By Adam Croft
There aren’t many jobs in which you can meet up with friends and colleagues for a beer or a coffee and discuss the best way to dispose of a dead body.
Of course, sometimes the conversations are less macabre: we occasionally muse on methods of strangulation, or the length of time it takes beetle larvae to eat their way through a fresh corpse. And hey, this is something the whole world would want to listen in on, right?
That was the unlikely but seemingly fortuitous spark that led to the launch of the Partners in Crime podcast in January of this year, almost a year after my co-host, Robert Daws, and I first came up with the idea.
We’re both international bestselling crime fiction writers and live only a few hundred yards apart from each other, so regularly meet for a coffee or a beer and chew the fat of the crime writing world. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could share our conversations with the world?”, we thought, in a not-so-rare moment of self-congratulation.
A few months later, we recorded a ‘Conversations in Crime’ video, in which we both sat down in Bob’s living room with a camera crew and chatted about crime fiction and our writing lives in general. It was almost like a two-way interview. It proved popular, but was somewhat limited in scope. ‘What if we brought a third, different crime writer in the room each week?’ we thought, patting ourselves on the back in a way which was now starting to become familiar.
All of this self-congratulation was leading to too many glasses of champagne. Our bellies began to swell—not to mention our heads—and we decided it would be best to ditch the cameras and move to an audio-only medium in the form of a podcast. ‘How hard can it be?’ we thought. Wrongly.
We did our research, recorded a couple of interviews and realized that launching and producing a podcast was actually quite a difficult business—not to mention expensive. We might be bestselling crime writers, but those champagne celebrations had somewhat dented our coffers, and we turned to our good friends at Kobo and invited them to become our new sponsors. Being the forward-thinking visionaries that they are (*pop* there goes another bottle) they agreed to put their name to the podcast and quickly began biting their fingernails. Soon after, Partners in Crime was born.
We’re both very fortunate to have connections with some big names in the fictional crime world, and Bob’s decades of acting on TV, film and stage means that we were able to open up the podcast to the whole of crime—not just books. We launched our first episode with Neil Dudgeon as our guest—DCI Barnaby of TV’s Midsomer Murders fame. We were keen to show our ambition for pulling in big names from the start, and in our first dozen episodes have interviewed Peter James, Elly Griffiths, Mark Billingham and Hugh Fraser—Captain Hastings from TV’s Poirot.
To say it’s all been plain sailing would be a lie, though. The long evenings editing and producing the podcast are tiring, to say the least—especially when you’ve spent the morning recording an interview with your new star guest, only to realize that Bob’s microphone wasn’t recording. And yes, that’s happened twice in twelve episodes.
There was also the time when we spent the afternoon recording our next episode—one which we were confident was by far our best yet. The conversation was flowing, the banter was on another level and we’d managed to hit that perfect sweet spot between humorous, entertaining and informative. We were on a roll. Until I called Bob an hour later, desolate and inconsolable because 75% of the episode hadn’t actually recorded. Ever the consummate professional, Bob came back the next morning and we re-recorded the whole episode, desperately trying to remember what we’d said and done the previous day. And no, I’m not going to tell you which episode it was!
But, all in all, the podcast has proved extremely successful over its first three months of life. Our audience continues to grow with every episode, and listeners seem to like the style. As authors, Bob and I are both acutely aware of bad interviewing techniques, so we deliberately don’t go in with a list of questions. We simply have one topic we ask about at the start of the interview, and everything else flows as natural conversation. That organically brings out the humour, pathos, exclusive revelations and everything else that makes a good interview. And, of course, we’re very careful in selecting our guests and have been extremely lucky with the people who’ve said yes.
If you’re a fan of crime fiction, TV crime dramas or films, why not listen in? The podcast’s completely free and all episodes are available to listen to indefinitely, with new episodes launching each Friday. You never know—you might just find your next favourite read.
With more than a million books sold to date, Adam Croft is one of the most successful independently published authors in the world, and one of the biggest selling authors of the past year.
His Knight & Culverhouse crime thriller series has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide, with his Kempston Hardwick mystery books being adapted as audio plays starring some of the biggest names in British TV.
In 2016, the Knight & Culverhouse Box Set reached storewide number 1 in Canada, knocking J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child off the top spot only weeks after Her Last Tomorrow was also number 1 in Canada. The new edition of Her Last Tomorrow also reached storewide number 1 in Australia over Christmas 2016.
During the summer of 2016, two of Adam’s books hit the USA Today bestseller list only weeks apart, making them two of the most-purchased books in the United States over the summer.
Adam has been featured on BBC television, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Bookseller and a number of other news and media outlets.
In March 2018, Adam was conferred as an Honorary Doctor of Arts, the highest academic qualification in the UK, by the University of Bedfordshire in recognition of his achievements.
Adam presents the regular crime fiction podcast Partners in Crime with fellow bestselling author Robert Daws.