Five Things You Didn't Know About 'A Wanted Man' by Robert Parker


Five Things You Didn’t Know About ‘A Wanted Man’
By Robert Parker


1 It’s a lot more realistic than you might think…

Yeah, not every Mancunian crime lord has a waterfront lair, but they are there. In writing the book, I had a couple of beers with some retired members of Greater Manchester Police, and some of the stories they told me would make your toes curl. In fact some of the stories I was told would never make the book because even I felt they were too outlandish, however true. There are 160 criminal gangs in Manchester. The ‘changing of the doors’ is real, and happens in many other cities than just
Manchester. The criminal fraternity is alive, is active, is as family-wound with its own internecine rivalries and spats. So the criminal world that Ben Bracken enters, while punctuated with the occasional artistic liberty, is a very real one.

2 It used to be a screenplay…

… and a very bad one too! A Wanted Man was eventually published the year I turned 34, yet I first wrote the screenplay that would provide its blueprint when I was 17. It was hokey, stupid, contrived and silly, and didn’t even have Ben Bracken in it. It was bad and I didn’t know why, the story was dull despite all the action beats, and it only took flight when I wrote a short story about an ex-soldier coming home to find he had been fighting for a very different country than he initially thought. I dropped this soldier into that old screenplay, and boom, it came to life.

3 Save for one or two, the locations are all real…

I wanted to represent my home city in the truest way I possibly could, and that means that pretty much all the locations in the book are exactly as you would find them in real life. For example, you can get a pint in the Victorian toilet known as The Temple of Convenience exactly where it is described in the book, in fact the cover image is the railway bridge on Oxford Road just along from The Temple itself. The geography is all pretty much correct too, and the only changes I made to either of these things were to fit the story, or if something very bad happened there in the story which might have upset the owners of establishments I frequent! So the chances are, if you read about a place in the book, you can go check it out for yourself.

4 The published version is the 46th edit of the original manuscript…

It would be sheer madness to believe that when you sit down to write a book, you nail it on the first try. And the more I got feedback, and the more I developed in terms of my style and tastes, the more I wanted to change things too. The book is around 75,000 words long, and I began to view editing like cooking, with each word a different ingredient or seasoning – change huge chunks, and you might have a different book/dish on your hands. Change a handful, and you might just change the aftertaste (I’m clinging onto this metaphor for dear life at this point!). During this editing process, all sorts of things changed, different characters lived and survived (a couple of very integral ones too!), and even the length of the book boomeranged – at one point it was over a hundred thousand words! One thing is for sure, it was a team effort that got it here, and I include my agent Linda, the editors and agency staff who all read it, and all the beta readers who gave me feedback, all of whom got me bringing back another version time and time again.

5 It is the first of a series that is closer than you might think…

I’m so glad that ‘A Wanted Man’ has been received well for all sorts of reasons, but one reason is simply because I enjoyed it so much that I’ve already written the next couple of books in the series. So, to all those wonderful readers asking me whether Ben Bracken will return… you can bet your life he will. I know where he’s off to next, and I’m not telling – but I can promise you life won’t get any easier for him, poor guy.

About the Author

Robert Parker is a new exciting voice, a married father of two, who lives in a village close to ManchesterUK. He has both a law degree and a degree in film and media production, and has worked in numerous employment positions, ranging from solicitor’s agent (essentially a courtroom gun for hire), to a van driver, to a warehouse order picker, to a commercial video director. He currently writes full time, while also making time to encourage new young readers and authors through readings and workshops at local schools and bookstores. In his spare time he adores pretty much all sport, boxing regularly for charity, loves fiction across all mediums, and his glass is always half full.

His latest book is the crime/thriller, A WANTED MAN.

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