Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you write crime fiction? What can I expect from reading one of your books?
I like that feeling of unsettlement you can get when reading a piece of crime fiction and although these stories are made up I do like to base my novels on real-life events. The Inspector Carruthers series is set in the picturesque East Neuk of Fife, which is an area of Scotland close to my heart, although Care to Die takes our Inspector to Iceland and Mark of the Devil to Estonia. I’m aware it’s stretching police procedure a tad but I’m happy to say, when all said and done, the books are still a work of fiction. I write the type of books I would like to read and I’m very fortunate that I’ve been blessed with some fabulous reviews. Becoming a number one bestselling author was far beyond my wildest dreams. What can you expect when you read one of my books? A gritty read but with a hugely emotional side to the plots.
I try to create a strong sense of place with interesting characters and I’ve been told that I don’t shirk from writing about difficult subjects, which is true. This is what I love about crime fiction: the setting; characterisation and books that have a strong plot! The very first novel I ever read in this genre was Peter Robinson’s ‘In a Dry Season’ which I still maintain is his best. Reading that book literally changed my life as it made me realise I wanted to be a writer. I’m also a huge fan of Ann Cleeves and Henning Mankell.
Should I read the books in order?
Each book can be read as a standalone in terms of its plot but since the personal lives of the characters move on it’s worth reading them in order if that’s what you would like to do.
Will there be more books in the series?
I certainly hope so. ‘Dark is the Day’ was published in May 2019 and I’m currently writing the fifth in the series, ‘In Deep Water,’ which is partly set on the Isle of May off Anstruther, Fife. It’s a very watery tale of murder!
It’s obvious that Castletown is St Andrews. Why not just call it St Andrews?
I make no bones about the fact Castletown is clearly modelled on St Andrews. I did consider keeping the town as St Andrews but once RAF Leuchars shut its doors in 2015 I knew I had to fictionalise the RAF base and it just seemed easier in the first book to also fictionalise the town. Plus I wanted to grow the town into a size bigger than that of St Andrews. That said, I keep Anstruther as Anstruther. Don’t ask me why. Call it creative licence.
I’ve seen your books available on Amazon. Will I also be able to buy a paperback in the shops?
Bloodhound Books, who publish the Inspector Carruthers series, specialise in digital publishing. However, although ebooks account for the majority of sales the series is also available to purchase on Amazon in both paperback and the first two in audio. If you would like to buy the paperback from your local bookshop you should be able to get it ordered in if you don’t see it on the shelves. And you should also be able to ask for your local library to stock it.
Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?
Yes! Keep writing and don’t give up. Believe in yourself but also know that you can probably get better. Remember that aspects of writing can be taught. Be open to criticism from other writers, if it’s helpful. Start going to crime writing festivals. Writers, bloggers, and readers in the crime fiction community are really supportive and I wouldn’t be where I am today with a three book publishing deal if it hadn’t been for the help and support from other writers.
Will you answer every correspondence?
While I endeavour to answer every email I get sent there may be a delay if I’m in the middle of a round of edits. Please be aware that I often get asked to donate a free book to a worthy cause. I only get given two free books from the publishers for my own use so if you can think of a creative way for me to help your charity without donating books that is not too time consuming then do let me know and I’d be happy to help!