The Spring Thriller Blog Tour 2013 – The Interview
Q. How long have you been writing and what life skills do you bring to your work?
A. I’ve been writing and getting published since the age of five. At first it was poems, then poems and articles for children magazines, followed by my own regular slot on the radio and a youth magazine, and a regular column in a weekly paper when I was still at high school. I wrote theatre and literary reviews for the Student Magazine in my student years. I also had a drama produced by a national radio station.
What skills? Well, for a start, I’m observant. I prefer watching to taking part. I don’t believe in Good and Evil as discrete entities in their own right, which makes me, in general terms, non-judgemental. I’m a great believer in Terentius’ “Homo sum humani a me nihil alienum puto”, meaning “I am a human being; nothing human is strange to me.” My life experiences are varied. I’ve travelled extensively and not just as a tourist, which means that I’ve seen first hand the slimy and often tragic underbelly of many different societies and social circles.
Q. Do you research content for your work and if so where from?
A. My books are set in the real world and therefore research is essential. While I was in full time work, I had the opportunity to learn a great deal about the life and struggles of the less privileged, politics, policies, market forces and human nature. After my early retirement, I’ve been working as an interpreter and translator and that keeps me informed about all sectors of society – public, voluntary and private, as well as commerce, technology and humanities. Particularly relevant is my work with the police, prisons and the courts. That’s a great source of information about systems, procedures, legislation and the way they all work in practice. That also means that if I don’t know something from my own experience, I know where to find it and who to ask.
Q. Tell us about one of your previous publications.
A. I’ve written and published two books in the Simon Grant Mysteries series, Hiding the Elephant and the sequel, Lock Up Your Daughters. They are both murder mysteries/police procedurals. Set in rural Northamptonshire where I used to live, they’re as much about anatomy of crime, human nature and relationships as about ‘whodunit’. I particularly like to explore the ‘why dunit’ side of the subject. Both books are written from two entirely different points of view, something I feel adds depth of perception and enriches the content.
Q. What are you currently writing?
A. I’m working mostly on the third book in the Simon Grant Mysteries series, For the Love of Honey. Like its two predecessors, it’s also written from two opposite points of view. Furthermore, the second POV character’s input is extended by other means. The format isn’t entirely new, Andre Guide and Aldous Huxley have used it before me, but I hope that I have found a fresh way of presenting it. I’m also working on a mainstream/historical, Klara and Her Dragons, a long term project, set in Europe between 1913 and 1975. It follows the fortunes of a woman less than favoured by either nature, birth or social background and her progress through those turbulent times.
Q. What is so special to you about the ‘thriller/mystery/suspense’ genre?
A. Absolutely everything! It offers the ‘grey cells’ challenge, the devil of the detail, the social and legal setup, and heaps and heaps of human nature and frailties. It’s delightful to both write and read.
Q. How do you spend your leisure time?
A. I love my garden, my family and friends, reading, socialising, travel (subject to health restrictions), good food, and healthy, passionate debates.
Q. What is the most thrilling thing that has ever happened to you?
A. OMG! So many things. Coming face to face with a wounded buffalo in the Zambian bush. Finding a way out of Angola in the middle of the night during a tense situation there. Flying through an electric storm over Java. Seeing a pride of lions in their natural habitat for the first time and watching them for an hour from just a few yards away sitting in an ordinary passenger car, or chatting to friends under a fruit tree while a fully grown, male wild elephant is feeding from it. Rearranging a date, originally planned in Rome on my way back home from Libya and his return to the UK from Egypt, with my then boyfriend, later husband, on the very night when Libya broke off all links with Egypt and having to pass the details of the new place and time plus terms of endearment via two embassies and a helpful manager of the Cirque du Soleil show.
And, of course all the family births, deaths, marriages, graduations and other vagaries of that nature.
Q. Can you provide links to your work?
A. I’ll do my best.
My Amazon UK book page: http://tinyurl.com/clvrwmq
My Amazon US book page: http://tinyurl.com/b2qcgcs
My Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/bhchtg5