Today, I’m super pleased to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland, who also writes under her name Steph Broadribb and blogs as Crime Thriller Girl. My Little Eye is published by Trapeze and is the first in the Starke and Bell series.
For my stop I have managed to interview Clementine Starke, one of the main protagonist from the novel – and I can tell you she wasn’t very easy to pin down.
But before the interview, here’s the blurb for My Little Eye:
KISS THE GIRLS
A young woman is found dead in her bedroom surrounded by rose petals – the latest victim of ‘The Lover’. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out.
AND MAKE THEM DIE…
As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in their own hands – to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group.
As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they’re being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim – Clementine – firmly in his sights.
Over to the Interview:
Interviewer: Rachel Emms, (RE), Reporter for CKT
Interviewee: Clementine Starke, (CS), PHD Researcher
RE: Thanks for meeting with me Clementine, I really appreciate it. Clementine just nodded her head. Might as well just dive in then. What made you want to study online true crime fanatic groups?
CS: The conversations in true crime groups are a lot more interesting than looking at feed full of users posting pictures of their dinner. True crime addicts have such purpose and drive. And anyway, people are fascinating, aren’t they, the way they behave? They give away so much of themselves online, and yet many of them do not even realise what they’re doing. I see it, though. And I see the cracks in the personas they create too. Online you can be anyone you want to be. There’s something liberating about that, something that makes people feel like they are safe to experiment. Or at least a lot of people think that they are safe.
RE: Interesting. You’re part of one aren’t you? Don’t you think you are taking your research a step too far?
CS: I have joined a true crime forum, yes. But going too far – no, I don’t think so – after all, how far is too far? I’m an action researcher not a scientist in a lab coat. I participate alongside my subjects for a deeper immersive experience. The data is richer this way, and my learning from the subjects is fast-tracked. Potentially what I’m doing will be ground breaking.
RE: What types of things have you got up to while you’ve been in the group?
CS: She gives me a hard stare before answering. I’m not at liberty to talk about our investigation in detail. What I can tell you is that we study crime cases, some active and some cold. We investigate them, and we’re very good.
RE: I’d better change tact. Do you think then that the Met are limited in their resources and there should be more online crime fanatics going around solving the case for them? Surely all these people would get in the way?
CS: Well, obviously I’m going to say that I think the idea has potential. Certainly not all groups of true crime fans are like mine. Each of us has a very specific set of skills that we bring to the group which lets us know more facts than the average member of the public, and gets us access to information usually only seen by the police and the medical examiner. Just to be clear, though, I’m not admitting to breaking the law. All I will say is that we bend the law just about as far as it goes.
RE: I lean forward. Since getting to know this group have you changed your opinion about the police?
CS: Why would I? What have you heard? I don’t like what you’re insinuating.
RE: Dead end. I’ll ask about the killer instead, might find out something juicy. Doesn’t it scare you knowing The Lover is still out there, preying on young women? You’re very brave putting yourself out there to try and catch him or her
CS: It’s not a question of being brave. It’s a question of getting a killer off the street. He needs to be caught, and the police aren’t doing it are they? So we had to step in. I’m confident that we will beat the police at their own game. We’re getting closer.
RE: Can you shed any light on anything you’ve found out from the true crime group that the police have refused to tell the public? Surely some of them have contacts and have found something? I only have the public’s best interests at heart.
CS: I’m sure the police have their reasons for keeping some details secret, and I’m hardly likely to just come out and tell you all that I know, am I? For all I know you could be part of a true crime group as well, you might think you’re some kind of serious rival to True Crime London.
She gives me a serious expression.
CS: Just so you know, you’re not.
RE: Time to push one final time. I don’t think I’m getting anywhere, she definitely keeps her cards close to her chest. Do you have any idea who the murderer is? Surely one of these crime fanatics know? Or maybe it’s one of them?
CS: We have a hypothesis and a number of leads that we’re following. We work as a group, a team, and we pool our information in a special online area set up by our leader, Death Stalker, to serve the collective good. Most of the time, anyway. Just as long as there isn’t any rivalry getting in the way.
RE: With that Clementine checks the time on her phone, stands up and walks off before I can even draw another breath. Guess that’s the end of that interview, but at least I got a name – Death Stalker.
A massive thank you to Stephanie for answering my questions for Clementine – an amazing protagonist!
About the Author:
Stephanie Marland has worked in the University sector for over ten years and published research on how people interact and learn together in virtual environments online. She’s an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and an avid reader of all things crime fiction, blogging about books at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com. Steph also writes the Lori Anderson action thriller series (Deep Down Dead and Deep Blue Trouble) as Steph Broadribb.
To find out more about Stephanie Marland, follow her on twitter @crimethrillgirl.
Don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous stops on this blog tour!