Travelling to CrimeFest in the UK earlier this year gave me a brilliant opportunity to meet some of the authors whose blogs I'd been following, and who I'd only known previously through social media.
Sarah Ward is one of those authors. Gracious with her time, enthusiastic about the genre, and a huge supporter of fellow writers and bloggers, it gives me great pleasure to welcome her here to the blog this week to talk about her 2015 novel, In Bitter Chill, as well as imminent release, A Deadly Thaw.
There are multiple points of view, particularly police characters, in In Bitter Chill. What drove this decision, and was it something you set out to do on purpose?
There are multiple viewpoints but to ensure that it isn't confusing for the reader the book is structured between chapters from Rachel Jones point of view (the girl who was kidnapped and is now an adult) and the police investigation into the killing of a woman who was a teacher at the girls' school. I wanted to write about a police investigation but I also wanted the victim's voice to be heard as a functioning adult. The idea that you can overcome past experiences.
So, we both started out reading the Famous Five as kids – how did your love of crime fiction evolve from there? Were you influenced by your friends’ and family’s tastes in reading?
I've never been particularly influenced by other people's reading tastes. Like most other keen readers, it was mother who started off my love of books by reading stories to me. Then as soon as I could read, I was choosing my own books mainly from the school and local library. From the Famous Five and Secret Seven books I moved onto Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew series, then Agatha Christie and the golden age writers. In my twenties it was a mixture of British crime fiction (Ruth Rendell and PD James in particular) and the American PI books of Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller and Sara Paretsky.
What’s the attraction to Scandinavian crime thrillers all about? How does it differ to British crime from a reader’s perspective?
Henning Mankell was my first Scandinavian crime fiction love. His books were so well constructed and with such a strong sense of place, I was hooked. It made me want to explore other books in the genre and I moved onto Jo Nesbo, Arnaldur Indridason and Yrsa Sigurdardottir. In terms of differing from British crime fiction, I find the Scandis slightly more inclined to address political issues in their crime novels and, also, the influence of landscape is very strong. I don't want to overstate the case though. There's a lot of crossover between British and Scandi crime.
Thanks for being a guest on the blog this week, Sarah - and I look forward to catching up with you again in the UK next year!
A Deadly Thaw will be published on 30 August, 2016 and is available for pre-order here:
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