Monday, 20 February 2012

An interview in two parts - Damien Seaman

The Book:

Düsseldorf, 1 March 1929, the dying days of the Weimar Republic. A prostitute is found dead in a cheap hotel room, brutally murdered. But her death is soon forgotten as the city’s police hunt a maniac attacking innocent women and children. A killer the press has dubbed the Düsseldorf Ripper.

Detective Thomas Klein’s career is going nowhere until he gets a tip off leading to the Ripper’s arrest. But the killer’s confession to the hooker’s murder is full of holes, and Klein soon comes to believe this is one murder the killer didn’t commit. Motivated by spite, ambition, or maybe even a long-buried sense of justice, finding out who really killed Emma Gross becomes Klein’s obsession.

Particularly when the evidence begins to point closer to home…

Based on the true story of notorious serial killer Peter Kürten and the unsolved murder of Düsseldorf prostitute Emma Gross… 

The Author ... 
This is what they have to say about him over at BLASTED HEATH ... A former journalist, editor, parliamentary assistant, financial analyst, factory worker and security guard, Damien Seaman’s short crime fiction, interviews and reviews have featured on numerous ezines and blogs. He has dabbled in petty smuggling, baboon-whispering, scuba diving and sunbathing, with varying levels of success. And don’t even ask about the Goddamned tennis lessons.

He has lived in Belgium, Germany and Libya, spent probably more time than was healthy visiting Kuwait, and currently resides in the county of Shakespeare’s birth. He also has a fear of camels, but he doesn’t like to talk about it.

The Interview (Part One)...

MCN: You have 3 words. Describe The Killing of Emma Gross.
Damien: Hardboiled German expressionism.
MCN: You now have another 21 words. Tell me some more.
Damien: Emma Gross is equal parts police procedural, psychological
thriller and dramatic deconstruction of a love affair gone very, very wrong.
MCN: I’m liking all those parts, BTW. Emma Gross is an incredibly assured debut
(this is me buttering you up)- this level of skill doesn't happen straight away, so go on spill, 
what else have you been writing?

Damien: Ha! You terrible brown noser, you. What was it about the book you
found particularly skilful?

MCN: Eeesh, I hate it when people answer a question with a question. Emmmm, what did I 
find skilful? All around quality - character/ plot/ prose/ sense of time and place - difficult to find fault, really. So, where did you learn your craft?
Damien: I couldn't write until I worked as a journalist in Brussels. That's
when I really learned to write quickly, and to make a story out of
unpromising material. Out of thin air sometimes. Once I was sent to
interview a man from the Cook Islands and my boss couldn't remember
who he was, just that he was either the prime minister or the foreign
minister. Luckily the man gave me his card when we met and he turned
out to be the foreign minister, so I could at least make it look like
I'd been briefed. But even then I didn't have a clue what to talk to
him about until we actually started talking.
High wire days, those were, and very useful. Everything since that job
has been a kind of tweaking or refining what I learned then. As for
Emma Gross, I think the secret with that was that I'd found a story I
really wanted to get out and that no matter how long it took I was
going to do it. If there's a reason the book turned out to be good,
that's it.
MCN: Yeah, that chimes with me. A story you were passionate about. Talking about 
passions (we were, keep up) you mentioned a love affair gone terribly wrong. We are terrible gossips at MCN – do tell ...
Damien: Let's just say it's based on experience, though nothing as harrowing as 
what occurs in the book. I will say that I probably wouldn't have been that 
confident writing about abortion if it wasn't something I'd had to deal with 

MCN: Answered with admirable honesty, sir. (And there was me after some salacious 

To be continued ...


  1. Wow, talk about pressure with that interview with the foreign minister!

  2. Yeah, Alex - talk about having to be a quick learner. Jeez.

  3. Interesting interview - love the setting and period of the book.

  4. Hey guys, thanks for the comments. As for that interview with the foreign minister, pure adrenalin got me through that kind of thing back then. I got used to the highwire act of it all after a while, but it was very tiring!