Traditional Publishing

Peter James reveals thought process in writing his novels – Tuesday May 30, 2023

Best-selling writer Peter James is better known for words than numbers and has confessed he didn't care much for maths at school.

But now the Grace author has teamed up with the charity National Numeracy - and revealed how numbers have become key to his work.

In an exclusive interview to support National Numeracy Day, Brighton-born Peter gave a unique insight into how he writes his best-selling books.

How do you use numeracy in your work?
When I’m starting a new book – and I’ve done this for years – I set myself a target for each week. I find the first 20 pages are very slow because I go back and back and back, and then as I progress with a book it gets quicker and then towards the end it slows down again.

I started the 20th Roy Grace novel on April 24 so for that Saturday, 29, I put a target of page 5. Then the following week, page 15, then the following week, page 30. Then I go slightly bigger – up to page 50. Every book of mine is around about 450 pages long.

Depending on if it’s a busy week or a quiet week I’ll set myself a target of either ten, 15, 20 or 25 pages. I go through week by week until I get to what I call ‘page 500’ and that’s the finish. So at the moment, the target for page 500 is November 25. My pages are double spaced and about 250 words.

Each week, if I’m over my target I feel really happy but if I’m under then I know I’ve got to write more the next week. It really works for me, I can tell where I am every week in terms of the schedule for the book. Numeracy really helps me with keeping on track in terms of scheduled writing.

To read the full article on, click here