Today I'm delighted to welcome
to share her BEST OF CRIME ...
I grew up reading Agatha Christie as I’m sure did many other crime writers and I am still awed by her plotting skills, her ability to build suspense and her ingenuity. I have rarely been able to guess the ending of an Agatha Christie novel. Of the more recent crime novelists, my favourite has to be Jo Nesbo as his novels are such page-turners and, for me, a great crime novel is one that you just can’t put down. His plots are fabulous, his characters fantastically well drawn and he has an enviable ability to generate fear. I remember reading The Snowman, while alone in the house and literally being too frightened to move from the sofa until my husband got back from his night out at about 1 a.m.!
The film that has disturbed my psyche for the longest has to be Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. One night my sister, who was supposed to be babysitting me, put it on when her boyfriend came around and I watched it, terrified, from behind a sofa cushion. I must have been about twelve and she was fifteen. I wouldn’t shower with the curtain closed for literally twenty-years after seeing that film. It is the ultimate psychological chiller.
... TV DRAMAS
My favourite TV crime dramas of recent years have been the Scandi dramas, The Bridge and The Killing. The plots are fabulous, but the thing that really hooked me with both series were the characters, which had incredible depth and were so well drawn.
I will happily while away a couple of hours watching Silent Witness as it always has good plots. I also love stand alone psychological crime dramas such as the recent, The Replacement, which was gripping, except for the ending which was bizarre and rather unsatisfying. A good crime novel or series must have a good ending, otherwise it feels like an anti-climax.
... FICTIONAL KILLERS
My top fictional killer has four legs. I used to read a lot of Arthur Conan Doyle’s, Sherlock Holmes when I was growing up and The Hound of the Baskervilles was the killer I found by far the most frightening and memorable.
... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES
Women are often portrayed as victims in crime literature and so I love Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, because she is such a kick-arse woman. When I came to create my series character, Jessie Flynn, I also wanted to create a character who celebrates the huge number of strong, funny, clever, independent women that I know.
... MURDER WEAPONS
I have always been fascinated by the ‘whys’ of human behaviour – what motivates people to behave as they do – and the psychological motivations for murder interest me far more than the mechanics of the actual murder. Having said that, I think that being buried alive must be a truly horrid way to die. Offhand, I can’t think of a novelist who has used this method, but I’m sure that a few have.
... DEATH SCENES
Being a psychologist, my preferred death scene would be for someone to be so tormented that they commit suicide.
I try to avoid the Internet as much as possible when I’m writing as surfing seems to Hoover up time like no other activity! I have three young children, so I tend to use every spare minute that they’re at school to write. When I have time off, I like to spend it outside, walking the dogs, gardening, cycling or just enjoying nature.
... WRITING TIPS
Time spent plotting is never wasted. I am an avid plotter and will spend a good two or three months plotting my novels and fleshing out the characters in great detail before I write a word, and so my top tip for anyone who is interested in writing a crime novel is to spend quality time plotting. An intricately carved, twisty-turny story that keeps me guessing until the end is, for me, a critical feature of a great crime novel.
... WRITING SNACKS
I have writing drinks rather than writing snacks: full-fat milk lattes in the morning and Sauvignon Blanc in the evening, neither of which do positive things for my waist line.
About KATE MEDINA
Kate Medina has always been fascinated by the ‘whys’ of human behaviour, an interest that drove her to study Psychology at university and later to start a crime series featuring clinical psychologist, Dr Jessie Flynn. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and her debut novel White Crocodile received widespread critical acclaim, as did Fire Damage, the first book in the Jessie Flynn series.
Before turning to writing full time, Kate spent five years in the Territorial Army and has lectured at the London Business School and the London School of Economics. She lives in London with her husband and three children.
About SCARED TO DEATH
A baby is abandoned in the middle of the night at Royal Surrey County Hospital. DI Bobby ‘Marilyn’ Simmons suspects the father is planning to take his own life following the violent suicide of his eldest son Danny a year earlier. The race is on to find him.
Captain Ben Callan is investigating a suspicious death. Just sixteen years old, Stephen Foster has been stabbed in the neck with a screwdriver. Someone tried to save his life – but who? And why haven’t they come forward?
When psychologist Dr Jessie Flynn is called in to consult on both cases, she sees connections between the deaths of Danny and Stephen. And when she starts counselling a third traumatized young man, Jessie fears he faces the same fate...
Scared to Death is being published by HarperCollins on 4 May 2017.
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