Am considering myself lucky all over again as I have been able to put questions to another of my all time favourite authors.
For anyone not familiar with Elizabeth’s books, she has written many excellent books one of which was her debut novel Into The Darkest Corner and this is the book that along with Perfect People by Peter James I recommend the most, and it won Amazon’s Book of the Year in 2011 and Amazon’s Rising Star Award for debut novels.
© Ryan Cox
I had a great time compiling my questions and the answers are brilliant. I hope you enjoy reading them.
Q & A’s
1) Into The Darkest Corner is on my all time favourite list and is the book that sparked my love for the genre and I believe it was based on your experiences as a police intelligence analyst. Did you find the work upsetting and difficult to deal with?
At times it was quite upsetting but this was offset by the work I was doing. I was part of a team who were making a difference. My colleagues dealt with much, much worse. I am full of admiration for those who pick up the pieces and try to make things better, in all of the emergency services.
I spent a lot of time at work reading domestic abuse crime reports, and it challenged my preconceptions of what domestic abuse is, and who the victims and perpetrators are. The truth is, abuse between partners and family members is happening all the time, all around us, in every social group. I wrote Into the Darkest Corner because I wanted to explore the suggestion that people sometimes make: why don’t you just leave? There are layers of reasons why people stay in abusive relationships, it’s never as straightforward as it might seem.
2) Prior to reading Revenge of the Tide, I always wanted to live life on the water, that is no longer the case however but is it a lifestyle that appeals to you?
I hope the book didn’t put you off! Yes, it certainly appeals to me – but I’m not an especially tidy person and I think you need to live quite a simple, uncluttered lifestyle to live in a tight space like a boat. Aside from the practicalities, I think there is a community spirit among boat-dwellers that doesn’t often exist in most towns and villages anymore.
3) Having now published many highly acclaimed books, Do you know consider yourself a “famous author”
I don’t think so. I’m still just writing books for fun, and if anyone else enjoys them that’s definitely a bonus.
4) You and Peter James are the authors that I recommend the most to people needing a quality read, but what author(s) work to you look forward to reading the most?
That’s a really tough question! I’m a massive fan of John Harvey, and he has a hefty backlist for you to work your way through, too – always a good thing. I love Alex Marwood’s books, too; they’re getting better and better. I’ve just read Lisa Cutts’ new book, Mercy Killing – due out in October. That’s a book everyone should read – it’s fantastic. If you want to know what a police investigation is really like, that will tell you.
5) Barbara Cartland has reportedly written over 700 books all successful and very well read. What are your thoughts on quality over quantity?
Now this is a very interesting question. The first drafts of all my books are created in November, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) during which the crucial factor is word count – quantity definitely, unapologetically over quality. What comes next – over the course of a year or more – is the editing process, where the quality becomes important. I don’t think I could write as prolifically as Barbara Cartland did, but we all approach the writing life differently and there is no way better than any other.
6) How do you keep track of your characters lives?
They reveal themselves to me when they’re ready – unfortunately it’s not something that can be forced. Some of them are longing to have their stories told, others – Colin in Human Remains, for example – want me to prove my worth as a writer before they will engage with me. In practical terms, when I’m editing a novel, I will plot events using Aeon Timeline, including things that don’t happen ‘on screen’, to ensure that people aren’t accidentally in two places at once and that things are consistent.
7) And lastly, What 4 fictional characters would you invite to a dinner party and why?
John Flory from Orwell’s Burmese Days; Lucy Honeychurch from A Room With A View; Hercule Poirot and Sandor Clegane from George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones books. I know it’s an eclectic mix. I have important questions to ask all of them; in the mean time I’m sure they’ll enjoy talking amongst themselves. My comment (Nice to see Poirot getting a mention)
Enormous thanks to Elizabeth for taking the time to do this Q and A, and also Emma for arranging the ARC for me (review be will posted for the pub date 6th October) it has made me one very happy fan and I wish her every success for the new book.