Hi everyone, and thanks to Pauline for inviting me along to Chill!
You know when you reach a really low point, doubting your ability, whatever that ability might be? In my case it was to survive as a crime writer in a very overcrowded market, without the backing of a decent publisher. I am really rubbish at (and embarrassed by) self-promo and I was seriously considering whether it was time to slope off quietly and learn to knit. But then lovely blogger and on-line friend Anne Williams (BeingAnne.com) suggested I submit Hostile Witness to Chill with a Book for their verdict – which I did.
A couple of weeks or so and lots of fingernail biting later, Pauline emailed the readers’ verdict – I’d been honoured with an Award! Cue huge sighs of relief and some galumphing happy dances around the house, which was thankfully empty apart from me. I realise it’s not the Nobel Prize for Literature – Bob Dylan has already bagged that this year, even if he’s not planning to turn up to collect it in person – but to me it is a valuable token of recognition that I’m not totally crap after all at putting words on a page in a reasonable order that makes some sense. Sincere thanks to Pauline and her readers for that little boost in self confidence, when very much needed.
So….how did I come to write crime? It’s not just that I have a warped mind – really. I spent a great deal of time in my room as a child, living vicariously in my head and trying not to be noticed. I read and read – from Enid Blyton up, through the complete works of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie, with a bit of Dennis Wheatley thrown in, plus many more. And so the die was well and truly cast, to paraphrase Suetonius. My young mind was seduced by the dastardly deeds and convoluted plots so beloved of the genre, and when my field of expertise many years later became serial killers, terrorists (especially suicide bombers and black widows) and psychopaths generally, I was probably never going to write anything that didn’t have blood seeping from the pages. Having said that, there is always a romantic sub-plot to be found in my books amongst the corpses, because we all have multiple strands to our lives.
When I’m not visualising ever-more ghastly ways of killing off characters, I’m a wife and mother of four strapping young men – but best of all, Granny Annie* to six. With three daughters-in-law (I fear no one will ever take pity on #3 son) and three granddaughters, I am gradually redressing the balance of being gender-outnumbered. And I get to buy pink, even though I don’t like it that much. Now, the OH and I are the only inhabitants of our large, falling-down house in Norfolk, bought to accommodate the family all those years ago – but since he’s away a lot for work and sometimes for extended periods, it’s often just me. Second childhood, really!
*Nell Peters is a nom de plume – my real name is Anne, with a double-barrelled surname that’s a bit of a mouthful. So, I pinched my parents’ Christian names – et voila!