start our interviews by asking our authors to introduce themselves. Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

I’m the author of the Slough House novels, about a bunch of failed spies. I write full time, and I live in Oxford.


When did you start writing fiction? What made you want to start the long, often arduous, process of writing a book?

I’ve been writing fiction for as long as I remember – I started young, stopped for a while, then started again. Like most forms of addiction, it’s easier to give in to than struggle against. Writing a novel can indeed be arduous, but I’d find not writing much more difficult.


What’s the most difficult part of writing a crime book?

Starting. When a book’s unwritten, it’s perfect. Starting to write it means accepting that you’re going to mess up again.


One thing we always love to know, what does your typical writing day look like?

It mostly looks like an indolent man going to some lengths to avoid doing any work … A lot of the process involves mulling and musing, and even the actual writing is often a matter of staring at a screen rather than resorting to the keyboard. But however busy or otherwise I appear to be, I’m only those things between the hours of 10 and 4. The rest of the time, I’m off duty.


We’ve heard of some unusual writing habits over the years, what would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I wish I had one!


Which writers have influenced your own writing the most?

Hard to say … Influences are more often noticed by readers that writers, I think. I’m probably mostly under the sway of the authors of the innumerable novels I read between the ages of, say, 12 and 20. The majority of them, I’ve long forgotten. But their legacy lives on, in an undefinable sort of way.


What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Casting Off.


What would winning the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Novel of the Year Award mean to you?

Let me get back to you on that, if and when.


Which event at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival are you most looking forward to?

The interview with Michael Connelly.

About the book:

Slough House – the crumbling office building to which failed spies, the ‘slow horses’, are banished – has been wiped from secret service records. Reeling from recent losses in their ranks, the slow horses are worried they’ve been pushed further into the cold, and fatal accidents keep happening.  With a new populist movement taking a grip on London’s streets, the aftermath of a blunder by the Russian secret service that left a British citizen dead, and the old order ensuring that everything’s for sale to the highest bidder, the world’s an uncomfortable place for those deemed surplus to requirements. The wise move would be to find a safe place and wait for the troubles to pass. But the slow horses aren’t famed for making wise decisions.


About the author:

Mick Herron is the author of the bestselling Slough House novels, which have won two CWA Daggers, been published in 20 languages, and are the basis of a major forthcoming TV series starring Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb. He is also the author of the Zoe Boehm series, and the standalone novels Reconstruction and This is What Happened. Mick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.

About the award:

The most prestigious award in crime fiction, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of The Year marks it’s eighteenth year in 2022.

The award celebrates excellence, originality, and the very best in crime fiction from UK and Irish authors. A highlight in the literary calendar, past winners include Denise Mina, Steve Cavanagh, Val McDermid and Chris Brookmyre. Awarded annually as part of Harrogate International Festivals’ Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, the winner of the most wanted accolade in crime fiction receives a cheque for £3000, and an engraved oak beer cask, hand-carved by one of Britain’s last coopers from Theakstons Brewery.

The winner will be announced at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Awards and Party on Thursday 21st July 2022.

Book your tickets to the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award Show here!