The head of Creative Writing at Brunel University London, Max Kinnings, has published the second novel in his series featuring protagonist Ed Mallory, a blind DCI who is the top hostage negotiator with the London Metropolitan Police. The new thriller, Sacrifice, which sees Mallory at a bloody siege in Belgravia, follows Mallory’s debut in Baptism, which Kinnings is adapting into a screenplay working with award-winning director and producer Phil Hawkins.
Max, who teaches screenwriting on the Creative Writing course at Brunel, says, “Learning how to write scripts is also very useful for fiction. Being adept at script development can make you a better novelist. Studying screenwriting theory provides transferable skills.”
His academic interest in crime, having studied criminology at the former Polytechnic of Central London, helps him in writing fiction in the crime and thriller genres. The idea for this series arose from his experience of being trapped in an underground train behind the one in which Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police officers.
“It inspired me to write a story featuring a hostage negotiator who is blind and can build up a profile of someone from the way they speak. I wanted a central character who was more interested in psychology, rather than one possessing the usual characteristics of the fictional detective – the maverick tendencies and the heavy drinking.”
Max’s own creative writing range is broad: he is the uncredited ghost co-writer on Rik Mayall’s best-selling spoof autobiogaphy, Bigger than Hitler—Bigger than Christ, has penned two earlier novels; Hitman, and The Fixer, worked in the music and entertainment industries devising advertising and marketing campaigns, and has written a libretto, amongst many projects.
“The image of creative writing courses has changed,” he remarks. “There’s a misconception that they’re focussed entirely on literary fiction. We encourage students to work with drama, film and television, feature writing, copy writing, performance poetry and all types of genre fiction.”