Foto: Roz Watkins
I am really glad you’ve accepted my interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
I’d always liked the idea of being a writer but never did anything about it whilst I still had a mentally-demanding day job (I was a patent attorney). After I left this job, I bought a place with my partner that had two holiday cottages to renovate. It was while I was doing the renovations that I started writing. I sometimes wonder if it was dealing with builders that made me start thinking about murdering people! (Just kidding – my builders were lovely!)
First I wrote some short stories and entered a few online competitions. I was encouraged by this, because I was short and long-listed for a few. Then I decided to have a go at a novel, having no idea what was involved! I bought ‚The Idiots Guide to Writing a Novel‘ and took it from there. I became somewhat obsessed. I must have read about fifty books on how to write a book.
Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
I was very fortunate and had a relatively easy time of it! I went to the York Festival of Writing in 2015 and had a one-to-one with a book doctor (a crime writer). She liked my first chapter and passed it to her agent, Diana Beaumont. Diana asked me to send her the whole thing when it was finished, which I did, and she took me on. I was also runner up in the first chapter competition and had a couple of other agents from York who expressed an interest.
I had worked very hard on my novel by this time. Before York Festival, I’d won a critique in a competition and I’d also put the whole thing through an online critiquing website, Scribophile, and had got feedback via local courses and from writer friends.
My agent helped me edit for a couple of months to get the book in the best form for submission, and started sending it out before London Book Fair. To my astonishment, we had a pre-emptive offer for Germany (for two books) via a scout within a couple of days. We then got interest from ITV about a week later (by which time I was ready for men in white coats to come and take me away). The UK deal (for three books) took a couple more nail-biting weeks, and in that time I added an extra murder to the book, on the advice of one editor! I’m not sure how many rejections we had because I decided it would be better for my mental state not to see them. If we hadn’t got anywhere with the first round of submissions, we’d then have reviewed them and looked at the feedback.
Could you describe literature in three words?
Accessing other minds.
Is there a book you would never read? Why?
Nothing springs to mind but I can’t cope when bad things happen to animals!
What’s your favorite book?
That varies from day to day! I love ‚Falling‘ by Colin Thubron.
Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.
EBooks or paper print?
Lots of both!
What inspires you?
Reading, walking the dog, and meeting readers and other writers. Oh and gin.
Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
I’d like a chat with Eva from ‚We need to talk about Kevin“
I think she’s a fascinating, multi-layered character and I feel sorry for her. Everyone seems to blame her for what happened. I’m also intrigued by psychopaths (which I think Kevin was).
What’s your worst nightmare?
My character, DI Meg Dalton, has to live most of them, so I’m not saying too much, but one of them involves having to swim underwater to escape from a flooded cave.
The best decision of your life was?
My best difficult decision was giving up my career as a patent attorney. I’m not as well-paid now, but I have no regrets!
I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
‚Cut to the Bone‘ comes out on 25th June 2020. This is the blurb:
A beautiful young social-media star goes missing.
But who took her?
When controversial internet celebrity Violet Armstrong vanishes in the middle of a scorching Peak District summer, the case sparks a media frenzy.
The clock is ticking for DI Meg Dalton and her team to find Violet before online threats explode into real-life violence. And then the blood and hair of a young woman are found in an empty pig trough at the local abattoir…
The more Meg finds out about this unnerving case, the more she becomes convinced that something very, very bad has happened to Violet. With temperatures rising and the press demanding answers, the case is about to take a terrifying turn…
In bestselling author Roz Watkins’ chilling new thriller, DI Meg Dalton must face her most disturbing case yet. Perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves, Susie Steiner and Val McDermid.
I am working on something else – all will be revealed later in the year!