Blog Tour Q&A: Wrong Way Home by Isabelle Grey

Today, I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on the Blog Tour for Wrong Way Home by Isabelle Grey, published by Quercus. For the tour I have an interview with the author herself discussing her new novel, her writing process and what she’s writing next.

The Blurb:

A cold case leads DI Grace Fisher on the hunt for the most dangerous killer of her career – but after twenty-five years, can she really be sure she will get to the truth?

The same night a local hero saved two people from the burning Marineland resort in Southend, a young woman was raped and murdered minutes from the scene of the fire, the culmination of a series of brutal rapes in the town. The killer was never found.

Twenty-five years on, new DNA techniques have blown the cold case open. DI Grace Fisher relishes the prospect of finally catching the culprit, but when the evidence doesn’t point to one clear suspect, she must reconstruct the original investigation. Any suggestion that the Essex force was less than thorough at the time could alienate her colleagues and destroy her chances of reaching the truth.

Grace finds her investigation shadowed by a young true-crime podcaster backed by veteran crime reporter Ivo Sweatman. As pressure mounts she cannot afford to be distracted. She knows that a cold-blooded killer is slowly being backed into a corner, and a cornered predator is often the most dangerous of all…

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The Interview:

Welcome to the CKT blog, Isabelle.

To start off with, can you tell us a little bit about your novel, Wrong Way Home and what inspired the idea behind this investigation?

I became hooked on what it must be like for the police to go knocking on someone’s door after twenty-five years and say: you know why we’re here, don’t you? It’s an extraordinary moment for the detective and a life-changing event for the suspect who thinks he’s got away with his crimes, as well as for his family who might have no idea of who he really is. A lot can have happened in the intervening twenty-five years.

It occurred to me that this kind of story would also make a great true-crime podcast, so I introduced Freddie Craig, a young man desperate to break into crime reporting.

The whole book then slowly unfolded from there – with a fair bit of expert advice along the way.

Your novel features a cold case set twenty-five years ago. Did you find it difficult to research what the original investigation would have been like and insert this into a modern day investigation?

I’m old enough to remember how violence against women used to be handled. I remember, for example, Roger Graef’s hard-hitting 1982 TV documentary series Police which revealed how appallingly rape victims were treated, and also the shock of the first series of Prime Suspect, which showed the prejudice against a female officer in a senior role. A little later Jackie Malton, the DCI on whom Prime Suspect was based, became a friend, so I’ve learnt a great deal from her experience.

Plus, when DI Grace Fisher has to do the dogged police work that wasn’t done at the time, I loved showing how such painstaking door-to-door detail can pay off just as much as cutting-edge forensic science

DI Grace Fisher, your main protagonist, is not your stereotypical detective. For anyone who hasn’t read your novels, how would you describe Grace?

There are events in Grace’s past that make her root for the victim, to be sceptical about the powers-that-be, and, if necessary, to defy the official ‘line’ to get to the truth. Although she’d hate the idea of being some wounded ‘noir’ maverick, she nonetheless senses that she will always be a bit of an outsider. This makes her value the friends she has – even the loyal but disreputable tabloid crime reporter Ivo Sweatman. Grace has learnt not to care if she breaks the rules, but it’s not second nature – as it’s not for many women brought up to be ‘good’ girls.

Wrong Way Home is the fourth book in the DI Grace Fisher series. How do you manage to keep your series so fresh and exciting?

I suppose that fifteen years as a freelance journalist taught me to keep my antennae alive to what’s going on in the world and especially to shifts in attitude or understanding. Now I can’t help but let that awareness seep into what I’m writing, even unconsciously. Crime fiction has always been good at reflecting social shifts as they happen, and I also really admire TV series such as The Good Wife – now The Good Fight – that snatch hot new issues and feed them straight into drama. That’s exciting.

Can you tell us about your writing process; do you plot the story out first or just dive right in? Or a mixture of the two?

A mixture of the two. I have a good idea of what the set-up is and roughly where I’m going to take it, do enough research to open some unexpected  avenues, and then start writing. Sometimes I have to unpick and go back a bit before I can go forwards again, but it’s worth it.

What books would you recommend for the devoted crime reader?

I’ve recently read Don Winslow’s The Force, which was a real moral and emotional rollercoaster. He brings the reader right up close alongside his protagonist, New York Detective Sergeant Denny Malone, so you feel the full tragic power of his story. I also love going back to earlier classics, everything from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca to Dorothy B. Hughes In A Lonely Place.

And finally, are you working on anything at the moment? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it without giving too much away?

I’m taking a little break from Grace Fisher to return to psychological suspense, writing a novel about women, ambition and motherhood. It’s inspired by a kind of mash-up of all my favourite post-war ‘noir’ movies, and by the spirit of the great screen actresses of that era.

Big thanks to Isabelle for letting me pick her brains!

Thank you, Rachel!

Also big thanks to Anne Cater and Quercus for inviting me to be a part of this fab tour.

About the Author:

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Isabelle Grey is a television screenwriter whose credits include Jimmy McGovern’s BAFTA award-winning Accused: Tina’s Story as well as over thirty-five episodes of Midsomer MurdersCasualtyRosemary and ThymeThe Bill and Wycliffe. She has also written non-fiction and been a magazine editor and freelance journalist. Isabelle’s previous novels include two psychological thrillers, The Bad Mother and Out Of Sight as well as the first two books in the DI Grace Fisher series, Good Girls Don’t Die, Shot Through the Heart and The Special Girls. Isabelle grew up in Manchester and now lives in north London.

To find out more about Isabelle Grey follow her on twitter @IsabelleGrey.

Sound intrigued? If you haven’t read any of the series yet by Isabelle Grey I would highly recommend!

Wrong Way Home is the fourth in the DI Grace Fisher series and can be ordered from Amazon here.

As always don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this fabulous blog tour!

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Blog Tour Q&A: A Darker State by David Young

Today, I’m delighted to be hosting the next stop on the Blog Tour for A Darker State by David Young, published by Bonnier Zaffre Books. For the tour I have a fabulous interview with the main protagonist from the series, Karin Muller, who I’m sure everyone would like to know a bit more about – although I warn you it was very difficult to get much out of her…

The Blurb:

For the Stasi, it’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.

Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.

Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?

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Interview:

Location: East Berlin

Interviewer: Rachel Emms, (RE), Reporter.

Interviewee: Oberleutnant Karin Muller, (KM), Major of People’s Crimes.

RE: How did you feel coming back to work so soon, leaving behind your newborn twins? Especially leaving them in the care of your grandmother? How long have you known her?

KM: First let me say it is highly irregular for a reporter from the BRD or one of the fascist imperialist nations to be permitted to talk to an officer of the People’s Police. However, you have produced a signed authorisation. My deputy, Comrade Hauptmann Werner Tilsner is taking steps to check the authenticity of your documents at this very moment, and should we find any irregularities you will find yourself placed under arrest and detained here at our headquarters in Keibelstrasse, and the consular officials of your country will be informed. We will also be checking whether you crossed the Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier under false pretences.

I also have to warn you that I will not answer questions about any of our ongoing inquiries to you or indeed any reporters from the Republic either. This could jeopardise our investigations.

Your question about my children is a very personal one. However I am prepared to answer it this way. It is the duty of every woman and man in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik to play his or her part in working for the success of the workers’ and peasants’ state. Why should mothers be any different? All women should work for the good of the state and its workers be they mothers or not. It is true that my twins are currently being cared for by my grandmother, but the crèches, nurseries and preschool education in the Republic are some of the best in the world and I will have no hesitation in letting my children join the education system at the correct time. The day my son or daughter comes home singing the well-known song “I want to be a Volkspolizist” will be a very proud day for me.

The question about how long I have known my grandmother is a personal one that I am not prepared to answer. However, as the first female head of a murder squad there are a number of official publications that mention me that you could consult. VEB Buchveröffentlichkombinat Bonnier Zaffre have two titles I can recommend, Stasi Child and Stasi Wolf which have details of my career and life up to this point. Any details of current investigations that the People’s Police wish to release are – or soon will be – available in a document entitled A Darker State.

RE: I decide to try my luck, hey you only get one interview with Karin Muller. What do you think happened to that poor boy who drowned? I heard he was only young.

KM: As I explained in my first answer, I am not prepared to answer anything concerning People’s Police operations. You will have to consult the official documents. I recommend A Darker State.

RE: I try to push her again. I’ve heard whispers about Markus Schmidt disappearing, is it true? He’s your forensics guy’s son isn’t he?

KM: I am not prepared to answer anything concerning People’s Police operations.

RE: She really isn’t budging. I scratch my nose with the end of my pencil. Do you think it’s connected?

KM: I’m wondering if perhaps you have something wrong with your hearing, or your ability to understand German? I repeat, I am not prepared to answer anything concerning People’s Police operations.

RE: Do you trust everyone on your team? I’ve heard they have spies everywhere….

KM: You have been watching or reading too much counter-revolutionary propaganda, Ms Emms. Should you wish to re-educate yourself, I can recommend some of our more balanced current affairs television programmes such as Der schwarze Kanal. Every People’s Police officer swears an oath to, and I quote, “be loyal to my socialist fatherland, the German Democratic Republic and its government at all times, to keep official and state secrets, and to strictly obey laws and instructions”. I think that answers your question sufficiently well.

RE: I’m really not getting anywhere, and to be honest I’m starting to feel a little uneasy. What made you want to fight crime? Especially at this dangerous time?

KM: Once we have created the ideal socialist state, there will be no need for police force or any agency to suppress the proletarians. However, while there are still counter-revolutionaries trying to undermine that, I will, without reservation — under risk of my life — protect the socialist social, state and legal order, the socialist property, the personality, the rights and the personal property of the citizens against felonious attacks.

RE: Are you afraid of the Stasi?

KM: If you are referring to the Ministry for State Security, or MfS, then please give it its proper name. The goals of the MfS and the Volkspolizei are the same. The MfS is the sword and shield of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.

RE: I think it was a big mistake coming here. Don’t you ever feel like packing it all in? Leaving the Stasi to it? Everyone else does….

[Hauptmann Werner Tilsner re-enters the room with two guards and whispers in Müller’s ear]

KM: I’m afraid, Ms Emms, that your papers, as I suspected, have proved to be false. These officers will be handing you over to agents of the Ministry for State Security. I can assure you that they will not be as accommodating as myself. I hope you will enjoy your stay in our socialist republic. But I doubt you will find the prisons at Hohenschönhausen, Hoheneck or Bautzen as comfortable as your fascist imperialist hotels back home.

RE: Prison? I gasp.

Big thanks to David Young for answering my questions, on behalf of Karin Muller –  a formidable woman I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with, especially after locking me up in prison!

About the Author:

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David Young was born near Hull and, after dropping out of a Bristol University science degree, studied Humanities at Bristol Polytechnic. Temporary jobs cleaning ferry toilets and driving a butcher’s van were followed by a career in journalism on provincial newspapers, a London news agency, and international radio and TV newsrooms. He now writes in his garden shed and in a caravan on the Isle of Wight, and in his spare time supports Hull City AFC.

To find out more about David Young, follow him on twitter @djy_writer.

Sound intrigued? If you haven’t read any of the series yet by David Young I would highly recommend!

A Darker State is the third in the Karin Muller series and can be ordered from Amazon here.

Don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this fabulous blog tour!

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Blog Tour Q&A: The Feed by Nick Clark Windo

Today, I’m psyched to be on the next stop on the blog tour for The Feed by Nick Clark Windo, published by Headline. For my stop, I have a Q&A with the author, Nick, to find out a little more about his new novel, his writing process and his favourite thing since being published.

Blurb:

Tom and Kate’s daughter turns six tomorrow, and they have to tell her about sleep.
If you sleep unwatched, you could be Taken. If you are Taken, then watching won’t save you. Nothing saves you.  

Your knowledge. Your memories. Your dreams.
If all you are is on the Feed, what will you become when the Feed goes down?

For Tom and Kate, in the six years since the world collapsed, every day has been a fight for survival. And when their daughter, Bea, goes missing, they will question whether they can even trust each other anymore.

The threat is closer than they realise…

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Now over to Nick to find out some more about The Feed…

Welcome to the CKT blog, Nick

Thank you, Rachel, it’s lovely to be here!

To start off with, could you tell us about your new novel, The Feed?

With pleasure. It’s a dystopian thriller with two parents, Tom and Kate, at its heart. The Feed is an implant in the brain, which allows infinite information and immediate communication all at the speed of thought. It’s an amazing tool – until it goes down. At this point when things start to collapse rapidly, and it’s in that post-Collapse world that Kate and Tom’s daughter is abducted. Think you’d be in trouble if you lost your phone? Try doing anything without the Feed, let alone trying to find your abducted child!

The Feed has such an interesting concept, how did you come up with the idea for this?

Thank you, I’m really glad it’s resonating with people. It’s an idea that built up over time. Writers tend to observe the world quite closely, I think, and then imagine potential dramatic consequences. For me our relationship with technology feels ubiquitous these days: we use it without thinking about it any more, and it’s actually changing the physical make-up of our brains. I thought that was an interesting world to explore and quite a terrifying one. But of course a concept isn’t a story. You need humans there, with things happening to them as a consequence of the concept. And quite a lot happens to Tom and Kate.

Did you find it a challenge creating the world in which The Feed exists in? Or did you find it liberating to write about a post-apocalyptic future?

I found it very liberating. If you write a historical novel there’s some obligation to be true to what actually happened. Here it was a world that existed purely in my brain, so I could make my own rules. Obviously you need to have those rules when creating a world, otherwise the whole thing becomes a mess, but I really enjoyed that logical exercise – I read widely and borrowed/stole ideas from articles and magazines about how the future might look and set about building what I hope feels like a credible world. It’s not a world that I hope happens, of course, but one that I think is unfortunately credible at the moment. I don’t want to tub-thumb about anything, but there’s a lot of stuff investigated in The Feed that scares me.

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, do you plot your story out first or dive right in and see where it takes you? Or a mixture of both?

It’s different for the novels I’m writing currently – I’m plotting those quite heavily. For The Feed it was a mixture. I knew certain plot points and what used to be the last line of the book early on. Those moments acted like magnets in a way: I knew where the characters had to end up, and how they’d feel about it…then it was a trial and error process of taking them on that physical and emotional journey. Trial and error meant that there were over twenty drafts, but the plot is quite complex so that was entirely necessary…but that’s why I’m plotting the next books quite heavily now!

What books would you recommend for the devoted crime reader?

The book I’ve returned to recently is The Jigsaw Man. It’s not fiction, it’s written by a criminal psychologist about real criminals he’s tried to get into the minds of. It’s chilling and absolutely fascinating.

As a debut author, what has been your favourite thing about being published, so far?

Being published! My gosh, it’s very exciting. But the book deal was just the beginning. I’ve recently been so thrilled to become part of this huge, interconnected blogging world. Now, I’m not just saying this because I’m here: it really is an absolute delight to be welcomed into this world. There is so much love for books and support for authors. And for me that’s especially welcome because…well, have you read The Feed? It doesn’t portray social media in the most positive of lights, so it’s wonderful to have that balanced out by reality!

And finally, are you working on anything at the moment, if so could you tell us a little bit about it without giving too much away?

I am and…not yet! Oh go on, then. I’m working on a few things. One is set in a world very different from The Feed – actually, it’s the real world. But there are a lot of flavours that readers will recognise. Then there’s an idea for another dystopian thriller (different type of apocalypse though). And there might be something else cooking Feed-wise…

Thank you so much, Nick for taking the time to answer my questions.

An absolute pleasure, Rachel, thank you for having me.

About the Author:

Nick Clark Windo studied English Literature at Cambridge University and acting at RADA. As well as writing, he works as a film producer and communications coach. He lives in London with his wife and daughter. The Feed is his first novel.

To find out more about Nick Clark Windo follow him on twitter @nickhdclark.

The Feed is out on 25th January and can be ordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

As always don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this tour!

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Blog Tour: In The Dark by Andreas Pfluger

Today I’m on the blog tour for In The Dark by Andreas Pfluger, published by Head of Zeus. For the tour I have a Q&A with the author himself to talk about his new novel and all things writing. As always please check out all the other stops on this tour.

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The Blurb:

She lost her sight, but she can still see the truth… Jenny Aaron was once part of an elite police unit tracking Germany’s most dangerous criminals. She was the best. Until it all went wrong. A disastrous mission saw her abandon a wounded colleague and then lose her sight forever. Now, five years later, she has learnt to navigate a darkened world. But she’s still haunted by her betrayal. Why did she run? Then she receives a call from the unit. They need her back. A prison psychologist has been brutally murdered. And the killer will only speak to one person…

Welcome to the CKT blog, Andreas

To start off with, could you tell us about your new novel In The Dark?

It’s about Jenny Aaron. She is a very skilled lady – physical and intellectual – and belongs to a German special police unit called “the Department”, where she is the only woman under forty men. The story starts in Barcelona, where Aaron loses her eyesight in a shooting. She fight  back to life and five years later she comes to Berlin for the first time after going  blind. A prisoner is accused of having killed a woman in jail. And he only wants to talk to one person: Jenny Aaron.

Your main protagonist has lost her sight but still needs to track down a serial killer. Did you find it easy to write from her point of view or did you find this a challenge?

The main story isn’t about the hunt for a serial killer. This man is only the reason why she is returning to Berlin. IN THE DARK is about another duel: between Aaron and the men who shot that bullet into her head – her nemeses.

No, it was not easy to create a book like this. It was the biggest challenge of my artistic life. To write a novel from the point of view of a blind person means the same as if asking somebody who is blind by birth to write a book from the point of view of a seeing person. I didn’t know that when I started but I had to learn it.

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Your novel has such an interesting concept, especially with your main character. How did you come up with the idea for your new novel?

I was reading a biography of Jacques Lusseyran, a French philosopher who went blind by the age of nine in 1930. When the Nazis occupied France he became the head of a resistance cell in Paris. He talked to every new candidate for the cell in confidence. It was risky because they never knew if some Nazi agent was among them. But Lusseyran’s people had great trust in him and said: “Let’s wait till the blind man has seen him. This was the big bang of my novel: A blind police woman who was able to distinguish the truth from the lie in a way only a blind person could.

How did you get into writing, both as a scriptwriter and as a published author? Have you always wanted to write?

I wanted to become a writer as long as I can remember. When I was eight I wrote little stories and sold them to my family for half a Deutschmark. You see I always had a strong feeling for the economic side of the business. And I never saw myself a screenwriter. I am a storyteller, it doesn’t matter if it’s a film or a novel.

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, do you plot your story out first or dive right in and see where it takes you? Do you have a different writing process for your novel writing compared to your scriptwriting?

When I write for film I always develop a plan, a kind of a roadmap, a treatment with a beginning, a middle and an end. A screenplay has a lot to do with mathematics. You have to follow rules. Nobody has invented it anew in the last eighty years. While writing a novel you are much more free in your storytelling. Not even because you don’t have to think about a budget, but mainly because you make up your rules yourselves. I start with a very vague idea and let my figures tell their stories. More or less I’m only their chronographer. All the time I get surprised by them. Sometimes they do things that I don’t understand or do not approve. But it’s their lives not mine.

Are you working on anything at the moment, if so could you tell us a little bit about it without giving too much away?

The books about Jenny Aaron are a trilogy. The second part came out in Germany in the beginning of October. It takes place in Sweden, Berlin, Rome, Marrakesh and Avignon and, like IN THE DARK, is a story about revenge. At the end of the year I’ll start to write the third book with my blind heroine. To be true – I still don’t know what will happen. But as I said: That’s the way I write novels. It’s always an adventure and a journey in an unknown land.

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And finally, just for fun, if you could have a dinner party for three select guests, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Raymond Chandler, my favourite crime writer.

Sengo Muramasa, the best Japanese swordsmith (because Jenny Aaron follows the Bushido, the codex of the samurai.)

Winston Churchill, the politician I most admire.

Thank you so much, Andreas for taking the time to answer my questions for my blog.

About the Author: Andreas Pflüger is a German screenwriter and author. He has written a number of episodes of the hugely popular German police procedural Tatort. In the Dark is published in eight languages.

Blog Tour: Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

Today, I’m delighted to host the next stop on the Anything You Do Say blog tour, written by Gillian McAllister and published by Penguin Random House Publishers. As part of the tour I have a fab Q&A with the author herself.

First up is the blurb:

Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.

But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor. 

Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?

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Welcome to the CKT blog, Gillian.

To start off with, could you tell us about your new novel Anything You Do Say?

Of course. Anything You Do Say is about a woman, Joanna, who receives some unwanted attention in a bar late one night. She leaves, and is sure the man has followed her. As he comes towards her, she lashes out, pushing him down a flight of concrete steps. He lies motionless at the bottom. At this point, two things happen: 1. She realises it wasn’t him 2. The narrative splits, Sliding Doors style, into two strands. In Reveal, Joanna calls 999, confesses, and is charged. In Conceal, she leaves the scene and goes on the run.

How did you come up with the idea for it? It is such a brilliant concept, I’m sure we all wish we thought of it!

Thank you – that’s very kind! I had been toying with the idea of writing a Sliding Doors style novel for months, but I wanted to do something original with it. I am a crime writer, so, one night, as I was taking the bins out (glamorous, I know), I thought: I wonder what a crime slant on Sliding Doors would look like?  And then, that night, I woke at 2.29am and thought: the decision over whether to hand yourself in. That’s honestly how it was born. Strange, I know.

You chose to tell the narrative from two different parallel stories, based on different decisions your main protagonist chooses. Which one did you enjoy writing the most?

I think I preferred writing Reveal, where Joanna hands herself in. It is the more ‘legal’ storyline and the structure of the justice system is a helpful plotting device: there’s police custody, a bail hearing, and then evidence gathering, witness interviewing, and a trial.

I found Conceal much harder. Partly because it was about unintended consequences of actions – which could go anywhere – and partly because it was hard to create tension: what Joanna was most afraid of (being found out) was already happening in Reveal. I re-wrote the Conceal strand three times as a result. Eventually, it came to me: she had to make it much, much worse for herself.

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, do you plot the story out first or dive right in and see where it takes you? Or a mixture of the two?

I’m a big plotter. I don’t think I could write psychological thrillers without plotting. I open Microsoft excel, split it into forty boxes, and gradually fill them in, which takes weeks. Inevitably, I stray from it, re-write it, re-work parts of it, but I couldn’t be without my trusty outline: it stays open on my computer for the entire year I am writing the book.

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You also created a regular podcast with Holly Seddon, called The Honest Author’s Podcast (which I love). What was the idea behind this and how did it come about?

What an interesting question! We do have a podcast. We met for the first time at the Killer Women festival in London and became firm friends. I floated the idea of wanting to start a podcast and Holly replied enthusiastically. We decided to give it a go. We had heard of lots of podcasts about writing in general and getting agents but we didn’t know so many about what it’s actually like to be an author. It’s almost a year on and still going strong. Plus, she’s become one of my best friends, and I get to chat to her for a few hours every other week – we just so happen to record it!

 What books would you recommend for the devoted crime reader?

  • You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
  • Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
  • The Second Sister by Claire Kendal
  • Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon. What these novels have in common is a crime heart surrounded by really brilliant characters – they’re all so authentic.

Are you working on anything at the moment? If socan you tell us a little bit about it without giving too much away?

I have just finished my third novel, No Further Questions. It’s about a woman who looks after her sister’s eight-week old for the night. The next morning, she discovers the baby has died in her care. The circumstances look suspicious, and she’s charged with manslaughter.

Oh my – sounds so interesting, I’ll be looking out for that one! And finally, do you know which decision you would’ve gone for? Would you have run or would you have told?

Oh, definitely, absolutely Reveal. I’m a lawyer!

Thank you Gillian for letting me grill you, it’s been a lot of fun!

Anything You Do Say isn’t quite out yet, but with the ebook out on 19th October 2017 and the Paperback out 25th January 2018, you can preorder it here.

To find out more about Gillian McAllister follow her on Twitter at @GillianMAuthor.

Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on the tour

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Blog Tour – Good Friday by Lynda La Plante

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the next stop on Lynda La Plante’s Good Friday blog tour which is published by Bonnier Zaffre Books. As part of the tour I have an interview with the author herself (which I was so excited about). As always don’t forget to check out the other great stops on this tour.

First up the blurb for Good Friday:

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BEFORE PRIME SUSPECT THERE WAS TENNISON.

Every legend has a beginning . . . 

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not. 

Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation. 

‘Good Friday’ is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire detective force?

Now for the interview with LYNDA LA PLANTE

Welcome to the CKT Blog, Lynda I’m so pleased you have kindly agreed to answer some questions for my blog.

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To start off with, could you tell us a little bit about your new novel Good Friday and how you came up with the idea for it?

This is the third novel in the Tennison series where I’ve taken Jane Tennison back to her early career. The first book ‘Tennison’ was set in 1973 so after ‘Hidden Killers’, the date time line for ‘Good Friday’ was the year after the Belcombe Street siege, so I wanted to incorporate what was then happening in London.

Good Friday is the third novel which explores Jane Tennison’s early years. Did you find it easy to delve into Jane’s past and write from an earlier point in her career? Did you find any of this a challenge?

To begin with I found it quite constricting to realise that there were no mobile phones, no DNA, but then I started to enjoy using the problems – especially the DNA. We have come to expect such fast results and to realise that computers were only just being introduced was another interesting level to work from. So no data finger printing; fingers prints were matched by eye and magnifying glass!

Good Friday is set during the 1970s when the IRA bombings were becoming a regular occurrence in London. As this is a period of time which was within our lifetime, did you do a lot of research for this? And if so, did you find anything you didn’t know about or new and fascinating about this period which you had to include in your novel?

I was a student at this time and so I was very aware of the bombings but I found it odd that I had no clear memory of ever being fearful. I had to do a lot of research into the bomb disposal sections and I found it fascinating and my respect for the Bomb disposal squad has deepened. There is so much scientific expertise now with drones etc – back then it was down to steely nerves and training.

What books would you recommend for the devoted crime reader?

Please read Patricia Cornwall’ s brilliant research and detail in the hunt for Jack the Ripper.

And finally, just for fun, if you could have a dinner party for three select guests, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Marlon Brando because I was such a fan of his. I would also ask if Napoleon was available, simply because he holds such fascination. There is a silent movie about him from the 1920s that is five hours long and every minute is stunning and Abel Ganse a brilliant director. Lastly, I would like Greta Garbo to join us as she is such an iconic beauty. With the other two guests I doubt she would get a word in edgewise, but I would just like to see her in the flesh.

A huge thanks again to Lynda for answering my questions.

Good Friday by Lynda La Plante is out now – published by Bonnier Zaffre price £18.99 hardback

Good Friday can be purchased via Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

To find out more about Lynda La Plante follow her on Twitter at @LaPlanteLynda.

 

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*Blog Tour* Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

Today, I’m thrilled to be hosting the next stop on the Sweet Little Lies blog tour, penned by Caz Frear and published by Bonnier Zaffre Books. As part of the tour I have a fab interview with the author. As always, don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this tour.

Welcome to the CKT blog, Caz. To start off with, can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel, Sweet Little Lies?

Of course!  Sweet Little Lies tells the story of DC Cat Kinsella, a young detective with the Met, who starts to believe that her father may be involved in the murder she’s investigating to and the disappearance of an Irish teenager in 1998.  It’s very much a police procedural at heart, however it has strong domestic/family noir overtones as Cat struggles to balance her professional responsibilities and her personal allegiances.

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How did you get into writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Like most authors, I’ve been writing my whole life, on and off.  And yes, I always wanted to be a writer, even if I forgot for a few years in my mid-late-twenties when boys, boozing and going out kind of took over J  Things really started to come together though when I was selected to join the Curtis Brown Creative course a few years ago.  This was a huge personal challenge but also a privilege to work alongside other aspiring writers and learn from industry-leading experts.  I finished the course in 2015 with the seeds of Sweet Little Lies sown (although it has changed quite a bit since then) and in 2016, I became aware of the Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller competition.  The rest, as they say, is history….

 You have a killer premise, how did you come up with the idea for Sweet Little Lies and how long did it take you to write?

The honest answer is I don’t know, or can’t remember, how exactly I came up with the idea for Sweet Little Lies.  I always had an image of a young Irish woman travelling to the UK for an abortion and something happening to her, and I also knew I wanted to explore a toxic dad-and-daughter relationship as I think it’s a fascinating dynamic and not as represented in fiction as mothers-and-daughters.  Added to that, I’d always always wanted to write a police procedural (even though I wasn’t sure if I was qualified to!)  so the three things eventually collided, really, and after a lot of false starts, Sweet Little Lies just came to be!

All in all, Sweet Little Lies probably took just under two years to write but that’s taking it right from initial conception until that glorious moment when I tapped The End, and there were certainly periods during that time where life took over and I didn’t write as much. Having the deadline for the R&J competition was a godsend though, as I’d probably only written 30,000 good words by the end of 2015 (plenty of bad words!) but then in 2016 the remaining 80,000 were written in a 7 month deadline frenzy!

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, did you plot the story out first or dive right in and see where it takes you? Or a mixture of the two?

I secretly wish that I could just dive right in and see where I end up but I’m a really plotter.  Sweet Little Lies and Book 2 spent their early lives on an Excel spreadsheet rather than a Word document, and I refer back to it all the way through – it helps me track who’s in which scene, whether the red herrings are evenly paced, whether there’s too much ‘personal’ stuff and not enough procedural etc.  Having been through the Excel stage with Book 2, it now currently exists as a 12,000 word novella – basically I’ve written it in incredibly messy form, I’ve got the gist of everything down and now I need to go back and tell the story properly.  I should add, I don’t always stick to the plan, there were a few twists and turns in Sweet Little Lies that actually surprised me, but I need a detailed plan to work from, at least.  I find it hard to get going if I can’t see where I’ll end up.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everyone and everywhere!  Characters are usually an amalgamation of several people I’ve crossed paths with.  Just overhearing a conversation on a bus can inspire a whole new piece of dialogue.  I think ‘inspiration’ is a slightly mystical term as usually there isn’t one image or anecdote that literally inspires the writing of a 100,000 word novel.  You just start with a character and a dilemma and get writing (or in my case, get plotting!).  Just writing, even badly, fuels inspiration, rather than the other way around.  If you wait for the killer idea or the killer hook to hit, you could be waiting a very long time!

Your book is set in London and Ireland and features a detective. How much research did you do for Sweet Little Lies?

In terms of locations, I know London extremely well as I lived there for fourteen years and I know the west coast of Ireland as well as any regular tourist as my parents both hail from there.  Mulderrin is a fictional town though.  As Ireland only features in very short chapters, I was conscious that I wouldn’t do justice to the beauty of the real towns I know across County Galway and County Mayo and therefore I made a deliberate decision to keep the Irish location pretty vague.

I did a lot of research for the procedural element of the novel.  A hell of a lot!  While I don’t doubt there’s still a few holes and inaccuracies, it was really important for me to get this bit as right as I could.  I’m a huge Lynda La Plante fan and I’m in awe of how authentic her books feel and so I strive towards this, at least.  Luckily in the course of writing the novel, I met the most patient and generous police officer who didn’t mind me fact-checking and putting scenarios to him on a daily basis!  And obviously these days, Google can be your guide – there isn’t a lot you can’t find out online (although I still think you can’t beat actually speaking to someone in the know.)Caz Frear

What would you say are your top five books you would recommend? (I know this is a hard one)

Very hard!  I’ve written a few times about my favourite crime novels but personal favourites are obviously very subjective so instead I’ll try to think of the top five books that I recommend to literally everyone – the crowd-pleasers.

  • The Shock of the Fall, Nathan Filer’s novel about mental health tells the story of Matt and the guilt he feels over his younger brother’s death when they were younger.  Sounds depressing, right?  It isn’t.  It’s funny, sharp and made me laugh out loud and cry like a baby.  Such clean, unaffected writing too.  I force everyone to read it!
  • What Was Lost, Catherine O Flynn tells the story of Kate Meaney, a 10 year old girl who went missing from a shopping centre in 1984, and the people who try to find out what happened years later.  Again this is a bittersweet tale – a really sad story that still manages to make you laugh and feel warm inside.  In Kate Meaney, O Flynn nails a precocious but also desperately lonely 10 year old.  She’s one of the strongest child narrators I’ve read.
  • Rachel’s Holiday, Marian Keyes had well and truly hit her stride by this 1997 cracker!  Rachel’s holiday is actually a stay in a Betty Ford-style rehab centre and while she’s initially pleased, thinking it’ll be a hotbed of celebrities and relaxing massages, what she finds is something quite different.  This novel is peak Marian Keyes in terms of combining fierce wit and warmth with a serious subject matter – addiction.
  • The Burning Air, Erin Kelly crafts the perfect psychological thriller – atmospheric, taut, beautifully plotted and with a mid-point twist that makes your jaw drop.
  • Lying in Wait, Liz Nugent is a recent addition to the ‘authors I rave about’ list.  Her first novel, ‘Unravelling Oliver’ was good but Lying in Wait is something else.  And what an opening line –My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle but the lying tramp deserved it.’  So deliciously sinister – I absolutely love it.

Just for fun, if you could have a dinner party with three guests (dead or alive) who would they be?

Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac – I just think she’s the coolest woman that’s ever lived – I even named my novel after a Fleetwood Mac song!  Actually that’s a lie, my editor came up with the title but I like to think it’s serendipity…

Arsene Wenger – Because I’m a massive Arsenal fan and I’ve got several bones to pick with him.  At least around the dinner table, we could keep it civilised.

Victoria Wood – She was an absolute genius and makes me cry laughing every time.  I love how she always gave the best lines to other people and she could be known to spend days on one joke, trying to make sure it was as sharp as it could be.  I adore that level of perfectionism.  I actually have a quote from her as my screensaver, it reminds me that even writing geniuses struggle like the rest of us…

I used to find writing scary but now I’ve got used to it once it gets going. I used to find it hard to start. Fear of the blank page. The first thing you write down won’t bear any relation to what’s in your head and that’s always disappointing.”

Are you working on anything at the moment? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes – work has definitely started on Book 2!  Cat and MIT4 will be back for more fun and games and Cat’s family will still feature.  It’s a completely new story and one that Cat isn’t personally attached to this time (don’t want her becoming a Jessica Fletcher type, even though I’m a big fan J)  However the events of Sweet Little Lies will still cast a shadow over Cat’s life (and potentially her career *she added cryptically)

Finally, what is the rest of 2017 looking like for you?

Busy!  I’m doing lots of promotional stuff for Sweet Little Lies but then I need to roll my sleeves up and properly crack on with Book 2!  As I mentioned, I have the most detailed synopsis for Book 2, and I’ve started to have fun with key scenes and key characters, but what I really need to do is stop plotting and playing and just start getting the story in down in a linear way.  I’m sure my editor agrees J

Big thanks, Caz for answering my questions!

Thanks so much for asking them!

Sweet Little Lies is out now and can be purchased on Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

To find out more about Caz Frear follow her on Twitter at @CazziF.

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