VAL MCDERMID’S RESEARCH ADVICE: GET ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS YOU DIDN’T ASK…

UK – Scottish crime writer Val McDermid told an audience at Impact 2018 that the best research and insight into people’s lives comes from the answers to the questions you haven’t asked.

Interviewed by Martin Lee, Acacia Avenue’s co-founder and strategist, McDermid was speaking at the climax of this week’s MRS conference.

She talked about her childhood in Kirkcaldy in Fife, how a sole Agatha Christie novel (sitting alongside a bible) at her grandparents’ house sewed the seed of her crime fiction career, and how a love of libraries allowed that seed to grow and flourish.
Born into a working class family, McDermid later became the first student from a Scottish state school to be admitted to St Hilda’s College Oxford.

But this course of her life hinged on a strategy of deceit during her childhood. As a nine year-old, she had to fabricate her mother being ill in order to take adult books out of the library. The ruse worked for years and McDermid’s muse was fed by works including those of Christie.

But that minor crime  came back to bite her. When she attended an event at the library, her mother in tow, and the two librarians whom she had lied to were there, apparently very surprised. “Mrs McDermid,” they said to her mother, “we thought you must be dead, being an invalid all those years.”

McDermid’s literary beginnings were not in crime, but in an attempt to “write the great English novel”. A failure, but one that was subsequently transformed into a play, and saw McDermid gain an agent and the accidental status of playwright at age 23.

Read full article…

‘It seems to be taboo to say some kids are just bad’: Crime writer Denise Mina on her story for new book Bloody Scotland…

ONE of Scotland’s leading crime writers, Denise Mina, is used to putting her fans through the wringer.

But it was her turn to feel the chill when she visited Edinburgh Castle to research a story.

She said: “My pal and I were given a behind-the-scenes tour to all the parts visitors don’t see, like John Maclean’s cell, wooden walkways above a sheer cliff and toilets that soldiers used which had an 80ft drop.
“It felt like a real honour and privilege that we got to see it.
“The guide also took us to David’s Tower, which is the oldest part of the castle.
“We went down this shoogly 50ft staircase. He told us it was safe but it was swinging.

“I’m not great with heights and I wanted to stop half way down and start crying. It was like gripping on to a cliff face.”

Denise, from Glasgow, was one of 12 Tartan Noir authors asked to write a story set in an iconic Scottish location for new book, Bloody Scotland.

Read the full article…

« Older Entries Newer Entries »

Category: Interviews (page 2 of 19)