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Xmas 2015 Crime author of the month interview with Theresa Talbot

1. How did you get started writing? 
I’ve written everyday of my professional life for the past 20 years – either writing radio news scripts, travel bulletins, articles etc…so I suppose I’m just used to bashing away at the keyboard – but I have to say I never dared call my self a writer until I had a book published. My first one was This Is What I Look Like which was a humorous look at growing up in Glasgow and working on radio…but that was non-fiction so I could call myself a writer..but not an author! I didn’t dare do that until Penance was published – and even then I whispered it in-case proper grown-up authors heard me!     

2. What drew you to write a crime novel 
As a journalist crime seemed like a natural progression. Every day I would be immersed in real-life crime stories from court reporters and to be honest fact really is stranger than fiction! Also I loved reading crime and I used to read books my Denise Mina and Val McDermid and think..I wish I’d written that! 

 3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?
When I’m writing I have to stay away from books or I end up imitating a style without even realising it…I’m not sure who has influenced my style..certainly the afore mentioned dames of crime encouraged me – I like plain-style writing. Straight to the point. I also love Christopher Brookmyre and wish I could be as funny and as dark as him! I’m also a huge fan of John Fowles – The Collector is such a terrifying book written in such a benign style..  

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

 5. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one? 
I love Oonagh O’Neill. Yesterday someone described her as selfish or something and I felt awful for her..until I had to remind myself that she’s not real…she’s a character I made up! 

6.What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novels? 
I did a tremendous amount of research for Penance – it’s based on the real life events surrounding the closure of Glasgow’s Magdalene Institution. I poured over old records and transcripts from women not just from the Magdalene Laundries, but also from poor houses, asylums, prisons etc. I felt a huge responsibility to make sure I used dramatic licence to tell the stories of the thousands of women who suffered over the years. Also because it’s based in my native Glasgow, I would time myself walking or driving from location to location to ensure my timeline was always true – I probably took that a wee bit too far! 

7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?
Oh now…you don’t honestly expect me to reveal that!! Ha ha ha…friends keep saying …’is that me!’ convinced I’ve based certain characters on them. It’s strange how people see themselves in characters in books – which I think is great as it shows how they identify with them. 

 8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Scottish Crime Fiction Novels out there 

It’s the only one with my name on it…and that just fills my heart with joy! There are so many wonderful crime novels out there I’m not sure I’m best placed to say why mine stands out…but perhaps the fact that it’s based on real life events – and also the main character Oonagh O’Neill is a television journalist is a wee bit different and it has a dual narrative running through it which I was told is a wee bit unusual…And there are no Glasgow hard-men.  

9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa? 
Ha ha ha…ok I fess up to having a wee bit of Oonagh O’Neill in me and vice versa…she’s flawed but means well! And she always supports the underdog – so that’s her redeeming feature!  

10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned. 
I have another Oonagh O’Neill novel in the offing…it should be ready by spring 2016. It’s funny but I really miss her when I don;t write about her – does that sound mental? I also have a black-comedy book in the early stages. 

11. What was your favourite sene to write in your novel, and why? 
That’s a really interesting question. I’m not sure which was my favourite…well actually I do – there’s a scary scene which is very dark and I don;t want to give a spoiler here….there are some scenes which still make me cry when I read them. And there are other scenes where-by some characters get their comeuppance and I liked writing them. I was important that I wrote those scenes without compromising the style of the book.      

 12. As a well known crime writer do you have words of advice you can share
Marry well and floss every day…there are no finer words of wisdom I can share! I managed one of those and I’m delighted to say my teeth are in great nic!  


Oonagh O’Neil has a challenge on her hands – and her head over a toilet bowl.
TV journalist and media darling Oonagh O’Neil faces danger and chaos when an elderly priest dies on the altar of his Glasgow church. His death comes as she is about to expose the shocking truth behind the closure of a Magdalene Institution.
The Church has already tried to suppress the story. Is someone also covering their tracks?
DI Alec Davies is appointed to investigate the priest’s death. He and Oonagh go way back. But their friendship counts for nothing when Davies’ suspicions fall on Oonagh’s married lover.
Oonagh now faces the biggest decision of her life. But will it be hers to make?
What secrets lie behind the derelict Institution’s doors? What sparked the infamous three-day riot that closed it? And what happened to the three ‘Maggies’ who vowed to stay friends forever?


NON CRIME book – This Is What I Look Like.

Website Under Construction –

twitter @theresa_talbot. 

Amazon Author Page


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