As writers, my guests and I make stories up from our imagination, but we also very often pull parts of them from our own lives. As a reader, I love nothing more than when a mystery novel is grounded in real life. It gives such depth and richness to a novel.
Peter Bartram is an author who has worked as a journalist for decades. He has brought that experience, and the experience of living and working in the seaside town in the south of England called Brighton, to his series of mystery novels. Peter’s series involves main character, and cunning journalist, Colin Crampton, his beautiful girlfriend Shirley the Sheila, and a host of other characters who are entirely fictional, but as Peter says, are influenced by his time on the news desk.
I learned some things I didn’t know during this interview, which always pleases me, including a bit about how newspaper type was set before the age of computers.
You can find out more about Peter and his Colin Crampton series on his website ColinCrampton.com. And as with so many of my guests, Peter has a book available for free. It is a prequel to the series and you can find it here.
You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
Transcript of Interview with Peter Bartram
Alexandra: Hi everyone, this is It’s a Mystery podcast, I’m Alexandra Amor and I’m here with Pete Bartram. Hi Peter.
Peter: Good morning, Alexandra.
Alexandra: How are you today?
Peter: I am very well and how about yourself?
Alexandra: I’m good. Yeah, a little soggy here in Vancouver today, but otherwise doing well.
Let me introduce you to our listeners.
Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle Crime Mystery series. Which features crime reporter Colin Crampton in 1960s Brighton, England. Peter’s novels are fast-paced and humorous. The action is matched by the laughs.
Peter began his career as a reporter on the Worthing Herald newspaper in the U.K. before working as a journalist and editor in London and finally becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism, from door stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and the courtier’s chamber at the Buckingham Palace.
Peter has written 21 non-fiction books, including five ghost-written, in areas such as biographies, current affairs and how-to titles before turning to crime and penning “Headline Murder,” the first novel in the Crampton of the Chronicle series.
I want to start back at the beginning and ask you what prompted you to make the switch from non-fiction to fiction after such a long career in non-fiction.
Peter: Well, I’ve always wanted to do it. A basic problem wretched me, I thought, “No money in it.” That may ultimately prove to be wrong, only time will tell.
The fact of the matter is, I’ve worked all my career as a journalist. I was a freelance journalist from 1974 onwards. When you’re a freelance journalist and you’re earning your living from it, you have to keep your nose to the grindstone writing features and stories and commissioned non-fiction books at the time. And it was only in recent years that I have had a chance to do this, which is something that I always wanted to do.
Alexandra: Colin and the stories that are set in Brighton.