Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Helen Sedgwick

Crime Writers in Residence – at home with Helen Sedgwick

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

I am a research physicist turned author and I live in the Scottish highlands. I’ve recently moved to crime writing after publishing two novels that could be called literary speculative fiction with elements of ghosts stories and sci-fi thriller (The Comet Seekers and The Growing Season). My first crime book, When The Dead Come Calling, is characteristically genre-bending with elements of police procedural, folk horror, history, and supernatural crime.

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

At the moment I am doing a lot of childcare due to nursery closures (!) and juggling that with moving a couple of my cancelled live events online and editing my second crime book, Where The Missing Gather. I also grow my own vegetables, keep rescue chickens, and spend as much time as I can out in the garden.

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

In normal circumstances my daughter is at nursery and I would spend several hours a day writing, which is simply not possible at the moment. I also do a lot of live events, and I’m missing the buzz of meeting audiences and chatting about my books face to face. It’s been devastating watching book festival after book festival cancel this year – I was so looking forward to them all! And then there’s the need for headspace that comes with writing. With all the anxiety around a global pandemic it is very hard to find the mental peace to just sit and think.

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

My most recent book is When The Dead Come Calling, in which a series of murders in a small, isolated coastal village seem inexplicable until the police, led by DI Georgie Strachan, look to the distant past. Meanwhile, someone – or something – is hiding in the haunted cave beneath the cliffs…

It is a book that looks at the urban rural divide, at class inequalities, internalised racism and sexism, and at how our past is never truly buried.

My forthcoming book is the next in my Burrowhead Mysteries series, Where The Missing Gather, and will continue to explore how this isolated rural community is fracturing. A skeleton is uncovered in a local field from decades ago, and DI Strachan has to piece together a terrible scandal in the village while those still alive to remember it close ranks.

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

When The Dead Come Calling is full of hidden secrets and festering suspicions, in an isolated village where no one is really who they seem. It is a police investigation full of unexpected twists and hidden histories, with an atmosphere that will chill you to the bone.

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

My to-be-read pile includes Chris Whitaker, Margaret Kirk, Susi Holliday, Will Dean and Syd Moore.

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

I’m going to go to my local café, order a coffee and my favourite brunch of avocado and poached egg on sourdough, and write without interruption!

To find out more about Helen Sedgwick and her books, visit the CRA website.