Keith Nixon Interview

Keith Nixon has been a tireless advocate for the crime-writing community, reviewing, hawking, and pimping the work of others. Nows our chance to return the favor.

Keiths Russian Roulette is hot off the presses. Which makes it ripe for the Gutter treatment.

Russian Roulette by Keith Nixon

1.) We first met Konstantin Boryakov in The Fix. Were you always planning on a series?

Yes, that was the plan, I just wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish it—initially the idea was to revolve future novels around Mr. Lamb. My writing is half planned, half fortuitous. Konstantin started off as a secondary character who just grew in importance as time went on. Readers liked him; I liked him and his hidden depths. “Dream Land,” the first of the stories in Russian Roulette, was planned as a giveaway, and the series just went from there. I also have another novel due out with Caffeine Nights in March 2015, with Konstantin in the role of protagonist this time.

2.) Konstantin comes with some serious baggage of his own. In a lot of ways he’s more ruthless and violent than the men he is chasing. Is this just a by-product of the times? I mean, as the world grows increasingly dark and twisted, do we need our heroes to be equally fucked up?

I guess it’s a degree of the heroes having to get as down and dirty as their opponents, but retaining a degree of morals and ethics. We can’t be the man in white hats any more, I agree. It’s very much a question the world is asking itself right now. To be fair Konstantin has a very strong moral code, he knows the world is a dirty place, but he can’t help but help people.

3.) One of the biggest bangs in Russian Roulette involves the supporting characters. Dave the Rave. Plastic Fantastic. Speaking in purely envious writerly terms, I’ll ask: how do you let yourself get so far out there? Or do you actually have experience with “dildo-wielding dominatrixes”? (Feel free not to answer that last part.)

I’m all about people. Everything is a by-product of a person’s actions or behaviour, so why should secondary characters be any weaker than the protagonist? Plastic Fantastic came from a credit card advert I saw at an ATM! Each of my novels tends to have a strong woman in one shape or another—this is probably due to my wife. She’s the most supportive person you could wish for, but cross her?! Big trouble. I’ve seen a dildo-wielding dominatrix from a distance—a scary woman who was thankfully the other side of a piece of glass in Amsterdam. . . .

4.) Konstantin is ex-KGB. Intriguing choice for a protagonist. How much research goes into a character like him? His skillset seems particularly tailored.

The KGB element was pure chance to give a tramp an extra dimension. It was a tongue-in-cheek joke. And honestly? No research at all, beyond a stack of spy novels when I was a kid. I haven’t researched any of the characters in my crime novels. When it comes to my historical fiction work it’s the polar opposite—two years of hard, hard work getting that right!

5.) I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this novel. What immediately struck me was Konstantin as a modern Marlowe. Is this just a wishful thinking American projecting? Or is that comparison accurate?

Wow, Marlowe?! I can’t think of a higher compliment… Totally accidental, I must admit.

Keith Nixon has been writing since he was a child. In fact some of his friends (& his wife) say he's never really grown up. Keith is currently gainfully employed in a senior sales role for a UK based high-tech company meaning he gets to use his one skill, talking too much.