1.How did you get started writing
I have always wanted to become a writer, however I never got around to doing it. I suppose I was busy studying for my qualification in childcare and working. It wasn’t until I was having a conversation with a colleague and she told me that her partner has been writing a novel for eight years. So I thought I would just go for it. I went home that evening, opened my laptop and began typing up notes and ideas. I always thought that I wouldn’t get very far and for a while I classed it as a hobby. I am so glad it has gone further than that.
2. What drew you to crime fiction
I love to read crime fiction so I thought that the best thing to do is write what I love. However, I also love paranormal in books- James Herbert’s David Ash series particularly comes to mind. So I decided I would combine all of these genres and write a story that would reflect my interests and hopefully draw the reader into a world that brings together real life situations and the paranormal.
3. Which crime writers past or present have influenced your style of writing
I would definitely say that James Herbert is one of my
biggest inspirations. I love his books and he is a wonderful writer. Other writers that have inspired me and continue to inspire me are; Mandasue Heller, Kimberley Chambers, D. a Meyrick, Denise Mina… I could go on. I love the gritty crime from Mandasueand Kimberley’s books and D. a Meyrick’s book Whisky from Small Glasses was so well written and very descriptive, it almost showed me how a book should be written. No detail is too big or small for a book. Every character should have a story to tell, even if they have the smallest of parts.
4. What was the inspiration behind the storyline of Beyond Evidence
The inspiration behind Beyond Evidence came from my
interest in the paranormal. I love to watch films and read books where there are ghostly encounters so I decided that I would be best to write about that. My first idea for the book was to have the police ask for voluntary DNA samples to narrow down their search for a killer in the Glasgow area and my story just went on from there. I have had immense support from my friends and family and I am grateful for that because it pushed my determination forward. I have attended psychic meetings and observed readings and found that I could write from watching these people experience mediumship.
5. Did you find it hard to get publisher interest for Beyond Evidence
Yes and to this day I still struggle. I decided to self
publish Beyond Evidence as I continued to look for interest. I am in correspondence with an agent at the moment however absolutely nothing is set in stone. I think that self publishing is a fantastic platform for people like me to get started and get their work out there. I think it helps writers to build up an audience and a ‘portfolio’ for agents and publishers so that they can see that there is a market for the authors work.
6. Did you find the experience of writing your first novel an easy task or a quite daunting one
I wouldn’t say that it was an easy task however I wouldn’t say that it was daunting either. Somewhere in between perhaps. I found that as long as I had done my research then I could write a scene without any hiccups. They thing I did find daunting about the whole writing process was the editing part. However, it all comes with the territory and the book wouldn’t be where it is, if it wasn’t for the whole process
7. Why did you decide to set your books in Glasgow
Why not? I guessed the best place to set it would be in Glasgow, I know the area like the back of my hand and the city has some beautiful sights. I think that if a writer picks a subject to write about which is close to their hearts and interests then it’s best partnered with an area that they know about just as much. Glasgow has some great and not so great areas and I believe that readers from all over the country should know about it.
8. Do you think that with the amalgamation in April of the Scottish police force in to one organization could effect your books in the future
Absolutely, as a writer it is important to make your book believable and if there are changes in the world we live in that may affect my characters and their lives then these changes should be in the book. Even though crime fiction is indeed fiction, there has got to be an element of truth and fact within the stories.
9. What kind of research did you have to undertake for your books
I attended psychic meetings, watched a lot of Taggart and used Google. To be a writer these days, information is just a click away. Taggart has helped me a lot with the police work, especially with writing my next book.
10. Are the characters in your books based on any real life people
To be honest, no. I did not base any characters on real life people, however I see a lot of myself in Patrick. I am a believer of the spirit world however, I never push it on anyone and I would never take offense to anyone else’s views. In fact I have a friend who believes that there is an explanation for everything and think’s that psychics are all fakes. I respect her beliefs and she respects mine. She read the book and still enjoyed it.
11. Since you have started writing crime novels have any known authors given you any advice
Yes, Mandasue Heller has been fantastic with advice and has encouraged me to keep going with my writing and search for a publishing deal. She has been very kind. D. a Meyrick has been very helpful and I had the pleasure of meeting him recently where I offered a signed copy of my book to say thank you for all of his help.
12. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa
like I mentioned earlier, I see a lot of myself in Patrick McLaughlin, the psychic medium in the book. He is a very calm person who loves his work in the spiritualist church in his book. I am by no means psychic but I share his passion for the gift he has. He is quite family orientated, which I am too. Apart from that, I don’t see myself in any of the other characters.
13. Why did you decide to make a medium the principal character in your book
I don’t think it has been done before, so why not put
something new out there? It has had good response and because I believe in mediumship I thought I would try it. I did think it was important to include a sceptic too and I have had comments that the readers believed it to be a good balance. Without it, it would be like I was trying to push my beliefs on to my readers and that was not my aim at all, so I am glad I did it.
14. What do you see for the future of Patrick McLaughlin in your books
He will definitely make a return to future books. He has the potential to grow and develop as a character so I think that he will feature in at least one other book. In fact he is in my new novel, which I am still writing.
15. As a blossoming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share
Write, write, write. If it is what you want to do, the only thing stopping you is you. You have nothing to lose in trying it, so go for it. If you are a social networker, look for writing groups on Facebook and find other authors to share experience and advice with. I have found so many other new and not so new authors and everyone has been so fantastic. So, if you have that idea in your head, get it down on paper and start writing. If it’s meant to be, you’ll produce a book at the end. Don’t give up.
Information and prices about Beyond Evidence can be found here at Amazon