Yay! After missing last month (pesky family birthdays), I was back at First Monday (technically Second Monday) for another great event. The crime authors were debut novelists – Michelle Adams and Mark Hill, along with two very experienced authors – Jane Casey and Chris Brookmyre. Heading up proceedings was Joe Haddow from Radio 2.
So first up – those all important books!
My Sister is the debut novel from Michelle Adams. Michelle is a part-time scientist, currently living in Cyprus. The book is about two sisters who have a very toxic relationship. One of them attempts to find out the truth while the other tries to hide it.
Want You Gone is the third book in the Jack Parlabane series by Chris Brookmyre. Essentially, the book is about hacking and online blackmail. Chris was keen to point out that some of the word games played on social media aren’t always wise – name of your first pet teamed with your mother’s maiden name to make your porn star name – gives away two pieces of important security information. So don’t do it!
Jane Casey’s Let The Dead Speak is the seventh book in the Maeve Kerrigan series. A teenage girl comes home to find the family house covered in blood and her mother missing. As so many books and television series often focus on the body and what clues can be gleaned from it, Jane wanted to explore what would happen if you didn’t have a body.
Mark Hill’s debut is Two O’Clock Boy (you can read my review here) and is the first in the DI Ray Drake series. Written in two timelines, the story is told with multiple viewpoints. DI Ray Drake is investigating a series of murders but finds himself up to his ears in trouble.
One of Joe’s questions was the importance of location and whether you needed to know a place well to be able to write about it.
For Chris Brookmyre, knowing a location is important but often first impressions are best. Although Chris’ novels are often coined as Tartan Noir, he likes to set books where they need to be. Want You Gone is set in London. He once set a book in LA and his next one is set in space!
Place is important for Jane Casey too and the house in her story is almost like one of the characters. Being from Ireland means that she can write about London with a bit of distance. She thinks she’s too sentimental about Dublin to write about it.
Mark Hill was actually on holiday in Manhattan when he started writing Two O’Clock Boy. It was snowing, he could see Central Park from the window and he was writing about Wood Green Bus Station.
What about writing routines? Strict or fluid?
As Michelle is working during the day, her writing hours tend to be 5-11pm. However, she’s learnt to work wherever she is and finds herself often thinking about her story.
Chris’ work hours tend to be office hours, although when his children were younger, it was nursery/school hours. He finds that manual tasks help to free up creativity as does walking. It’s easier to dictate into a phone now without looking stupid, as long as no one hears you talking about how to dispose of a body.
Jane is of the belief that everyone in London has at least one murderous thought a day – on public transport or the monotony of pushing a swing for an hour in the park. So her thoughts are always focused, not least because her husband is a criminal barrister and a volunteer police officer. They’ve been known to clear restaurants with their dinner talk.
Mark tends to write in short bursts – intensive fifteen minutes or so. Some of his book *may* have been written when he was meant to be working on the Alan Carr radio show.
To finish off – a question from the audience. Current favourite reads.
Michelle – Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown
Chris – Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb books
Jane – He Said, She Said by Erin Kelly
Mark – Die Of Shame by Mark Billingham
There are so many other things I could tell you but you all have lives to lead. But I will leave you with some very wise words from Chris Brookmyre – Don’t make yourself a target for hackers!
Michelle Adams – to find out more and buy My Sister, click here
Chris Brookmyre – to find out more and buy Want You Gone, click here
Jane Casey – to find out more and buy Let The Dead Speak, click here
Mark Hill – to find out more and buy Two O’Clock Boy, click here
Of course, other booksellers are available!
So, First Monday will be back on Monday 5th June, and just look at who’s coming! James Oswald will also be there, along with Barry Forshaw to lead the evening.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: It will be 7- 8pm rather than the usual 6.30pm start. Tickets for £7 can be bought here from Goldsboro Books.