with crime writer, Trevor Wood
I first came across the work of Trevor Wood around 2002 when I watched ‘Dirty Dusting’, which became a very successful play he wrote with Ed Waugh. The show performed in front of packed houses at The Customs House, South Shields before going to play to audiences in Ireland and Australia, as well as a UK tour.
The North East based writing duo went on to write several more hit plays, including ‘Waiting For Gateaux’ which toured New Zealand as well as the UK. ‘Maggie’s End’ commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Miners strike and ‘Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather’ which told the true story of the West Auckland Football Team who won the first World Cup.
After leaving school, Trevor joined the Royal Navy where he stayed for 16 years before retraining as a journalist. He worked on various newspapers in the North East including the Evening Chronicle….. ‘Then after a brief spell at Newcastle City Council as press officer, then Head of Communications, I teamed up with Ed Waugh, who I’d met on my journalism course, and we wrote a very successful series of comedy plays’.
What inspired you to write? Originally the comedy plays came about because Ed and I didn’t think there was anything out there that we wanted to see so decided to try and write something ourselves. Our first play was an immediate success so we just kept going!
The crime writing was a much longer process – I’ve always been a huge reader and it’s the genre that I nearly always turn to so five years ago I decided to give it a go.
I enrolled on the inaugural MA in Crime Writing at the University of East Anglia and The Man on the Street was developed on that course. It took quite a while to find the right publisher but it was worth the wait as my publishers, Quercus, which is part of the huge Hachette publishing group, have been incredibly supportive.
How was your debut received ? The Man on the Street was published in March 2020, just before they closed all the bookshops. Despite this it has done very well, winning the Crime Writer’s Association’s New Blood Dagger for the best debut crime novel of the year and being chosen by Val McDermid for the prestigious New Blood panel at the Harrogate Crime Festival.
It’s also received praise from leading crime writers like Lee Child, Mari Hannah and Elly Griffiths as well as great reviews in the Guardian and Sunday Times. It’s also been optioned for TV by World Productions, who made Line of Duty and Bodyguard.
What is your latest project? One Way Street is set in and amongst the North East’s homeless community. A series of bizarre drug-related deaths among runaway teenagers has set the community on edge.
The word on the street is that a rogue batch of Spice – the zombie drug sweeping the inner cities – is to blame, but when one of Jimmy’s few close friends is caught up in the carnage, loyalty compels him to find out what’s really going on.
One Way Street sees the welcome return of Jimmy Mullen, the homeless, PTSD-suffering, veteran as he attempts to rebuild his life following the events in The Man on the Street.
As well as writing I volunteer one afternoon at the People’s Kitchen in Newcastle, where I help cook meals for the city’s homeless population.
Have you got a file full of ideas for new projects ? I wish! I’m currently writing the third in the Jimmy Mullen series which is provisionally called Dead End Street and have a publishing deal for a fourth book which will be a standalone novel. As yet, I have no idea whatsoever what that will be so if anyone has any great ideas!
My wife has come up with a brilliant idea for a Christmas rom-com but I’m not sure my publishers will be happy with a sudden switch from gritty crime thriller to that.
Where are your books available to buy? It’s available from all the usual outlets but I’ve had great support from all the local bookshops so would always say Forum Books in Corbridge or Waterstones in either Newcastle or Durham for The Man on the Street. Although the shops are closed again now – temporarily I hope – you can order online from any of them.
One Way Street is only out in ebook and audio at the moment – the hardback isn’t published until March 2021 – so you may have to go to Amazon for that.
For more info and up to date news check out the official website:
Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2020.