An exclusive interview with John Nicholl


An interview with UK’s bestseller, John Nicholl. I got a chance to interview the author of “White is the coldest colour” whom I can’t thank enough for this opportunity :). I reviewed his book a few weeks back that you can check here.

He was kind enough to take out his time to answer my questions. He is a great writer who has braved some pretty disturbing things in his life. I admire him for that. Check out his debut novel and trust me, you will not be sorry. 🙂


When did you first considered yourself a writer?

When I began receiving positive feedback from readers, their opinions were the only thing that mattered.

What books have influenced your life the most?

I didn’t base my writing style on any particular writer. It evolved as I progressed with feedback from two professional editors. Having said that, I enjoy writers like Dean Koontz, Val Mc Dermid and PD James. In the unlikely event if I could achieve anything remotely approaching their fantastic accomplishments, I’d be a very happy writer.

Which book are you reading now?

The Black Orchestra, a WW2 spy thriller. I’m really enjoying it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Reading editorial reports and the inevitable rewriting that follows can be utterly excruciating.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Communicating the truly awful nature of the crimes involved while avoiding any graphic descriptions.

How do you beat out your writer’s block?

I haven’t experienced it yet but who knows what the future holds.

When/where do you do your best writing? Like your favorite place of thinking.

I write at the dining room table with music playing.

What inspired you to join social services?

The British police of the 1980s were very different from today. I became disillusioned with the approach and attitudes to such crimes as domestic violence and decided to train as a social worker. My later joint work with the police investigating and managing cases such as those in the book was a much more positive experience.

When you work on the cases, where the closest family members (even parents) are victimizing children, did you ever get cynical about every person you met? Specially when you had your own kids?

In short, yes. When I was immersed in the work it became hard to trust others, particularly men. The world seemed a very dark place at times. I think I was probably overprotective of my children at times.

What was your coping mechanism dealing with such cases all these years?

Child protection work can take a heavy emotional toll. I used sports as a coping mechanism. I ran a kick boxing club for a time and played a lot of squash.

Did you ever get a chance to put an influential and well known criminal like Dr. Galbraith to put behind the bars?

I investigated and managed investigations relating to hundreds of sexual offences over the years, some high profile, and some less so.
Our County was the first in Britain to undertake a successful pedophile ring investigation with prosecutions and long prison sentences for six offenders. Anyone reading the book will see that investigating their cases is very much a team effort.

Did you ever let them get to you? How did you control that?

It’s essential to focus on the desired outcomes, effectively protecting the children involved and where possible, securing a conviction. You can’t let your antagonism towards the suspected perpetrator get in the way of that. Easier said than done.

What used to be your thoughts while taking statement from lil kids who had been abused? How did you get them to feel safe and open up to talk?

It’s a case of making clear that you take the allegations seriously and explaining the process in a language the child can understand. When it comes to the interview itself, open questions are essential. Potentially leading questions have to be avoided.

Were there cases where you really had to do a lot of work to get the authorities believe the kids?

When I first left the NSPCC to take up a role as Child Protection Co ordinator for West Wales in the mid 80s, many professionals were extremely reluctant to accept that a significant number of adults posed a significant risk to children. A programme of multi agency training played an important part in changing the situation for the better. Referrals significantly increased as awareness grew.

How long did a case took to wrap up? And for how long were they imprisoned?

Investigations can vary in time from a few days to many months. The ring investigation I mentioned was an extremely lengthy process. Anyone reading the book will gain some insight into the realities of the work.

About how many cases do you think must be going unreported? What steps did your team took to make sure they all get caught?

I realised at the time that the cases we were dealing with were the tip of a very large iceberg. Awareness has increased exponentially over the years and thankfully more sexual predators are being caught and prosecuted than was the case in the past. That said, there’s no room for complacently as many thousands of children around the world are in need of protection.

If one of the spouse is an abuser and the other one is not doing anything to stop it, were they punished too? Why do you think they did not stop them?

Each case is different. It’s essential to assess the particular dynamics involved when making decisions. This process involves the investigation itself followed by a multi agency case conference that agrees a child protection plan.This often includes a comprehensive risk assessment undertaken by child care social workers in consultation with other agencies. The conclusion of the assessment informs longer term decisions regarding safety. Again, anyone reading the book will gain some insight into this process.

What were your feelings on the day of the book release?

A mix of trepidation and excitement.

How long did it take for you to write this book and get it published?

A little over two years.

What can we do to aware more people about such dangers?

Child protection is very high profile in the UK at the moment. A number of well known celebrities have been successfully prosecuted and imprisoned for sexual offences against children. I think public awareness is at an all time high.

Did you ever deal with cases where the kids could be lying too? You know, just for attention or may be under someone’s pressure.

I only ever came across one case where allegations were shown to be untrue. Such cases are extremely rare in my experience. Even in the one case, I suspect the child was confused about the details rather than being deliberately misleading.

What programs are conducted for the kid to get stable, out of the trauma and be fearless again?

The availability and quality of therapeutic services varies greatly from place to place. This needs to change and be given higher priority.

Are you planning to write another book anytime soon? Any current projects?

I’m writing a follow up to “White is the coldest colour” at the moment.

It was your debut novel, that made into UK best seller list, are you satisfied with how the book was perceived?

The book entered the Amazon UK top 100 best seller list after just fifteen days and reached #1 in two categories. That’s more than I could have hoped for. I’m generally gratified by the response to the novel, although I’ve learnt very quickly that you can’t please everyone.

Do you think more such books should be written or be added to every parents to read list?

The book is primarily intended to be an entertaining psychological thriller but if people learn something useful along the way, I’m gratified by that.

What should be done if a child reports to you about any such incident?

If anyone suspects that a child is at risk they should refer their concerns to the social services, police or NSPCC.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I’ll leave that to those who are better qualified than I am.

Do you have anything specific to say to your readers?

Just to thank everyone who has read the book. I was wondering if anyone would.


White is the coldest colour by John Nicholl

whiteistheThe chilling, dark, psychological suspense thriller from ex-police officer and child protection social worker, John Nicholl.

Revised edition 12, June 2015.

BLURB: Be careful who you trust…

The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when 7 year old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage.
58 year old Dr. David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory pedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town house he shares with his wife and two young daughters.
Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies into reality.

About the novel: The novel is entirely fictional but draws on John Nicholl’s experiences as a police officer, child protection social worker, manager and trainer.
During his career the author dealt with many cases that left him incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims.

The story is set in 1992, when the world was still adjusting to the idea of seeing their little ones in a danger of this kind. Pedophile was a newly learnt term for some. We think our children will be their safest in the boundaries of their home and in the arms of their loved ones but in reality its a whole different picture. Most of the victims are abused by the hands of the ones closest to them. ( And yes, that includes their parents too) In the book, this idea will be reflected.

The book contains material some may find upsetting from the start.
It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

About the author:  John Nicholl wrote a multi-agency child protection good practice manual and articles for newspapers and a national social work magazine during his career, but White is the coldest colour is his debut novel.

He has worked as a police officer, and as a social worker and operational manager for the child guidance service, two social services departments, and the NSPCC. He has also lectured on child protection matters at several colleges and universities.

He lives in rural West Wales, has been happily married for many years, and has three adult children and one grandchild.

The novel entered the top 100 bestseller chart in just 15 days and reached # 1 in British 51eFvYhiuIL._SY300_Detectives.

Main Characters:  Anthony, a 7 year old boy who is torn between his mother and father’s divorce, still accepting the idea of not seeing his father at home is advised by his general practitioner to see a child psychiatrist.

Dr. David Galbraith, a renowned, respected and influential personality who has powerful contacts in the administration and society, is handed Anthony’s case. But Dr. Galbraith has a disturbing secret. He is also the head of the local pedophile ring. He has made many adolescent boys as his victims in the past. And now, is again on a hunt. Anthony fits his next potential victim requirements and he will not back down till he gets what he wants. He is a raging madman with an ego taller than the Everest.

He also has two daughters and a wife, Cynthia. He treats her like his subject of study of how to break a totally confident lawyer wife into a miserable, fearful, diffident, troubled mess. The tension and fear is palpable when they are in a scene together.
Molly Mailer, who is burdened under the worries of her family. And how to get her son, Anthony, back on track.
Review: Its a blood curdling, terrifying, heavy story with stunning character reveals, the dirty work in the society, eerie settings challenging our notions, trust and prejudices.
John takes his readers into the vile mind of a manipulative and heinous pedophile. Trust me, it feels like you are in a filthy mess, being attacked by a mentally sick mob, drowning in a bottomless pit of stink and fleas, you are flailing your limbs and trying hard to come out of it, begging for a big gulp of fresh air. You will wash yourself for a thousand times but that filth is just not going away.
But it is also important to go there at least once to know their thought process, how they work, what they think, how they plan, what they are capable of, how deceptive they can be and how controlling they are. It is a filth that needs to be stuck on your mind forever so whenever you sniff even a possibility of danger, your mind will give an instant response and recognize it.
In the society we are living today, these kinds of books with such a powerful, intense and insightful message should be read by all.
He also reflected on how such dealings and revelations affect the people who are working to solve such cases. The ones who are listening and recording the statements of the victims first hand (some of them are toddlers, for God’s sake), what impact does their disclosures have on their mind. No doubt some of them would need a drink (or drinks) to sleep with such horrendous revelations running in their minds.
We also get a bit familiarized to their working and course of action. How they get the little, innocent and scared victims to speak up. How they have to measure and weigh their words before speaking. (as many words can act as a trigger or may cause them to lose confidence) How they make sure to provide them a feeling of safety and an assurance to accept that it was not their fault.
Considering John Nicoll’s background, the plot seems very convincing, realistic and has depth to it. It seems like after years of dealing with such scenarios this book was kind of a let out for him. May be to understand these things better or to acquaint the readers with such realities of life. I am sure he saw more horrific cases then this one. I can only wonder (more like I don’t even want to wonder) how it would have been for him or people with similar jobs at the field.
It was a nail biting, gripping and moving plot. This book made me feel so many things. I was crying with Anthony when he missed his father, I was excited with Anthony when he thought that the psychiatrist will fix his family, I was scared with him when he faced the first lash of Dr. Galbraith’s vicious plan. I was suffering with him in his captivity.
I felt the pain of Molly when she saw her family splitting away, the infidelity of her husband, the worry of her son’s behavior and beloved daughter’s whereabouts.
I empathized with Cynthia and his other victims. Feared for their safety and prayed for their well being.
My thoughts resonated with the ones who wanted to give those pedophiles the worst punishment possible.
I learnt how a criminal justifies his despicable actions. How they are also constantly working on their plan and means to get what they desire. To what extent they can stoop. The air of control and fear they create to keep others at bay and under their influence.
When I first started reading it, I was taking time, fearing what will I find in the upcoming chapters. But instead of a subject like this, the story is told very gracefully without being graphic or voyeuristic.
How the story proceeds: The story starts with a glimpse of Dr. Galbraith’s handiwork and evil secret life. Continues to show how his mind is wired with all the strings which he knows well how to pull and how much to let them lose. It’s shown how he makes his two lives completely under control and hidden from the lot.
It continues to how the first victims speaks up, which leads to many new evidences and how all those disclosures gets tied to a single person.
The doctor starts anticipating and fantasizing about his new victim, Anthony, making plans for the next course of action. How to get things done with no interference from his mother.
Side by side, the police is leaving no stone unturned to catch the ring.
The story leads to a scene where the Doctor finally starts losing his grip, gets desperate to fulfill his fantasies. That is when the story comes to a climax where the least expected one drags him to the fate which he very much deserved, leaving you with full of hope.

To buy this book click here

An exclusive interview with John Nicholl, the author himself. Click here. 😀

Looking for Alaska by John Green

(**This post may contain some spoilers and not taking any credits for the pictures attached. 🙂 )

If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.





When I started reading this book, I was not expecting it at all to go like this. In the first half, I thought it is going to be another teenage romance novel and I, seriously, hated Alaska Young’s character 5631570_orig and Mile was pretty boring. The life at boarding school is written okay-ish. I mean it was pretty normal with all the nicknames to the fellow students, tease names/name calling for teachers, general student life and food issues at mess. I liked Eagle’s character though. May be because we can all relate to it as we all had one Eagle in our times. Loved Takumi’s rapping skills. They were a little silly but awesome. Although, I found his character a little low, not much to it. So, his character was not very interesting. Seemed like he was always third-wheeling or something. Lara was a girly girl. I loved her cuteness. Then, Colonel is the only lovable character among them. He was pretty cool, smart and normal. But the way John Green wanted to project him as the popular, don’t give a crap kinds, it did not come our very well. Basically, I hated the first half of the book.




EXCLUSIVE: Taylor Swift leaves a photoshoot in New York City





The second half! It leaves you with a whirlwind of emotions. It takes all the five stars from me. I can’t even fathom how John Green manages to put such emotions in words and make his readers feel so much. You feel empathetic towards the loss of someone so hateful and broken. Really! I don’t think anyone could put the loss and grief of losing someone so very accurately and well by putting the mere 26 alphabets together. And the self blaming part was very relatable and well written. The parts where they try to walk through the incident and get inside Alaska’s brain. Again and again just to get a closure or make sense of it. Or may be to keep remembering her, to keep a memory of her or just finding an excuse to talk about her. They tried to keep her alive by bring that night again and again as if by just taking about her & by solving the puzzle, they could change things and bring her back from the dead. May be it was their guilt or a way to keep her close or may be both. The struggle with loss & grief and the difficulty to keep the friendships after a group member is lost or dead is heart wrenching. How Alaska left so many unfinished things and unkempt promises reflects the point that the bubble of life can burst any second, any moment. We cannot fore see it and make safety plans. We don’t get time to finish things or say Goodbyes. It doesn’t even warn and let prepare ourselves to go for good. Things may happen when we least expect them to. We give no thought to death but keep planning for future. How nonchalant we are towards death and take life for granted.


The regret we keep for years of that one wrong deed. And keep rewinding our brains back to the very moment and think that how we could do things differently. Later, with all the reminiscence, how we wish for a real time machine. We actually think about death and what happens after it. We are too scared a specie to talk about death so openly, that we don’t give it a thought unless someone really close to us is dead. Or until someone’s death has affected us in some way. And then only we sometimes rack our brains mad thinking where do the person really go after being dead. Is it a place prettier than this one or is it a living hell? Or is it just a space made of plain darkness & nothingness? And how we get ready to deny the space of darkness & nothingness over a place called Hell, just to keep them alive if not in this but some other world.


I won’t lie this book really drifted me into depression for a while. And the paper, that Pudge wrote, in the end was very intelligently & thoughtfully written and adds more awesomeness to the book.

Like in the book, I truly believe that forgiveness is one way of getting out of the labyrinth but it is also the hardest thing to do. May be that is why, most of the world is stuck in the labyrinth and never gets out. 😦

I guess, I liked this book a little more than” The fault in our stars”. And looking forward to read more of John Green’s. 🙂

So, Lovers, if you have read this book or any other John Green book or may be anything related to this books.. please share your thoughts. Thank You! 😀