Caro Ramsay is a Scottish writer of crime fiction. Her first four novels are police procedurals, set in Glasgow, featuring DI Colin Anderson and DS Freddie Costello. Caro was born in Govan, on Glasgow’s south side. A graduate of the British School of Osteopathy, she runs a large osteopath centre in West Scotland, treating animals and humans, and writes in her spare time.
Her first novel Absolution was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger 2008 and her second Singing to the Dead was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2010. The third in the series, Dark Water, was published on 4 August 2010, and the fourth book The Blood Of Crows was published on 30 August 2012. Critic Cathi Unsworth in The Guardian opined that Ramsay’s series “excels in sense of place, realism, plotting and caustic humour”, describing it as “Bleak, black and brilliant”. Ramsay was the subject of a 2007 BBC documentary film and appeared on STV show The Hour in 2010.
1. How did you get started writing
Lying down with a Papermate pen and a clipboard. I had hurt my back and was immobile in hospital for months on end, so I starting writing. If I hadn’t written about committing murder I would have been committing murder.
2. What drew you to write a crime novel
See answer above! And crime is the only thing I have ever read, so either I am a psychopath or I just have an evil mind. Even when I was wee I wrote about the teddy bears picnic – the teds turned on the children and ate them all.
3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing
Don’t know of anybody influences my style, I can only write with my own voice. But on a broader level… Ian Rankin, Agatha Christie, PD James, Reginald Hill. The only thing I don’t really read is American hard boiled stuff.
4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest
I was signed by Jane Gregory immediately.(She looks after Mo Hayder, Minette Walters, Val McDermid etc). Every thing I‘ve ever written has been published. I am a one trick pony, but it’s a popular wee pony.
5. What was the inspiration behind doing the Killer CookbookInterviewing the marvellous Anders Roslund Swedish author, writes with Borge Helstrom. Anders shared an office with Steig Larsson. He has just sold his rights to Hollywood for numpty millions of dollars. His detective Ewert Grens eats one cinnamon bagel in three books. (I mean a third of a bagel per book). Sue Black (forensic anthropologist) was doing a fundraiser that night – we got chatting…. And the rest is history…
6. There are many interesting characters in your Novels, do you have a particular favourite one.
The killers are always the interesting ones. People like Costello as she is the way many of us would like to be; rebellious. But we are all well behaved Andersons really.
7. Why did you choose to set your novels in Glasgow.
I’m Glaswegian! But I am from Govan but set the books in the west end as anybody can walk about the west end and have a reason to be there. It’s worse than Midsummer now! Dead bodies on every corner.
8. With the amalgamation of the Scottish Police Force last year, how has it changed your Novels.
Not much, I know a lot of cops – they are underfunded and confused most of the time. Nothing much has changed there….
9. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your Novels, I have cut up dead bodies in my training. I have a forensic qualification. I don’t ‘need’ to do my day job but I think I would go mad if I didn’t. Patients are always telling me stuff I can put in books. I am blessed that my research comes to me!
10. Are the characters in your books based on any real life.
Not intentionally but sometimes, on a redraft, you realise you have just killed the bank manager. It’s a very pleasing feeling. Strangely other folk see themselves in characters who couldn’t be less like them.
11. Since you have started writing have any well known authors given you any advice.
Not really but I do remember Bernard MacLaverty saying that good writing is like a pane of clear glass through which you see a beautiful view. Anything that makes you notice the glass (the words) instead of the view ( the story) has to go!
12. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa.
Costello has all the smart answers I think of twenty minutes after I needed them. I write giving folk attributes I wish I had. In the new book the female lead runs marathons, and eats loads of chocolate!
13. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned.
New book out on 31st July, just seen the cover. It’s very scary indeed.
The Night Hunter, dark scary mountains, a lone figure out running…. It doesn’t end well.
It’s set up round the rest and be thankful so the views are fantastic.
14. Out of all the Novels you have written do you gave a favourite one that stands out to you.
Sophie Hannah asked me that! She was making the point that the best book is the one just finished, but there is always a wee personal favourite. Singing to the Dead, I think is my fav as it is so nasty and the nastiness is family orientated.
15. As a well known crime writer do you have words of advice you can share
Get it written, then get it right. Any good book – think of 6 rewrites at least. Leave the typescript in the fridge for a couple of months before you re read it again.
And enjoy it. If you do, the reader will too.
Anderson and Costello Novels
1. Absolution (2007)
2. Singing to the Dead (2009)
3. Dark Water (2010)
4. The Blood of Crows (2012)
5. The Night Hunter (2014)
The Killer Cookbook (2012)
Amazon Author Page