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April 2016 crime author of the month interview with Lesley Kelly


1. .How did you get started writing?

I came to writing fairly late. I wasn’t the kind of child who always wanted to write – in fact my childhood dream job was to be a librarian! But after many years as a reader I finally gave writing a go in my mid-30s.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel ?

The novel started life as a short story, which I wrote for the Scotsman/National Library of Scotland Criminally Good Writing competition, which celebrated 25 years of Ian Rankin’s Rebus. I loved the characters in the story so much that I wrote them into a full length novel. I also won the competition, which was a great motivator to keep writing!

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

I absolutely loved Louise Welsh’s crime novel The Cutting Room. It has a great protagonist, a compelling story, and was really, really well written. I also like Ian Rankin and Peter May for their story-telling ability.

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

No. I was unbelievably lucky and was acceptable by the first publisher that I approached.

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

Probably the main character, Stainsie. He’s a man with many faults, most of them related to his consumption of alcohol, but somehow you can’t help liking him.

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

Quite limited. It’s set in the area of Edinburgh where I both live and grew up, so I know it pretty well. I did do some research about Trinity’s nefarious past, though, which all found its way into the novel…

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

Most of the characters in the novel are cheating, lying, self-serving alcoholics so I’d better make it clear they are all totally imaginary!

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

With reference to the previous answer I’m not sure I want to incriminate myself! There’s definitely no more than about 80% of my personality in any of the characters. And I definitely wash more than some of them.

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

It’s a crowded field with some fabulous writers (damn you, competition!) but I think my novel’s selling points are its strong sense of place and the humour in it.

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

I’m working on a couple of things, but both are in quite early stages.
11. Do you have a favourite scene in A Fine House in Trinity, and why?

Difficult to pick just one, but I did enjoy the scenes involving Wheezy, Stainsies’ best friend, and his particular take on life.

12. As an up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share?

Enter lots of writing competitions. They are a great way to get feedback on your writing.


 I enjoyed my first day at primary school. Of course, I didn’t know then that this was the first day of a suffocating friendship with a psychopath, a friendship I’d still be trapped in thirty years later.’

Joseph Staines left town with a stolen tallybook, but two suspicious deaths and a surprise inheritance have lured him back home to Edinburgh. No-one is pleased to see him. The debtors want him gone. The Police have some questions for him. And a mysterious stranger has been asking about him in the pub. To survive, Staines has to sober up, solve the murders, and stay one step ahead of the man who wants him dead.

Social media:
Twitter handle is @lkauthor
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