I am really glad you’ve accepted my interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thank you for inviting me! 😀
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
I started my career as a journalist. My first job was working as a crime reporter and, like Harper, the first place I ever worked was at a newspaper in Savannah, Georgia, in the US. I remained in journalism until I moved to England. In the UK, I became a freelance editor and writer, and it was while I was doing that that I wrote my first novel. The first fiction I ever had published was a series called Night School, a dark thriller set at a British boarding school. The Echo Killing is my first crime novel.
Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
I tried writing novels for several years before finally completing a book I would share with anyone. That book was Night School. It may have taken a while to finally complete it, but I was very lucky with Night School because my timing was good – there was a big young adult trend at the time, following the success of The Hunger Games and Twilight. Publishers were eager for new YA thrillers, so I quickly found publishers in the UK and Europe. It was pure chance.
Is there a book you would never read? Why?
I generally avoid books about serial killers. I couldn’t tell you why but, for some reason, I simply cannot read them.
What’s your favorite book?
I love almost too many books to count. One I’ve read more than once is The Likeness, by Tana French. It follows a female Irish detective investigating a murder victim who looks exactly like her. In an unlikely but fascinating ruse, she embeds herself with the victim’s friends – becoming the victim long enough to find out who killed her.
“It took my breath away, that evening. If you’ve ever dreamed that you walked into your best-loved book or film or TV program, then maybe you’ve got some idea how it felt: things coming alive around you, strange and new and utterly familiar at the same time; the catch in your heartbeat as you move through the rooms that had such a vivid untouchable life in your mind, as your feet actually touch the carpet, as you breathe the air; the odd, secret glow of warmth as these people you’ve been watching for so long, from so far away, open their circle and sweep you into it.”
― Tana French, The Likeness
EBooks or paper print?
Paper, unless I’m travelling. Then E.
What inspires you?
Real life. 99% of what I write is inspired by a real place, a real person, a real crime, a real victim. Night School was inspired by a real British boarding school and a real secret organization of elite students at Oxford. The Echo Killing was inspired by my past as a crime reporter. I get that one moment – that starting point – then I make the rest up.
Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
One of the many books I love is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s about a mysterious circus that travels the world, never announcing where it’s going. It arrives in a town without warning, sets up in the night. When the people of the town wake up, the circus is simply there. It opens only at night, and closes before dawn. Wherever it appears, the circus is a place of wonder and magic. Unpredictable and unforgettable.
I want to meet The Night Circus.
What’s your worst nightmare?
Not being a writer. I literally have no other skills.
The best decision of your life was?
I left the US nearly 20 years ago on the half-serious offer of a job in London. It was the bravest decision I ever made. I have zero regrets.
I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
Book 2 in the The Echo Killing series is finished! In English it’s called A Beautiful Corpse. It starts when a body is found at the heart of the Savannah tourist district. When Harper gets to the scene, she discovers that the corpse has a familiar face. Her determined investigation unfurls a tale of obsession and desire, even as the newspaper where she works struggles to survive. Her job and her life are both on the line. It will be published in English in April 2019, and in German a few months later. I can’t wait for everyone to read it.