I am delighted today to be hosting a Q & A with Claire McGowan as part of the official the Silent Dead blog tour..
Victim: Male. Mid-thirties. 5'7". Cause of death: Hanging. Initial impression - murder. ID: Mickey Doyle. Suspected terrorist and member of the Mayday Five. The officers at the crime scene know exactly who the victim is. Doyle was one of five suspected bombers who caused the deaths of sixteen people. The remaining four are also missing and when a second body is found, decapitated, it's clear they are being killed by the same methods their victims suffered. Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire is assigned the case but she is up against the clock - both personally and professionally. With moral boundaries blurred between victim and perpetrator, will be Paula be able to find those responsible? After all, even killers deserve justice, don't they?
Did you always want to be an author?
Yes, I started writing my first book when I was nine, though I only got a few pages in. it was always my dream to be a writer.
If so did you always want to write Crime fiction, or did you ever have a different genre in mind?
No – I’m interested in most genres really, and in fact I also write romcoms under another name. But I love the the puzzle element of crime fiction, and the way it reflects our darkest sides.
Writing about bombs, murders, decapitations etc must be gruesome at times? When you are writing something dark or disturbing do you often find the need to escape?
I don’t find the gore upsetting so much as the emotional and sad bits. I’m lucky I also write lighter fiction, so it’s nice to have the contrast between the two if it all gets a bit much. What I also find hard is when I discover real-life stories that are very close to things I’ve written – that really brings it home.
If so what is your favourite way to ‘get away from it all’?
I like going on writing retreats, and having a few days away from emails and chores, just holing up with the book. That really helps me get a clear mind and focus. If I need to get away from writing I’ll do something active, like swing dancing or swimming.
Do you have a favourite author?
My favourite crime author is probably Tana French – she is amazing at both lyrical prose and gripping, twisty plots.
Is there anyone that particularly inspires you – literary or otherwise?
I find the author Lionel Shriver very inspiring. Not only is she brilliant, but she faced a lot of setbacks before her seventh book made it big, and she seems to always have faith in herself and dedication to her work as a writer.
If you could have written any novel what would it be?
The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Such a brilliant portrait of people breaking down. I’ve read it about ten times!
Do you have any peculiar writing habits or quirks?
I like to write in bed – it makes me feel somehow cushioned from the world, and I find it easier not to get distracted by the internet for some reason!
What are you reading at the moment?
I sat up too late to finish The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood, a pitch-black and twisty thriller that cuts very close to the bone.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about how you write?
Everything I read gives me a different perspective, particularly on how to do the technical things like viewpoint, plot, and characterisation. That’s why I try to read a wide range of genres and authors too.
Do you prefer an E-book or a physical book?
Both – I read a lot of ebooks as they’re so convenient and easy, but I’ve gone back to paper books for bedtime, as I think the light of my tablet is keeping me awake! And it’s nice to get immersed in the book instead.
Is there another novel on the cards? If so can you give anything away yet?
Yes, I’m 20,000 words into Paula Maguire 5, which is set on a cut-off island, and is so far a lot of fun to write.
A huge thank you to Claire for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can catch up with the rest of the blog tour here:
Read my Review of the Silent Dead here.
Thank you to Bookbridgr who organised and allowed me to take part in the blog tour.