Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Katherine Stansfield

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Katherine Stansfield

The CRA: Please tell us a little about yourself and the books you write.

I’m originally from Cornwall and now live in Cardiff. Cornwall inspires much of my writing – I’m a bit obsessed with its history and folk tales. I write the historical crime series Cornish Mysteries, published by Allison & Busby. The series is set in the 1840s and features unorthodox detective duo Anna Drake and Shilly. The pair investigate crimes which are based on real events in Cornish history and involve a good dash of Cornish folklore. Think ‘Sherlock Holmes meets the X Files meets Daphne du Maurier’. There are three books in the series so far: Falling Creatures, The Magpie Tree, and The Mermaid’s Call. All are available in print and as ebooks. I also co-write a fantasy crime trilogy with my partner David Towsey. We publish under the name D. K. Fields. Widow’s Welcome, the first in the trilogy, is out now in print, audio and ebook with Head of Zeus.

The CRA: Tell us about what you are doing during lockdown/while social distancing?

I’m doing a lot of reading! It’s really helping me manage anxiety and avoid the news. It can take me a few minutes to settle my thoughts so that I can concentrate, which never used to be a problem, but once I’ve relaxed and I’ve given my mind over to the story, I’m immersed in the world of the book and can switch off the buzz of worry. I’m also attending lots of book events online, via Zoom and Crowd Cast which has been fantastic. I’ve attended webinars on historical subjects as well as author panels and poetry readings.

The CRA: How does the above differ from your usual routine?

It’s easy to let work take over evenings and weekends so I hadn’t been reading as much as I used to. Since lockdown began, I’ve spent far more time with books and making inroads into my TBR pile.

The CRA: Tell us about your most recent/forthcoming book.

The Mermaid’s Call is the third outing for my detective duo Shilly and Anna. Having had no luck joining the newly-formed detective forced at Scotland Yard, Anna wants to open an agency for private cases in north Cornwall but work has been slow. Until news comes of a man found dead beneath the cliff in the isolated parish of Morwenstow, his body mutilated. Local people believe the man was killed by a vengeful mermaid who has stepped out of her folk tale and gained flesh. Shilly hears the mermaid’s call on the wind, but Anna believes something more worldly might be at the heart of the case: is the corpse another victim of deliberate wrecking in a parish notorious for maritime disaster? The pair turn to Parson Robert Stephen Hawker for aid – a real figure, known for his belief in mermaids – who has his own problems he needs to hide.

The CRA: Why will it appeal to lovers of crime fiction?

It’s twisty and Gothic and based on real events.

The CRA: What CWA member writers are you reading during NCRM?

I’m looking forward to reading Alis Hawkins’ new historical crime novel, The Black and the White, a mystery set during the Black Death so very timely! I love her Teifi Valley Coroner books and have been looking forward to this new historical crime novel.

The CRA: What one thing are you planning to do once lockdown is over?

Visit my parents in Cornwall asap – I haven’t seen them in months!

To find out more about Katherine Stansfield and her books, visit the CRA website.

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Marissa De Luna

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Marissa De Luna

The CRA: Please tell us a little about yourself and the books you write.

I grew up in Goa and moved to England when I was a teenager. I now live in Oxford with my husband and two children and work as a Development Manager for a housing association in West Oxfordshire. I started writing in 2008 during a career break when I spent a few months in Goa. After writing a couple of suspense novels and a psychological thriller I turned my hand to cosy crime. The Chupplejeep Mysteries are light-hearted detective novels set in rural Goa inspired by a visit to my father’s ancestral home. By using rural Goa as the setting the reader gets to explore the local cultural nuances and the behaviours of people going back to a more simpler way of living.

The CRA: Tell us about what you are doing during lockdown/while social distancing?

I’m currently (trying!) to work on Murder in the  Monsoon the next book in the Chupplejeep Mystery series. I’m also working on a new cosy crime series set in Devon. I am currently on maternity leave so I don’t have to worry about juggling childcare with working and writing!

The CRA: How does the above differ from your usual routine?

My toddler usually goes to nursery so any time I had to myself while the baby napped has now gone out the window. Writing is now confined to a snatched hour here and there after the children have gone to bed or when by some miracle both children nap at the same time during the day.

The CRA: Tell us about your most recent/forthcoming book.

Jackpot Jetty is the third book in the Chupplejeep Mystery series but can be read as a standalone novel. In Jackpot Jetty Detective Chupplejeep is enjoying a lake-side summer holiday when Jackpot, a local boatman, is found dead in his craft. As details of Jackpot’s life are slowly exposed, development plans for the lake are revealed and the enigmatic owner of the local yoga retreat is implicated. Detective Chupplejeep is roped into helping solve the mystery but he has his own problems: His love life is in tatters and he has recently discovered that his biological parents, presumed dead, are very much alive. He shouldn’t get involved with the case, but he cannot turn a blind eye to an obvious injustice.

The CRA: Why will it appeal to lovers of crime fiction?

Jackpot Jetty explores the local culture of Goa through a whole host of enigmatic and intriguing characters. The crime is simple but there are a number of possibilities as to who could have killed the boatman. Personal relationships are exposed and motives are slowly revealed keeping the reader constantly guessing as to who the murderer is.

The CRA: What CWA member writers are you reading during NCRM?

The Silent House by Nell Pattison. It tells the story of a deaf family waking up to a heinous crime committed in their own house while they are asleep. It’s a new release and I’ve been looking forward to reading it.

The CRA: What one thing are you planning to do once lockdown is over?

Travel! I’m planning to head down to Devon for a break with the family as soon as I can – a research trip under the guise of a holiday!

For more information about Marissa De Luna and her books visit the CRA website.

 

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Sarah Linley

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Sarah Linley

The CRA: Please tell us a little about yourself and the books you write. 

The Beach is my debut novel. It is a psychological suspense set in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Yorkshire Dales. I like to travel and the places I have visited provide inspiration for my writing. I have a travel blog where I have also posted short stories set in Italy and Vietnam, and my second novel, which I am currently writing, includes scenes set in Bangkok and Tokyo.

The CRA: Tell us about what you are doing during lockdown/while social distancing? 

I am working on my second novel and just about to start the fourth draft. I’ve found it quite difficult to write creatively during lockdown, but I have been doing some internet research and editing. I work as a Communications Manager for a housing association in Yorkshire, so work is extremely busy at the moment. I am working from home. It’s not ideal and I really miss the interaction with my colleagues.

Just before lockdown, we got our first puppy, a Miniature Schnauzer, and I am enjoying taking her out for a daily walk. I am trying to be quite mindful during our walks looking at flowers, street names and old buildings; things I perhaps wouldn’t normally notice.

The CRA: How does the above differ from your usual routine?

I normally have a two hour commute every day, so it’s quite nice to have a lie in! Usually, I don’t have much time to write during the week and I tend to take myself off to the library or a café to write at weekends.  Although I have more time now, I don’t feel like I am being more productive, and it’s quite frustrating not being able to visit places for research and relying on the internet. That said, there is a lot of support from the writing community on social media.

The CRA: Tell us about your most recent/forthcoming book. 

The Beach is a psychological thriller. It’s the story of a primary school teacher living and working in the Yorkshire Dales. Five years earlier, she went backpacking around South-East Asia with her friends from University. But among the sun, sea and sand, something went horribly wrong… Holly starts receiving anonymous messages, showing photos that she was sure she destroyed years ago. Someone clearly knows the truth about what really happened. The only question is, how far will they go to get revenge?

The CRA: Why will it appeal to lovers of crime fiction? 

This is a fast-paced thriller with plenty of action and exotic scenery. Hopefully it will offer a bit of escapism while we’re stuck at home. We might not be able to travel in real life, but we can go anywhere with our imagination!

The CRA: What CWA member writers are you reading during NCRM? 

I have just read an advance copy of Roz Watkins’ forthcoming novel, Cut to the Bone, which was excellent. If you haven’t read her earlier books, I would highly recommend them. I also recently read Nell Pattison’s debut novel, The Silent House, which has an intriguing plot involving the death of a child in a Deaf household. It is set within the Deaf community and a lot of the characters use British Sign Language which adds a whole new dimension to the police procedural novel. I’m looking forward to the sequel. I have quite a few books on my TBR pile so I might eventually get to the bottom of it during lockdown!

The CRA: What one thing are you planning to do once lockdown is over? 

See my friends and family! I am desperate to see them and give them a hug. I really miss them. And go to Caffe Nero for a flat white coffee. My attempts to recreate them at home have been dreadful!

You can find out more about Sarah Linley and her books on the CRA website.

 

 

 

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with SM Hardy

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with SM Hardy

The CRA: Please tell us a little about yourself and the books you write.

I live in Torquay with my husband and spent twenty-eight years working for a major bank. After taking voluntary redundancy in 2001 I spent another fourteen or so years working as a practice manager for an arboricultural consultancy. I now write full time. I have had a series of paranormal fantasy novels published under my real name, Sue Tingey, and I am now writing supernatural crime under the pen name SM Hardy.

The CRA: Tell us about what you are doing during lockdown/while social distancing?

What does any writer do? I have been writing my socks off. Though I did do a little wine making – just in case!

The CRA: How does the above differ from your usual routine?

Not a lot to be quite truthful. We used to walk to the local store everyday to buy the newspaper and get a bit of exercise, but we’ve stopped doing that and only shop once or, at most, twice a week. Seven trips to the supermarket are five or six additional chances of getting sick.

The CRA: Tell us about your most recent/forthcoming book.

My latest novel came out on the 19th March, hence all publicity events have been put on hold until the autumn when the paperback edition and the second book in the series comes out. Hopefully by then the country will be back to normal. The Evil Within is a supernatural crime novel set in the fictional village of Slyford St James, somewhere in the Torbay area. It focuses on Jim Hawkes, a deeply troubled man with a highly pressurised job, which is turning him into someone he doesn’t want to be. On the brink of a breakdown, two years after the death of his fiancée, he quits his high powered job in the City to rent a cottage in the Devonshire countryside. But Slyford St James is far from the peaceful haven Jim was hoping for. Almost immediately he is plagued by strange occurrences: a combination lock that won’t open, loud noises in the attic of his new home and the figure of a little girl always just out of sight. His new village friends are convinced Jim has found his way to the village to solve the mystery surrounding the suspicious death of a child. But as Jim is haunted by the ghosts of his past and endangered by a real-world threat in the present, it soon becomes apparent that true evil never dies.

The CRA: Why will it appeal to lovers of crime fiction?

It isn’t your usual crime novel, although it is a murder mystery, and I’m hoping the supernatural element will tempt readers to give it a try because it is a little different.

The CRA: What CWA member writers are you reading during NCRM?

I’ve just started A Mermaid’s Call by Katherine Stansfield and I’m hooked!

The CRA: What one thing are you planning to do once lockdown is over?

Go out for a meal. Possibly re-home a rescue dog and take a long walk along the seafront.

You can find out more about SM Hardy books on the Crime Readers’ Association website.

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Anne Coates

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Anne Coates

The CRA: Please tell us a little about yourself and the books you write.

My work as a journalist and editor working on magazines and national newspapers as well as abridging books for Reader’s Digest has provided plenty of inspiration for my crime fiction published by Urbane Publications. For most of my life, I have lived in London where my series takes place but the books are set in the mind-1990s. I am thrilled that so many of my local friends and neighbours have read – and enjoyed – my books and often discuss points when we see each other.

The CRA: Tell us about what you are doing during lockdown/while social distancing?

I’m currently working on the next Hannah Weybridge and I’ve also been working on a standalone psychological thriller. However I have found my concentration wanders. I also run a parenting website and that work continues. I have been subscribing to some online theatres, which has been a real boon. I live alone and don’t know how I’d manage without FaceTime – I’ve played board games with my daughter and her family, and we have synchronised meals and drinks. It’s been a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends as well. I’ve also continued guided reading with my granddaughter, Harriet, over FaceTime.

The CRA: How does the above differ from your usual routine?

In many ways not much has changed in my working life as I’ve worked at home for years. However, Harriet usually comes to have breakfast with me before school on four mornings and I take her to her to her swimming class, and violin lesson on two afternoons. Also many events I would have been attending have been cancelled as have social activities.

The CRA: Tell us about your most recent book.

Perdition’s Child finds Hannah Weybridge investigating what becomes a series of suspicious deaths – middle-aged Australian men who have come to the UK to try to trace their families. Added to this she is helping Lucy whose brother has also died mysteriously. Somehow these deaths are connected and as Hannah digs deeper she discovers terrible wrongs that have been perpetrated in the past which have repercussions in the present – to the extent that her own life is threatened.

The CRA: Why will it appeal to lovers of crime fiction?

In this book, the victims are all middle-aged men and one reader said that made a refreshing change not to have young female victims. The setting is 1994, which means the deduction doesn’t rely on the internet and mobile phones quite so much. And there’s absolutely no risk of corona virus! The action is fast-paced and there are enough surprises to keep the reader guessing.

The CRA: What CWA member writers are you reading during NCRM?

I’ve just finished London Rules by Mick Herron and am reading The Other Woman by Jane Isaac – both authors on my go-to favourites list.

The CRA: What one thing are you planning to do once lockdown is over?

I’ll hug everyone I see! Difficult to plan anything as we don’t know when this will end but I have a bottle of champagne ready to open and will go for a curry at my favourite restaurant (if it survives) with as many friends as I can muster.

Find out more about Anne Coates and her books on her author profile on the CRA website.