Casey Kelleher was born in Cuckfield, West Sussex. Growing up she became an avid reader, loving in particular gritty crime thrillers and gangland books. Her favourite authors Martina Cole, Mandasue Heller and Kimberley Chambers have heavily influenced her writing style. Casey is represented by the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency.
In September 2011and Casey’s first book ‘Rotten to the Core’ was published. Reaching number 15 in the Amazon Crime thriller chart, and remaining in the top 100 crime thriller chart for over 14 months. Her second novel ‘Rise and Fall’ was published in September 2012 while her third novel Heartless was published in August 2013.

1. How did you get started writing?

I’ve always been a bookworm but it was actually my granddad who inspired me. In his nineties, he bought himself a laptop with the intentions of teaching himself how to use it, and also to write his life story. Sadly, he never got to finish his story and after his passing I decided that instead of just secretly wondering if it was possible for me to write a novel, I was just going to go for it. It was now or never. A year later, in 2011 I had completed my first novel, my debut ‘Rotten to the Core’.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel

I have always loved reading crime novels. The grittier the better. For me its true escapism into a darker, more sinister world. So it just made sense to write in the genre that I love the most.

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?

Martina Cole. As the ‘Queen of Crime’ she set the bar high in the genre. I grew up reading all her books and love her style of writing. She just says it how it is.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

My three previous books were self-published and while they have been very well received by readers, and I have loved being a self-published author, it would be amazing to get a traditional publishing deal. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that maybe book 4 will do just that.

5. There are many interesting characters in your Novels, do you have a particular favourite one?

I think it would have to be Nessa O’Hagan from Heartless. She is a strong, Irish woman with a wicked sense of humour and full of love for her granddaughter Sophia. Nessa was a key character throughout the story, but she also added not only compassion, but some comedy value too. Which is nice to throw in to the mix when you’re writing story-lines that are about the darker, more murkier side of life.

6. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novels?

While the books are all fictional, you still need to be accurate with locations, timings and factual information. So research can be an essential part of writing. And with the magical powers of google, it’s great that all the information we need is now at our fingertips.

7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?

All of the characters are fictional. Maybe somewhere in each of them are traits of people that I have come across, but the characters are all just themselves. Once you get an idea about a character and you start writing, they seem to develop a life of their own very quickly.

8. Since you have started writing have any well known authors given you any advice?

I was very fortunate to have some amazing advice from a lot of established authors including the late Josephine Hart. Josephine was one of the first people to read my manuscript of ‘Rotten to the Core’, and the feedback she gave me was not only fantastic, but she also passed my novel on to her agent to have a look at too. Which was a huge confidence booster at a time when I most needed it. Her most valuable advice was in fact about the publishing industry itself, and how it had changed so much due to ebook sales. And it was after I had spoken to her that I looked into self-publishing.

9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?

Oh I’m sure there is some of my personality in there somewhere, though never intentionally.

10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned.

Well, it’s still a work in progress, but here is an EXCLUSIVE sneaky peek of book four…

Harry Wood’s is a born fighter. Inside the ring he was a world class boxer. Now retired, he has reached the top of his game as an up and coming criminal face. Harry has it all. The big house, the flash cars and an abundance of wealth. But life hasn’t always been so kind. His wife’s sudden death taught him just how cruel the world could be. And as much as money talked in his world, Harry knows deep down that the only thing that really counts is family. And he’ll do anything to protect his children… But sometimes the ones that you need protecting from are closer to you than you think. Without loyalty, family are bound together only by blood.

11. Out of all the Novels you have written do you have a favourite one that stands out to you?

I think it’s got to be the one that i’m writing at the moment. The storyline and characters are so strong, and I’m so caught up in at all. I’ve got a really good feeling about this one.

12. As a well known crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

Since I first published my books so many people have said how they would love to write, but they wouldn’t know where to begin. My advice to them is always, “Just write!” Make a start. Write anything. And keep writing whenever you can, as much as you can. Persevere and it will all come together.

Rotten to the Core
Rise and Fall




Twitter: @caseykelleher

Amazon Author Page


Q and A with Denzil Meyrick


Denzil Meyrick was educated in Argyll, andafter studying politics joined Strathclyde Police, serving in Glasgow. After being injured and developing back problems, he then entered the business world and has operated in many diverse roles, including director of a large engineering company and distillery manager, as well as owning a number of his own companies, such as a public bar and sales and marketing company. D. A. Meyrick has also worked as a freelance journalist in both print and on radio, his first novel, Whisky from Small Glasses, was published by Ringwood in 2012.

1. Your new novel THE LAST WITNESS is due out soon, can you tell us a bit more about it?
It’s a bit darker than WHISKY FROM SMALL GLASSES, though with the same dark humour and local ‘Kinloch’ colour. A notorious Glasgow crime boss, James Machie, is killed in the back of a prison ambulance. After being arrested by Daley and Scott, two of his senior lieutenants turned on their boss in return for immunity from prosecution.
Five years later, one of these men is killed in a suburban Melbourne street. All of the evidence points clearly to the identity of the killer – it’s James Machie.
Staggered by these events, Daley and Scott are further unnerved when it turns out that Frank MacDougall, the main witness for the prosecution and Machie’s second-in-command, has been living in a remote farmhouse near Kinloch, anonymously, on the protection programme. 
Machie is out for revenge, and nothing – not even death – ever stands in Machie’s way.

2. Did you find it easier writing your second novel, or your first, WHISKY FROM SMALL GLASSES?
I suppose there was more pressure on me when writing THE LAST WITNESS. My first book had been such a success, that I was conscious of the fact that the next book would be have to be of that standard. I believe it is, everyone who has read it think it’s even better than my first.  I wrote the new book in a much tighter time-frame than WHISKY. Having changed publisher, and now having a London agent, both were keen to see the finished manuscript.
Conversely, as the main characters and the setting were established in the first book, the second one is faster-paced and therefore slightly easier to write. Swings and roundabouts, really.

3. There are many different and interesting characters in your novels, do you have a favourite one?
I like to have as rounded characters as possible. This helps them live in the mind of the reader, if you like. It was something that was often mentioned by reviewers of WHISKY.
I have a soft spot for Annie and Hamish; they are composites of so many people I have known and they are great to write. Also, Brian Scott; in a rough and very unscientific poll of readers, carried out on social media recently, he turned out to be the narrow favourite, just ahead of Daley, himself!
At the end of the day, I enjoy writing them all; new characters in THE LAST WITNESS were fun to breathe life into.

4. What has been your favourite scene or chapter you have written in either one of your novels?
I love some of the Kinloch scenes, funny to write and re-read. I try to get at much of the atmosphere of the real Kinloch, Campbeltown, as possible. Some of the more violent passages can be more difficult, but it’s great to experience the rush of excitement that hopefully will transfer to the reader, when characters are in a tight spot. Some of the final scenes in THE LAST WITNESS are, in turn, thrilling and poignant; I hope everyone will enjoy them.

5. Is there anything you would change, if you had the chance, about WHISKY FROM SMALL GLASSES?
I don’t think there is a writer who doesn’t look back at their work and wonder if they should have changed X, Y, or Z.  I’m no different.
I regret some aspects of the presentation of WHISKY, both as a book and an eBook that, most frustratingly, weren’t quite right. That’s why it’s great to be with Polygon now; their approach and professionalism is refreshing and will be reflected in the quality of the final product, whether it is the book, eBook, or any other version.

6. If you were give the chance to write a new series of novels, what genre would you chose and what would it be about?
Good question. I would love to write historical novels; indeed, I have one roughly plotted. To make historical fiction convincing, the writer needs to make sure he or she carries out a mountain of research. One of these days I’ll get the time to do the book that’s in my head justice.
I’m also reading a couple of the late, great Iain M Bank’s Culture Sci-fi novels that I hadn’t already devoured – magnificent! He’s such a loss, not to just Scottish writing, but the world of literature in general. I would love to have a go at the space opera genre one day.
Of course, I think most of us would like to write the definitive literary novel. Thankfully though, I think some of the snobbery surrounding so-called genre work is beginning to fade, especially since the success of the likes of Hilary Mantel.

7. What makes your novels stand out from other Scottish crime fiction on the shelf?
I think that every writer has their own style and things they want to say. I like to create and atmosphere, and ambiance if you like, that will draw the reader in. As you know, I reckon humour plays an important part the creation of realism within a book. We see this now with some of the excellent TV drama coming out of the USA at the moment. Think of the The Sopranos for instance, some of the most harrowing and visceral scenes of violence ever portrayed on the small screen, all leavened by a healthy dollop of humour.
There are so many magnificent writers emerging from Scotland at the moment. I think everyone has their own style, ticks, or characters that make their books different.

8. If you could pick any actor to play any one of your characters, who would you choose, and why?
This has been much discussed by those who have contacted me on social media, recommending various actors to play characters from my books. I suppose I don’t know, really – that is apart from one. I think Brian McCardie, ex of Rob Roy and the UK version of Low Winter Sun, would make an excellent DS Scott. Google him and have a look.

9. You are now being compared to some of the established names in crime fiction, how does this make you feel?
It’s enormously flattering to be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Rankin, Mina, MacBride, et al. I can only aspire to attaining their standard, the high bar they have set, making Scottish fiction so highly regarded throughout the world. I hope that THE LAST WITNESS will contribute towards this.

10. Since we last spoke you have been picked by a major publishing house, how has that changed your novels and your writing?
I was thrilled to sign with Birlinn/Polygon, they are a great company and have published many of the true greats, like A L Kennedy, George McKay Brown, Ian Rankin, and now of course, Alexander McCall Smith. Certainly, the forensic and detailed way they have approached the edit of THE LAST WITNESS has been a joy to experience. Over all though, my writing is evolving naturally; I don’t think there are any of us that don’t change and mature as our work progresses. I’ve learned some really valuable lessons in the last couple of years, in life as well as art.
My wife and I were left to do all of the leg work for my last novel, as far as getting it out there, was concerned. All those helping me at Polygon are excellent, not just with the writing and edit, but also design and their plans to promote the books. I’m very lucky to now have such a highly respected and effective publisher behind me.
Vive la difference!


James Machie was a man with a genius for violence, his criminal empire spreading beyond Glasgow into the UK and mainland Europe. Fortunately, James Machie is dead, assassinated in the back of a prison ambulance following his trial and conviction. But now, five years later, he is apparently back from the grave, set on avenging himself on those who brought him down. Top of his list is his previous associate, Frank MacDougall, who unbeknownst to D.C.I. Jim Daley, is living under protection on his lochside patch, the small Scottish town of Kinloch. Daley knows that, having been the key to Machie’s conviction, his old friend and colleague D.S. Scott is almost as big a target. And nothing, not even death, has ever stood in James Machie’s way …

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (3 July 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1846972884
ISBN-13: 978-1846972881

The link for pre ordering your kindle ebook copy is

The link for pre ordering your amazon paperback copy is

https://www.facebook.com/DenzilMeyrick is the link for the DCI Daley Thrillers page. The Last Witness will be available on all platforms from 3 July and currently It is now available to pre order from Waterstones, Foyles, Blackwell’s WH Smith and all good book stores

April crime question British Crime Author Interview Special with Mel Sherratt




Mel Sherratt has been a self-described “meddler of words” ever since she can remember. After winning her first writing competition at the age of eleven, she has rarely been without a pen in her hand or her nose in a book. Since successfully self-publishing Taunting the Dead and seeing it soar to the rank of number one bestselling police procedural in the Amazon Kindle store in 2012, Mel has gone on to publish three more books in the critically acclaimed The Estate Series. Mel Where art has also written feature articles for The Guardian, the Writers & Artists website, and Writers’ Forum magazine, to name just a few, and regularly speaks at conferences, event, and talks. She lives in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with her husband and her terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer, with some help from her Twitter fans) and makes liberal use of her hometown as a backdrop for her writing.

1. How did you get started writing?

I’ve always wanted to write but I wrote my first book in 1999. Well, I say when I wrote my first book, I mean, I wrote my first attempt…

2. What drew you to write a crime novel?

That first book I wrote was women’s fiction, set around a coffee shop. I was working with my first agent then, back in 2004, and I worked with her on that same book for over two years before she retired without the book going out on submission. It was a real frustrating time – I did eight rewrites with months of waiting in-between. But alongside that I’d started to work as a housing officer. It was also the time when the TV program Shameless became one of my favourites. And as I enjoyed Eastenders too, I wrote a darker book than intended. That book was Somewhere to Hide. 

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?

At that time, I was really into writers such as Martina Cole and Lynda La Plante. More recently, it’s been Mandasue Heller, Jacqui Rose and Elizabeth Haynes. When I started writing police procedurals, I read Ian Rankin, Peter James and Mark Billingham. It’s always best to learn from the pros.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

Erm, yes! I tried for twelve years for a traditional deal before I self-published on Kindle. I had several books go to acquisition meetings but in the end they weren’t right for the publishers lists.

5. There are many interesting characters in your novels, do you have a particular favourite one?

I like Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton in TAUNTING THE DEAD. She has a ruthless side to do the job she does but she is also caring and compassionate. Having a two book deal with Thomas & Mercer meant that TAUNTING THE DEAD was repackaged so I’ve now just written another book with her in it, to follow on from that. I’ve really enjoyed meeting her and other characters again.

6. What kind of research do you have to undertake for your novels?

For my books in THE ESTATE SERIES, it’s more a case of googling to find out about certain topics, or finding a case study on what I’m covering. But my background as a housing officer, having done the job for eight years, gave me authenticity as I knew the policies and procedures. For my police procedural books, I talk to the police and also have a member of the force who reads them for me so that everything is checked.

7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?

No. I hear news clips or read something interesting online and then give it an extra twist.

8. Since you have started writing have any well-known authors given you any advice?

Well, after reading TAUNTING THE DEAD, Ian Rankin said I should market it as erotic crime fiction…

I’ve had more inspiration than advice from authors who I’ve met, or listened to, at crime festivals and conferences. There is a huge amount of support in the crime genre, I suppose there are in all genres. Authors are really generous with advice too, as we know what it was like to be starting out. But, ultimately a writer needs to find their own path to follow and be happy with their choice.

9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?

All of them have bits of me in them, I’m sure.

10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned?

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve just finished the first draft of my next book, which is a follow on from TAUNTING THE DEAD. I’m now planning out the third book and will be starting that shortly, if I get good feedback for the draft. I have another novel on THE ESTATE that needs to be written and a couple of ideas for novellas too.

11. Out of all the novels you have written do you gave a favourite one that stands out to you? 

I think it would have to be TAUNTING THE DEAD. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I always think it’s not good enough because it was self-published initially – so every time I get a bad review it kind of adds to the self-doubt. But then it has sold so many copies and continues to sell well that I love it too. It contains a lot of sex, violence and murder which I tend to apologize for when anyone asks what genre I write it – yet I am so proud of the story. And, without a doubt, it has been my door-opener, the book that got me noticed.

12. As a well-known crime writer do you have words of advice you can share?

Gosh, that’s a lovely title, thank you! I would say that there is so much advice out there sometimes that for a new writer it must be mind-boggling. But the first thing I would say is to keep on keeping on. To many, I seem to be an overnight success but it took me years behind the scenes before people started to find my books. I’m still learning now – I’m about to start writing my ninth book – and I hope I will continue to learn.  The other thing is go with your heart when it comes to how you intend to publish – if that’s with an agent, or self-publishing or even straight to a traditional publisher, do what is best for you. And always makes sure that the book is done to the best of your ability no matter which path you choose.



Amazon Author Page


Coffee Cake and Crime Event With Jaycee Brown


The remote Isle of Lewis has only had three murders in over forty years. When Helen Riley is asked to investigate a suspicious death in Port of Ness, no-one intends to help her uncover a fourth murder. As she gets closer to the truth, Riley faces threats to herself, her client and her family. Riley is confronted by assassination drones plus a powerful international network of collusion and conspiracy that threatens her job, her family and her life. Cut adrift, she embarks on a fight for justice and revenge. The Machair Crow is a novel that features one woman’s battle against the illicit use of assassination drones and how she overcomes the conspiracy to silence her. A fine detective story and also a novel about drones, covert surveillance and the development of secret kill-lists. Riley is a kick-ass combination of Jack Reacher and Lisbeth Salander. She’s a private investigator based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She’s been army trained as an undercover surveillance officer with the army’s special forces. After she left the forces, she worked as a police detective in Newcastle before turning private. She doesn’t do demure and compliant. If you like your heroines demure and compliant, this is not the book for you.

1. How did you get started writing?

It was in a moment of arrogance really. I was reading an eBook that contained a few flaws and I said to myself, ‘I’m sure I could do better than this. How hard could it be?’ Like Mark Twain said, “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” I discovered the hard way how difficult it is to write a good novel that people want to read.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel?

I only used to read about leadership and team working. These were all be ‘How to be a good manager’ type books. I started to read thrillers after my wife dragged me off to see ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’ I thought it would be about Bruce Lee with subtitles! I came home from the movie and read the first Stieg Larsson millennium novel in one sitting over two days. After that I was hooked. I read the next two Millennium novels, then moved onto Jo Nesbo, Ian Rankin, Lee Child, and Jeffrey Deaver. I read all their books. I was just devouring crime thrillers.

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?

Ian Rankin is the master of dialogue. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher is a great character, I admire the twists in the Jeffrey Deaver endings, and I love how Stieg Larsson created the whole fictional world around Lisbeth Salander.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

No. I’ve self-published on eBook for several reasons. I took advice from Mary Wood who was selling well without a publisher after numerous rejections. I watched Ian Rankin’s video diary as he worked to a six-month deadline while writing ‘Standing in Another Man’s Grave.’ I really didn’t want a publisher’s deadline hanging over me while I was learning how to craft my first novel. At the moment I’m on target for two thousand copies sold in my first year, which seems adequate for a first novel, so I’m pleased at how it’s going.

5. When you started writing The Machair Crow what was your inspiration for it:

I was inspired by Lee Child’s novel ‘Nothing to Lose.’ It was the idea of the police being in the pocket of an evil secret organization and moving Jack Reacher out of town in order to stop him asking questions that got me started. You’ll see shades of that scenario with Helen Riley – someone who refuses to take ‘No’ for an answer.

6. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one:

Helen Riley gets the most coverage as the heroine. Helen Riley’s character drew on the autobiography of Jackie George called ‘She Who Dared.’ Jackie was the first woman in the SAS and she worked on covert surveillance in Northern Ireland. The next step for me was, ‘what if she (Helen Riley) left the SAS and worked as a PI?’

7. Why did you choose to set your novels on the Isle of Lewis?

It’s a wonderful landscape and a delightful culture. I have relatives who live there. I was looking to base the novel in a remote community that lived in a remote landscape, maybe like Montana, but I knew Lewis better so that’s why I chose it. I also loved the notion of The Bridge to Nowhere historically created by the originator of the Lever Brothers empire (The Soap Man).

8. In the Machair Crow do you have a favourite scene or chapter that you enjoyed writing?

Yes, so many. I enjoyed writing the high-confrontation scenes. I think my preference is for the scene where Riley meets her co-partner Donald MacLeod for the first time. They trade information and insults while flirting. An old colleague of mine was a management consultant and he described the initial entry negotiations as being like dogs meeting for the first time in the park and engaging in ‘bum-sniffing.’ Riley and Donald are bum sniffing in that scene.

9. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your Novel:

So much more than I imagined. I use Scrivener to hold all of it now. I needed information about: drones, guns, the SAS, post-traumatic stress, animal illnesses, poisons, post-mortems, Scottish legal processes, and so on.

10. Are the characters in your books based on any real life people?

In a way, yes. I used the technique of copying people’s photos and placing them beside their character profiles. So, Victoria Pendelton for Helen Riley, Sir Chris Hoy for Donald MacLeod, and Robert de Niro for the Chief of Police Matheson. It’s mainly their faces that I use rather than their characters.

11. Since you have started writing have any well-known authors given you any advice.

No, only Mary Wood, but I’ve also read a lot of texts on ‘how to write a book.’ I liked Larry Brooks’ ‘Story Engineering,’ Randy Ingermanson’s ‘Snowflake’ concept, and ‘Hooked’ by Les Edgerton.

12. Do you see any of your character’s personality in yourself and vice versa?

On a bad day I can be as bold and brash as Helen Riley (that’s not usually a good thing) and as generous and cautious as Donald MacLeod, although there is a sense of contempt that both myself and Helen the heroine, feel for his cautiousness.

13. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned?

There is a preview of the sequel to ‘The Machair Crow’ at the end of the book. I’m calling it ‘Dixon’s Revenge.’ Essentially someone tries to assassinate her as she is on her way to work. That sets of a chain of events as Riley tries to work out who has it in for her. She therefore needs to return to Lewis. Her relationship with Donald MacLeod improves and deteriorates over the course of the novel. At the moment I’m only half way through the first draft so there’s much that can change.

14. You have already been compared to some of the well-known crime writers such as Peter May, how does that make you feel:

Honoured and privileged. Peter is a great novelist. Peter has a long list of novels and TV screenplays behind him. I’m a mere beginner. The comparison is only made because we love the island of Lewis so much and we have set a novel or two there.

15. As an up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can impart to new novelists:

Only what every other giver of writing advice offers. Don’t give up, keep writing, find yourself a good editor, etc. I’ve discovered that I have a huge blind spot in relation to repeating favourite words or phrases in the same paragraph. I find I fail to see blind spots, because I don’t see how often I miss the repetition of blind spots. You know what I mean?



Amazon Author Page


Book Review seven eight play it straight ej Lamprey


***** 5 STARS

In Seven Eight Play It Straight Edge’s actress stepdaughter is performing in a successful Fringe show during the Edinburgh Festival. Long-standing hostilities are set aside when a violent and bloody murder strikes all too close to home, but the temporary truce doesn’t last after Fiona accuses Edge of the murder. This is the fourth in the author EJ Lamprey series of Grasshopper Lawns cozy mysteries, the storyline moves from the fringes of Edinburgh society to Edinburghs biggest summer tourist attraction the Festival Fringe. This novel like her earlier material centers around four friends who are living in the Grasshopper Lawns, a retirement village that comprising of some very “interesting” characters. The storyline focus around Edge Cameron, a semi-retired author and her friends Vivian, William and Donald who do like to; spend their time sipping their cuppas in there rocking chairs putting the world to rights but are also very contemporary and a large part of the enjoyment in these volumes is watching the balance between the characters being not so young and not very old. There is also the murder aspect that make up the back bone of the novels that include members of the retirement home and friends of Edge’s family caused by inheritance disputes, think of a Scottish set Agatha Christie Novel and you begin to get the picture.

This is unlike the other books in the series in a few ways as the novel centres around main character Edge and her stepdaughter, the actress Fiona Bentwood, The title is slighty changed as instead of being Lay Them Straight as in the nursery rhyme, it is Play It Straight and there are scene breaks rather than conventional chapters. Though like the other novels in the Grasshopper Lane Series it still classes as a stand a lone book, meaning for the reader that they don’t have to be read in sequence to be enjoyed. The novel also incorporates the setting of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe very well within the way in which the author has made it quite light hearted for a murder mystery using fancy dress party , performing artists, melodrama, totally contrived coincidences and theatrical makeup in the climax. It has the ability to draw the reader into the action and make he pages come alive. The best part about reading this novel for me was that the author made sure that you are kept guessing about who is the murderer and It’s not until the end that you might guess who the real murderer is. That and other aspects is what makes this book a good read, It has lively characters, lively events and a lively murderer that is incorporated into a very richly woven story that all contribute to another winner in this series. Can’t wait to see what the author has in store for our favourite characters in the next few novels, definitely on to a winner with this series.

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1776 KB
Print Length: 211 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
Language: English

Coffee Cake And Crime Event With Marsali Taylor


Cass Lynch is still staying aboard Khalida and her Norwegian shipmate Anders and his pet Rat seem to have settled happily into Shetland life too.  Naturally, they take an interest in summer visitors, especially the friendly yachting couple who’ve come to Shetland for the archeology.  They were going to walk up to the Trowie Mound, an unexcavated Neolithic chambered cairn – but when they don’t return, and their yacht departs mysteriously in the middle of the night, Cass contacts old adversary DI Gavin Macrae, who takes advantage of his holiday to come up and investigate.  He’s got wind of art theft which seems to centre around Shetland – but how can this link to a ghost baby wailing from the island of Linga?  Then one of Cass’s sailing pupils goes missing, and she has to risk finding out the secret of the Trowie Mound by herself ..



When she wangles the job of skippering a Viking longship for a film, Cass Lynch thinks her big break has finally arrived – even though it means returning home to the Shetland Islands, which she ran away from as a teenager. Then the ‘accidents’ begin – and when a dead woman turns up on the boat’s deck, Cass realises that she, her family and her past are under suspicion from the disturbingly shrewd Detective Inspector Macrae. Cass must call on all her local knowledge, the wisdom she didn’t realise she’d gained from sailing and her glamorous, French opera singer mother to clear them all of suspicion – and to catch the killer before Cass becomes the next victim.

1. How did you get started writing
I’ve always written – my mother has a notebook I filled with accounts of things I’d done when I was six!  That expanded to full-length fantasy stories as a teenager, then to proper novels as soon as I’d left University.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel
Trad crime is one of the genres I’ve always enjoyed reading, so it made sense to try my hand at it.  Also, it’s vey popular, so I hoped it would be easier to get published – mistaken!  Because it’s very popular, everyone tries to write it, which means there’s a lot of competition.

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing
My absolute favourite crime writer is John Dickson Carr, and I love the way his plots twist, so I try to copy that, to surprise my readers.  Of the modern writers, I adore the eccentric characters in Fred Vargas’s books – they always make me feel my characters aren’t quite mad enough.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest 
It’s very, very hard – and I started in the days when it was easier.  My first rejection letter, for a historical novel, was back in 1986.  I wrote a second historical novel, then I got an agent, the wonderful Teresa Chris, with my first detective story.  That was about a different set of characters, though still set in Shetland, and I’d written three others before ‘Death on a Longship’ finally found a publisher.
5. When you started writing Death on a Longship what was your inspiration for it
There were several things which contributed, including the longship Skidbladner in Unst, and being an extra in a Shetland-set film, but it was a casual conversation with an actor friend which gave me the main plot driver, the lengths which Hollywood will go to to cover up.  She was saying a well-known actor was known in the business to be gay, and if I said the name writs would shower round my head … but the lengths that person’s gone to, to appear ‘straight’ are quite incredible and very sad.

6. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one
I’m very fond of my difficult, obsessive Cass, with her skewed view of the ‘land world’ as something that’s not quite her problem. I like her independence and determination.  I hope she and Gavin or maybe she and Anders will work something out. 

7. Why did you choose to set your novels in Shetland
I’m not sure I could set them anywhere else!  I’ve lived in Shetland for over thirty years now, and don’t go to the mainland very often, so it’s an alien world.  Also, Shetland’s great for saving me work – instead of having to worry about correct procedures for what the police know, and how, I just use a character to tell Cass the village gossip, which is generally as well-informed!  It’s a close community, with everyone connected to everyone else, and that’s interesting to plot with.

8. In Death on a Longship do you have a favourite scene or chapter that you enjoyed writing
I always enjoy writing.  I head for my desk at 8.30, and across each day I’d expect to write for eight or nine hours.  Action scenes are most fun to write – you really feel as if you’re there with the characters, and the words just fly onto the screen.

9. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novel
For Death on a Longship, very little, mostly connected with the film world – I asked my actor daughter and her director husband for details.  For the third Cass novel, ‘A Handful of Ash’, I had to find out about historical Scottish witches – that was interesting.

10. Are the characters in your books based on any real life
No.  I’d consider that an intrusion on someone else’s privacy.  The only possible exception is Peerie Charlie, as my own grandson was the same age as I wrote the book – but my grandson’s now seven, while Charlie’s not got to four yet, so he’ll develop differently.  However I like to have faces to write from, so I cut pictures of unknown people who look interesting out of newspapers, or search the internet.

11. Since you have started writing have any well known authors given you any advice
I’ve had a lot of help over the years, through writers’ workshops and weeks with Arvon.  I’d really recommend taking every chance to try out new ideas in workshops and classes.  I’m also a member of a local writers’ group – I kind of resisted that at first, because I thought I’d be better to spend the evening writing, but I was totally wrong – that looming meeting makes me write for it.  We’re now all best mates, and sharing what we’re doing is a fun evening out (the evenings also include cake and wine).

12. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa
Definitely!  As I write, it’s almost an acting job, for there are bits of me in almost every character – particularly, of course, in Cass.  I love sailing, and her boat, Khalida, is my own beloved Karima S. I also have her stubborn nature, her lack of awareness of what others think, and – I hope – her determination.  However I’m more interested in people than she is, and I like living on land too.  She’s my love of sailing gone obsessional.  Anders is my inner nerd allowed to run riot.  Gavin comes from the loch where my family spent wonderful summers throughout my childhood.  As you write, though, even if someone is completely different from you, you still have to find that little spark of yourself who is like that, and use it to help make the character come alive.

13. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned
Now Cass is more at peace with herself, the books are slightly more action based.  In ‘The Trowie Mound Murders’ (Cass 2) then Cass gets mixed up with international art theft but she also needs to take a good hard look at how she feels about her friend Anders.  So far she’s rather taken him for granted … but what does he feel about her?  In ‘A Handful of Ash’ (Cass 3) then she’s in Shetland’s ancient capital of Scalloway, and finds herself battling a modern witch coven; I hope the big scenes will be quite spooky.  Now I’m working on Cass 4, where she finds a skeleton by a waterfall … that’s all I know about it!

14. You have already been compared to some of the well known female crime writers, how does that make you feel
Oh, wow!  – thrilled and flattered and sure I don’t deserve it!  But I hope that each book is tricksier, sharper, and more fun for the reader.

15. As a up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share
Oh, loads! – but here are my two key rules:
1.  Just keep writing, every day; set a time and stick to it.  As a full-time teacher, I used to get up at 6.30 to squeeze in half an hour before I went to school, and it made all the difference to keeping my story ‘live’ in my head. 
2.  Enjoy your writing!  Write about what interests you, and keep your story moving.  If you’re ploughing on with backstory or description, and you’re feeling bored, remember what Raymond Chandler said, ‘If things are getting dull, send in a man with a gun’.  Think of the worst thing that could happen to your characters at that moment and do it to them.



Amazon Author Page