Interview with Andrew Grant

FALSE WITNESS is the third in Andrew Grant‘s Cooper Devereaux series. It is a breakneck thriller in which Cooper Devereaux chases a serial killer…as well as demons from his past. 

You’re from Birmingham, England. What made you set your Cooper Devereaux series in Birmingham, Alabama?

To make the plot for the first book in the series – FALSE POSITIVE – work, I needed a location with a major city that was close to woods / forests where you could plausibly find old-time ramshackle cabins. I knew that Birmingham, AL would fit the bill after visiting the city for the Murder in the Magic City conference a few years ago, but the clincher for me was that, as you say, I’m from Birmingham, England and I just loved the symmetry of writing about the other Birmingham.

Cooper is a complicated guy. Is he based on anyone you’ve encountered in real life?

I know there’s a danger of this sounding hokey, but Cooper is actually based on someone I dreamed about. After I’d written RUN, which is a standalone, I was wondering who / what to write about next and boom – I woke up the next day with the answer. Cooper has some, shall we say, major issues stemming from his background, and exploring how he deals with them while trying to live his life and do his job has made him a lot of fun to write about.

Your books include a lot of different aspects of society, from the glitzy to the vulgar. Is it important to you to include a broad range of experiences?

Absolutely. An inherent contradiction in writing a novel is that you’re taking fictional worlds, scenarios, and characters and presenting them as ‘real’. I think therefore that to achieve that elusive ‘ring of truth’ you have to show life from as many different angles as possible to give it depth and substance.

What kind of feedback have you had from police officers? Have you heard from anyone in the BPD?

I’ve had great feedback from a number of detectives, both working and retired, but not from anyone in the BPD. I have heard from several readers who live in / around Birmingham, AL, who were very happy to see their city in print.

As a storyteller, what’s your most important research tool?

Visiting the places I write about, and talking to people who do the things my characters do. (OK, I know that’s two things, but hey…)

Chocolate or vanilla?

Both. In large quantities. With hot fudge sauce and whipped cream on top. But no nuts.


Thank you, Andrew!