Matthew Redford Talks About His Approach To Writing Short Stories

who-killed-the-mince-spyI’m pleased to welcome Matthew Redford to Novel Kicks today. His festive food related crime investigation short story is due for release by Clink Street Publishing in paperback and electronically own 6th December.

Tenacious carrot, detective inspector Willie Wortell is back to reveal the deviously delicious mind behind the crime of the festive season in this hugely entertaining, and utterly unconventional, short story.

When Mitchell the Mince Spy is horrifically murdered by being over baked in a fan oven, it falls to the Food Related Crime team to investigate this heinous act. Why was Mitchell killed? Who is the mysterious man with a long white beard and why does he carry a syringe? Why is it that the death of a mince spy smells so good?

Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, the best food sapiens police officer, once again leads his team into a series of crazy escapades. Supported by his able homo sapiens sergeant Dorothy Knox and his less able fruit officers Oranges and Lemons, they encounter

Snow White and the seven dwarf cabbages as well as having a run in with the food sapiens secret service, MI GasMark5.
With a thigh slap here, and a thigh slap there, the team know Christmas is coming as the upper classes are acting strangely – why else would there be lords a leaping, ladies dancing and maids a milking?

And if that wasn’t enough, the Government Minister for the Department of Fisheries, Agriculture and Rural Trade (DAFaRT) has only gone and given the turkeys a vote on whether they are for or against Christmas.

Let the madness begin!

Matthew has joined me today to talk about his approach to writing short stories…

When I was asked to draft an article on my approach to writing a short story, I thought this would be a doddle. I mean, after all, I have written a short story – Who Killed the Mince Spy? – which is coming out in December 2016. Well, how wrong I was.

How do I approach writing a short story? Well, that is a really interesting question and it is not one which I have thought about before and I don’t recall having been asked the question before either. And when I sat down with the iPad in front of me ready to write my answer, I realised I didn’t know where to start!

So let’s go back to basics. How do I come up with my ideas? Well, I write about food sapiens, those walking, talking food items which live and work along us all. There are some famous food sapiens such as the musicians Polenta Faith and Fizzy Pop Gillespie. And with that in mind, I think about all of the different food items and try to come up with story titles which I think are either topical, interesting or, hopefully, both.

Let’s take Christmas. Mince pies are a staple Christmas food item. Simply switch the word, pie to spy and you’ve a living, breathing food sapiens creature which you can take on a creative journey. Or in my case, straight into a fan oven where the poor little blighter is horrifically murdered.

And once I have a title, then I will work out a story from there. Although I know that I am writing about a surreal world with food sapiens and homo sapiens, I do want the world they live in to be recognisable. And so I would take events from real-life, give them a twist, and put them into my food related crime world. For example, we’ve not been able to get away from the EU referendum and Brexit since the summer, so why not give that a twist when writing a festive story and allow turkeys the vote on Christmas?

But before I begin writing, I like to know how the story is going to end. So I start with a title, think about what the story might look like and then figure out the ending. I also find that writing the ending first, which might be a little odd, helps me. I know where I need the story to go and that helps to focus my writing. And so once I have the ending written I go right back to the beginning and start writing in a more traditional front to back style.

I try to find humour in most situations and I hope that comes through in the stories that I have written so far. I certainly would hope that any reader of Addicted to Death or Who Killed the Mince Spy? can pick up either of the two books, forget about any real life troubles they may have and temporarily at least, slip into a world of silliness and surrealism.


My verdict on Who Killed The Mince Spy?

Along with the Food Related Crime Team; Dorothy, Oranges and Lemons, Carrot Detective Inspector Willie Wortell is leading the investigation into the murder of Mitchell the Mince Spy who has been found dead in a fan oven.

Not only do they have no leads as to who this murder victim is, there is also a strange man with a white beard hanging around. Plus the turkeys are voting on whether to abolish the traditional Christmas roast (very topical considering the recent referendum.)

I have not read Matthew’s previous short story so the only introduction I had to this book was that it was ‘a food related crime investigation.’ It did really sound intriguing. The story starts off with a murder of a mince-pie. Yes, a mince-pie.

The jist is that humans still exist but food has developed and evolved to live like humans and we all cohabitate and work together.
Detective Wortell and his team are called in to work out who has committed this crime.

This story didn’t take me long to read. It’s only 132 pages long. It’s perfect if you are looking for something short with a festive theme to go with the time of year.

It’s fun and quirky and reminded me a lot of All My Friends Are Superheroes. It’s got that kind of a feel to it. There are some very funny matthew-redford_bannermoments and lines throughout the book (which had me laughing out loud.) There are also food puns, a TV presenter called Paxo and some amusing acronyms too.

The turkeys have been granted a referendum as to whether to abolish the traditional Christmas roast which did actually have me debating that argument to myself.

Overall, this is a funny, festive short story and if you’re looking for something fairly short to read over Christmas and or are a bit of a foodie, this book would be perfect.


About Matthew: 

Born in 1980, Matthew Redford grew up with his parents and elder brother on a council

estate in Bermondsey, south-east London. He now lives in Longfield, Kent, takes masochistic pleasure in watching his favourite football team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, is a keen chess player and is planning future food related crime novels. To counterbalance the quirkiness of his crime fiction Redford is an accountant. His unconventional debut crime thriller, Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime

Investigation was published by Clink Street Publishing last summer.

For more information about Matthew, visit his website – and you can follow him on Twitter –


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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