Phil Viner’s the real deal, a bona fide full-time crime writer whose first novel is being turned into a TV series by Warner Brothers. (Yeah, we hate him already. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to learn here. Because there sure as hell is)
Phil Viner describes himself as a full-time crime writer with four kills under his belt. Under the name P.D. Viner, he’s written two novels and two novellas, all of which centre around the Lancing family and the troubled policeman their lives are caught up with – Detective Tom Bevans, AKA The Sad Man.
After attending a Guardian Masterclass with internationally-bestselling authorSophie Hannah (whose novels include The Monogram Murders) Phil fine-tuned the manuscript for his first novel and started to contact agents. Within 24 hours, he was taken on.
Phil’s first book, The Last Winter of Dani Lancing, was published by Ebury/Random House in 2013 and is currently being turned into a 13-episode TV show by Warner Bros. Three years since attending a crime writing course at the Guardian, we caught up with Phil to discuss his path to publication – and what tips he has for people keen to see their own writing in print.
Now that you’re writing full-time, what’s the best thing about being a writer?
Being able to call myself a writer without blushing and feeling like a fantasist! When you’re a part-time writer you find yourself making excuses all the time, but when you finally get published you can hold your head high and declare: I am a writer. The other great thing is being plugged into the world of crime writers. They’re such great people and I’ve made some really good friends among the crime writing community.
What advice would you give to people interested in getting their novel published?
When contacting agents, make your submission red-hot – your best writing, proofread by a professional, edited to near perfection. Include a synopsis that is short and to-the-point and an elevator pitch – the core of the book in a sentence – then send it out with the mindset that these guys would be crazy not to want you.