A Breath on Dying Embers: Q&A


How do you feel as you begin a new book?

It’s always a mixture of excitement and nerves. Really great to begin another story, but the pressure is on! The new book has to at least match up to what’s come before.

Do you plan every chapter, or is it a more free-flowing process? 

I know a lot of writers who plan every step of the way. I’m not one of them. I have a rough beginning middle and end of a story in my mind, ideas for characters and what I want to do. But more often than not, the writing takes on a life of its own and the finished work can be very different compared with the initial concept. I have ideas as I write and each can alter the final destination.

You’ve been splashing teasers on social media about A Breath on Dying Embers. What can we expect? 

I like each book to come from a slightly different perspective. In the main, A Breath on Dying Embers is very ‘now’, dealing with modern themes and issues. You can expect thrills, laughs and tears.

You say ‘tears’, are we about to lose a much-loved character? 

Game of Thrones has just finished its run on TV. Famously, author George R R Martin often said no character is safe. I agree with him. Without jeopardy it’s impossible to ramp up the tension and do the story justice. Nobody is safe, that’s all I’m saying.

The new book has a fabulous new cover design. Indeed, the whole blacklist has been rebranded. How do you feel about this, and why was it done? 

In life fashions change, the same goes for publishing. Polygon suggested we revamp the covers and I’m delighted with the result. I’m lucky enough to have a lot of input, and I was keen to have images of Kintyre feature heavily. Polygon agreed, and huge thanks to Raymond Hosie Photography and Head Design for coming up with such vibrant, eye-catching covers. I can’t wait to see them in the flesh … or should that be paper?


You’ve crossed the million sales barrier. How does that feel?

Fabulous! Across all platforms worldwide the books continue to find new readers and listeners. After a difficult start with a truly awful publisher, Polygon saved the day, and here we are! We have publishing partners across the world, and I’m delighted to have struck a new representation deal with Bell Lomax Moreton. My new agent Jo Bell has boundless enthusiasm. Combined with their reach and contacts, I’m sure Daley and other projects will go from strength to strength! I’m thrilled.

A Breath on Dying Embers will be published by Polygon on 11 July 2019. It’s available in print, ebook and audio.