Today I am very happy to have an interview with the lovely Marnie Riches, author of The Girl Who novels the latest of which is The Girl Who Had No Fear. Questions via Gordon owner/occupier of Grab This Book.
You were spotted chilling at Crimefest with AK Benedict and at Harrogate last year you photo-bombed Lee Child. Do you enjoy getting to the Book Festivals or is it just part of the job?
I absolutely adore going to CrimeFest and Harrogate, though these are really the only two festivals I can afford to attend at present. I have designs on Bloody Scotland but might only be able to justify it if I’m asked to be on a panel. We’ll see… In the first year that I went to CrimeFest & Harrogate (2015), I was fascinated by the topics discussed in the panels and buoyed by the interesting chat from my contemporaries. What an impressive and welcoming bunch they are. I met so many bloggers as well as other authors. People’s generosity of spirit was a revelation. I had a scream! I won an award! I drank my own body weight in champagne, thanks to the former publishing director from Avon, Eli Dryden! But in 2016, I now know so many other authors on the circuit that it has really become a social thing for me, more than anything. At Harrogate, there was even a crime writers’ trip to the Viper Rooms (Harrogate’s night club) and yes, there was bad twerking among the dry ice. I’m still interested in hearing discussions at festivals, meeting new people and I’m very much looking forward to participating on a panel at CrimeFest 2017, but these events give me the best opportunity to hang out with my crime-writing family, to catch up with my publisher and to talk crap with my agent after drinking my bodyweight in gin.
What book should I read next? And The Girl Who Had No Fear is a given!
I think you should read Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb if you haven’t already. It’s a cracker! I’m a slow reader, so I’ve only just read Peter Swanson’s A Kind Worth Killing and Graeme Cameron’s Normal – both wonderful reads. In my to be read pile, Julia Crouch’s forthcoming Her Husband’s Lover is top of the pile, along with Jenny Blackhurst’s Before I Let You In and Joseph Knox’s Sirens. Personally, I do tend to prefer something thrillery or historical to a police procedural or psychological thriller, but there are some terrific books out there in these perennially popular sub-genres of crime. I can’t wait to read A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys (Tammy Cohen)!
If you could pick one highlight from your writing career to date which memory brings the biggest smile to your face?
Winning the Dead Good Reader Award for Most Exotic Location at Harrogate 2015. I couldn’t believe my luck. The evening went a little tits-up by about 1am, but before that, I really can’t remember a better night.
Which book has made the best transition to film or a tv series?
The Silence of the Lambs. Definitely. I loved the Swedish adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy – Noomi Rapace was the perfect Salander. I was left a little cold by the later Hollywood adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as a result, though it was a quality film. Similarly, I loved the slick Norwegian adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters. I think the Scandis do books to film very, very well. I’m not aware of an awful lot of British crime fiction making it to TV or the big screen, despite much being optioned. I think it doesn’t often get made, sadly. I haven’t seen The Girl on the Train because I haven’t yet read it. Much of my favourite TV to have come out of the States in the last ten years is purpose-written TV drama, like The Wire, Breaking Bad, Fargo, Atlantic Boardwalk etc… Similarly, the wonderful Scandi Noir series, Forbrydelsen and The Bridge are not based on novels. If I’m honest, I don’t go to the cinema very often, so I can’t say my views on these things are very current. I can’t wait to see what Scorsese makes of Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman, though.
What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Star Wars – The Force Awakens. See? Told you I don’t go to the cinema very often, which is a shame, because I love films. The cinema’s too bloody expensive and I couldn’t drag my kids along to the sorts of things I want to see, though I might have to pay a babysitter when Bad Santa 2 comes out!
Lots of discussion on whether the next James Bond and also the next Doctor Who should be a woman. Do you agree (and if you do – who should get the roles)?
I don’t agree that the next James Bond should be a woman. I think it should be Idris Elba. If the big studios are looking for a big screen heroine, I think it’s lazy merely to cast a woman in the well-worn role of Bond – a concept and character that has been knocking around since the novels were first published in nineteen hundred and frozen to death. Instead, they should be optioning and adapting a new novel written by a woman – so a woman’s heroine, not another man’s heroine like Salander – that’s genuinely about a kickass female. *coughs, clears throat and does eyes-right at own books. OK. Basically, if there are stories knocking around like those in my George McKenzie series, there’s no excuse for relying on hackneyed Bond stories as vehicles for strong heroines. You can’t stick a pair of tits on Bond and make her a believable heroine, because that character is simply a man’s man. I have no opinions on Doctor Who. I’m not a fan. But the same arguments apply. New ideas, please, telebox peoples!
At the end of a long frustrating day how do you unwind?
I like a nice drinky. I’m also rather fond of sticking my electric blanket on and getting into bed early with a good book. I’m THAT exciting.
Are you a fan of comic books (or the current wave of comic book movies)?
I love super-hero films that have been adapted from comics – Spiderman with Tobey Maguire was superb. But otherwise, I struggle to read graphic novels. My daughter would disagree with me. She’s an animé and manga addict.
What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?
Stop questioning your gut instincts and better judgement. If you feel strongly that you’re right, you’re probably right. Believe in yourself. You are good enough.
What is the best job you have ever had?
Being an author, of course! It’s by far the best job in the world. I’ve never worked so hard and I haven’t earned so little since I was in my early twenties, but for all its troughs, the dizzying peaks of creativity, the response of readers, the company of my author compatriots, the friendship and support of my agent, the enthusiasm and passion of my editorial team and the kind flag-waving of bloggers make this job so worthwhile. And best of all? The stories. Making them gives me thousands of hours of entertainment. Watching you guys read and enjoy them gives me a wonderful rosy glow. It’s a little bit of magic in a disenchanting world!
About the book:
Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?
Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?
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