Chris Whitaker

As we prepare to find out the winner, we’ve been catching up with the shortlisted writers, including Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at the End

A New York Times bestseller which has recently been optioned for film, We Begin at the End is Chris’ third novel and the first to be shortlisted for the Crime Novel of the Year award.

What’s your favourite tipple for enjoying with a book? 

Theakston Old Peculier. Often imitated but never matched. Possibly because it’s brewed using the traditional Fuggle hop. I get an extra vote for research, right?  

Where are you most likely to have that creative “eureka” moment? 

Just as I’m holding the finished copy for the first time. 

I tend to do most of my plotting in the early hours of the morning. I’ll find myself wide awake at 3am worrying about a sentence or plot point so I’ll head down to my desk knowing that I won’t get back to sleep until it’s fixed. It used to bother me but now I’ve just accepted it’s part of the process. I like to think all writers are a bit mad. 

If you could be any character in a book, who would it be? 

There’s so many I admire. I’m drawn to the good, those with an unshakable moral compass. And also to the very bad, because there must be a certain freedom in tossing that moral compass out of the window. So I’m going with Atticus Finch and Amy Dunne. 

What’s the most “peculier” situation you’ve found yourself in while researching a story? 

I wanted to hold a gun and my builder has a couple of deactivated pistols. I was holding one of them on my driveway when the police drove by. I actually made eye contact with one of them and kind of grimaced but they drove on by, likely intimidated by my sexy Bond stance.   

Do you think you have what it takes to commit the perfect crime? 

Yes. But the problem is that once you talk about it, it’s no longer perfect. 

What would make you a better author but a worse person? 

Giving my children away. 

Find out more about the festival and the programme of events here