Friday, 7 July 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Colette McBeth

Welcome to my latest BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 

Today I'm delighted to welcome 


to share her BEST OF CRIME ... 

I’m a huge fan of Liz Nugent’s work, she has a knack of making you feel sympathy for some pretty despicable characters! And there’s a wonderful dark humour to her writing. If you haven’t read Unravelling Oliver yet then you really should, it’s one of a kind. And Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner was one of the best books I read in the last year, although I did hate her a little for writing so well. Finally, everyone should read Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys this summer because it is glorious treat of a novel.

Silence of the Lambs. Those teeth!! I couldn’t sleep for weeks afterwards. But the characterization in the film was phenomenal, that was made it stand out, not all the gore or violence. Just a character who could get right under your skin and stay there for a long while afterwards.

I recently finished watching Big Little Lies which I thought was TV at its best, one of those programmes that turns out to be so much more than you expect. I’d read the book, but this was a rare case of the screen adaptation being even better (for me at least.) We’re also big fans of House of Cards in our house. Although Trump’s presidency has made everything look tame.

I read Fiona Cummins' Rattle late last year and I have to say she created one of the most unnerving, unsettling serial killers I have ever come across. Also Cady, in Cape Fear, the way he keeps coming back no matter what you through at him. I think it’s the mix of intellect and knowledge and a psychopathic personality that is so potent.

Dempsey and Makepeace. I’m probably showing my age here but it was one of the first police shows I was allowed to watch. I wanted Makepeace’s wardrobe, I can’t say I was all that interested in the crime fighting side of things. I also grew up readying Nancy Drew. It’s probably thanks to her that from an early age I tried to find a mystery in everything.

The deep fat fryer in Spooks, where the bad guy puts Lisa Faulkner’s head into the pan. Does that count? I remember watching it thinking, no, he’s not going to do that… surely he can’t… oh look, he is! It still gives me the heebie jeebies.

I don’t use one specific site for research, but my search history isn’t pretty. For research I hunt experts down and threaten to kill them off in a book if they don’t help me. It’s amazing how receptive they are. But seriously, I’ve found people are extremely helpful as long as you don’t demand anything, and the level of research varies a lot from book to book. With my debut Precious Thing I had very little to do as part of it was set in a newsroom and I’d spent all my career working in them. With The Life I Left Behind I relied on a group of about four or five experts to hold my hand. They were phenomenally generous with their time.

I’m at the stage of booking writing where I wish I could give myself some tips! It doesn’t get any easier. One thing that makes authors groan is when people say, I’d love to write a book but I haven’t got time.’ No one has time. Quit watching TV, say no to invitations, become a hermit. Great books have been written in 20 minutes chunks on a Tube, it’s more a question of how much you want it.
Also, know what your story is, and by that I don’t mean a synopsis of the plot, I mean the essence of it, its beating heart.

This very much depends on the time of the day because I pretty much eat continuously. Mid morning and I’m still delusionally healthy so I’ll graze on fruit but by afternoon I’m mainlining the dark chocolate, any gluten free biscuits or cake I can get my hands on. If I’m working in the evening I call in the heavies; crisps, nuts and wine (one glass otherwise I can’t write.) It’s no wonder that by the end of a book I have to prize my backside out of the chair.

Colette spent more than a decade at the BBC, working as a national television news correspondent. She spent much of her time covering crime stories, hiding out inside The Old Bailey and did a stint as a political correspondent at Westminster. 
Previously, she worked as a news editor at Sky News and started her career as a trainee journalist on The Journal in Newcastle. 
Although she’s Scottish, she moved to England as a child and grew up in Whitley Bay on the North East coast. After living in London for too long, she finally persuaded her family to move bedside the seaside. She know lives in Hove with her husband and three children. 

Find Colette McBeth on her website, FB page and on Twitter - @colettemcbeth


Publisher's description
These are the facts I collect.
My son Gabriel met a woman called Mariela in a bar. She went home with him. They next morning she was found in an allotment.
Mariela is dead.
Gabriel has been asked to report to Camden Police station in six hours for questioning
Linda Moscow loves her son; it's her biological instinct to keep him safe. But if she's not sure of his innocence, how can she stand by him? Should she go against everything she believes in to protect him?
She's done it before, and the guilt nearly killed her.
Now, the past is catching up with them. As old secrets resurface, Lind is faced with another impossible choice. Only this time, it's her life on the line...

An Act of Silence was published by Wildfire on 29 June 2017.

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