Val McDermid: ‘I needed to be extremely leftwing to get a rise out of anybody in our house’

The crime writer talks about her liberal parents, dangerous outings with her father and the pleasures of motherhood

Interview by Donna Ferguson

The day after I was born, I was taken off to an isolation hospital. My parents had both had TB and there was a concern that I might develop it myself. So I spent the first three months of my life in hospital, 30-odd miles away from where my parents lived in Kirkcaldy. There was no bus service and my parents didn’t have a car, so they only managed to visit once in that time. When my mother saw me, she didn’t recognise me. She just walked straight past me.

We’re Scottish! We don’t talk about our emotions

All her life, I think my mum tried to love me in the way she knew she ought to – she tried to make herself feel that absolute bond that you’re supposed to have between mother and child. But we didn’t have that intimacy. A few months before she died, she said – almost in passing – “I always thought we never bonded properly, because we were separated when you were born.” That was the first time she’d ever directly addressed it. We’re Scottish! We don’t talk about our emotions.

Read the full article on the Guardian website…

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