I am delighted that MEL SHERRATT is joining me on my blog today. Mel's latest book - Only the Brave - was published by Thomas & Mercer on 26 May 2015.
I like writing about underdogs, often showing their good sides as well as their mean streaks – plus writing about situations that escalate out of control. I also like a sense of justice, the knowledge that either someone is caught for committing a crime or someone is getting help to move on and improve his or her life.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere - a song title or lyric, a newspaper report, a TV program or a news bulletin. A comment on social media. If I’m ever stuck for ideas for The Estate Series, for example, I can pick up a women’s magazine and find plot lines galore.
Have your personal experiences influenced your writing? And if so, how?
I think every writer’s personal experience influences their writing. One of the main themes in a lot of my books comes from the sense of feeling abandoned. My parents divorced when I was a child and I think this stems from memories of my childhood. Also working as a housing officer for the local authority for eight years meant that I saw some terrible situations, some you would think would be fiction rather than fact. This background knowledge was a great starting point for ideas to ferment. A writer mostly twists reality with the words ‘what if.’
Gritty, raw, emotional and passionate. And lots of short sentences.
Do you have any strange writing habits?
Erm – none that I know of.
Do you plot out the whole book before you start or just start writing and see where it leads you?
I plot a lot of it, having a vague beginning, middle and end. I create the characters and then I start writing, letting the main ones dictate to a certain extent. If I go off the original plan, I always tend to come back to the same ending.
Your books obviously involve in-depth research. What's the most interesting place you have visited for one of your books? And what's the strangest? Have you visited anywhere particularly frightening?
I don’t actually do a lot of research, except around any social issues that I might touch on, and for that, I research on the Internet or read a book on a particular subject, or a case study. I haven’t been to any strange places, as my books are either set in my hometown of Stoke-on-Trent or in a fictional town (The Estate Series). The weirdest one was visiting the police station where my detective sergeant, Allie Shenton, is based. I could have sworn I saw her walking down the corridor towards her desk.
What do you consider to be the hardest part of your writing?
Switching off. It’s such a fascinating job - there is always something to learn, to read, to research.
Do you read? If so, who are your favourite authors?
I like crime fiction, psychological thrillers and women’s fiction (although I don’t particularly like that phrase – there’s no such thing as men’s fiction.) I have a few favourite authors whose books I read as soon as they come out, such as C L Taylor, Elizabeth Haynes, Martina Cole and Kimberley Chambers. For women’s fiction, it’s Rowan Coleman, Lisa Jewell and Lucy Diamond. I read a lot of books to provide quotes for too. There is a mass of talent out there.
My editor calls me Ms Brit Grit-Lit so it would have to be something along those lines. Something like 'Everyone likes an Underdog'. Now, I’m sniggering.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Advice I give to any aspiring writer is to find what is best for them. We all go on different journeys to achieve our goals – and all our goals are different. Self-publishing gave me some massive opportunities but I was hard at it for years before that. What works for one might not necessarily work for you, but keep at it. Experiment, have fun, and it will show in your work.
And lastly, why should people read your latest book?
Because Only the Brave would dare miss out…
About Mel Sherratt
Met Sherratt writes police procedurals, psychological suspense and fiction with a punch - or grit-lit, as she calls it. She has related three psychological thrillers in a series, The Estate, and Watching Over You, a dark, erotic thriller. More recently, she has made her first novel, Taunting the Dead, into the first of a series, with Follow the Leader and Only the Brave, books 2 and 3 respectively, both published this year.
Only the Brave
Published by Thomas & Mercer (26 May 2015)
When one of the notorious Johnson brothers is murdered and a bag of money goes missing, a deadly game of cat and mouse is set in motion.
DS Allie Shenton and her team are called in to catch the killer, but the suspects are double-crossing each other and Allie has little time to untangle the web of lies.
As she delves deeper into the case, things take a personal turn when Allie realises she is being stalked b the very same person who attacked her sister seventeen years ago and left her for dead.
Read my review here