Killer Women – Killer Crime Writing Festival. Part 4


So the brilliant crime writers at Killer Women are having their very first festival on Saturday 15th October – it is going to be a rocking day and you can pick up a ticket HERE.

With less than a week to go, here is Part 4 of my trawl around the bookish landscape to find out more about those you can see at the festival – and what they will be up to. Me? I’ll be there but with such a wonderful line up I really couldnt tell you what I’ll actually be doing at this stage..

If you missed Part One you can find it if you clickety click.

If you missed Part Two you can find it if you clickety click

If you missed Part Three you can find it if you clickety click

The full line up can be found HERE but today we are hearing from Laura Wilson, David Swindle, Alison Joseph and Kate Culquhoun.



Tell us a little about your latest novel and what readers can expect from it.
The Wrong Girl is a contemporary psychological standalone, set in Norfolk. To quote from the jacket:
Janice Keaton is living a quiet, easy life when a longed-for reunion with the daughter she gave up for adoption several decades earlier drags her into a lethal confrontation with her past.
Did her brother, Dan, die a natural death? Is Joe, her former lover, really an acid casualty, or was there another reason for his abrupt withdrawal from public life? And what is her granddaughter, Molly, hiding?
As she struggles to come to terms with a series of shocks, Janice realises that her recollections of the past hold a sinister secret — one with deadly consequences. And then Molly disappears.
Be careful what you wish for…
What is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
The Girls by Emma Cline. It’s thought-provoking and beautifully written and I’d definitely recommend it, although I suspect I wouldn’t have enjoyed it quite so much as I did had I not already read Jeff Guinn’s excellent biography of Charles Manson.
What will you be doing and talking about at the Killer Women festival?
I’m very much looking forward to interviewing Val McDermid about her career and her latest book, Out of Bounds. I’ll also be giving a workshop on how to create a convincing killer.
Who is your hero/heroine, fictional or otherwise, and why?
I’ve always greatly admired Flora Poste, heroine of Stella Gibbons’s wonderful Cold Comfort Farm (1932). Imperturbable and smart as a whip, with a strong sense of herself, Flora is an ace problem-solver who, had she inhabited the pages of a crime novel rather than a parody of the overwrought ‘loam and lovechild’ fiction that was popular at the time, would have proved a great detective. When I first read Cold Comfort Farm, I was the same age as Flora — nineteen — and I wanted to be her. When I re-read it six months ago, I still wanted to be her. This either means that I have entirely failed to grow up or that Flora is extremely mature for her age.  Let’s hope it’s the latter.
Tell us two random non-bookish facts about you…
I can only see out of one eye. I have a basset hound. These two facts have nothing to do with each other.


Now David Swindle is an enigmatic one – what WILL he be doing at the Killer Women Crime Festival? Well all he would tell me…

“At the Killer Women Festival I will be speaking about the work of a real life murder detective and the skills that make a good detective”

I don’t think I’ll be missing that one…sounds extraordinarily fascinating…


Tell us a little about your latest novel and what readers can expect from it?
I’m writing various different strands at the moment, from Sister Agnes to DI Berenice Killick, but my latest novel is one of my Agatha Christie series. Called Hidden Sins, it features Agatha as a (fictional) detective. The story is set in 1926 and it’s all about the men who worked on camouflage during the First World War.

What is the last book you read and would you recommend it? 
It was Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes. (It’s not just that she’s a fellow Killer Woman.) I would absolutely recommend it. I couldn’t put it down, not only for the gripping plot but for the personal story at the heart of it.
What will you be doing and talking about at the Killer Women Festival?
I’m chairing a panel about historical crime fiction and about the appeal of stories set in the past. We’ll be discussing crime in the Victorian era, amongst others.

Who is your hero/heroine, fictional or otherwise, and why?
I am very fickle where heroes are concerned. At the moment I’m obsessed with various Olympic athletes, as Rio has just finished and I have a huge sense of loss. I want Simone Biles, the American gymnast, to be my best friend.

Tell us two random non-bookish facts about you …
I am ridiculously sentimental. I have been known to cry at the opening credits of films, or even the trailers. As for anything to do with dogs or horses… It’s even more weird when you consider my day job which is all about making up reasons to kill someone and how you might go about it.
I took up ice-skating at the age of 45.


What is the last book you read and would you recommend it?

Andrew Miller’s The Crossing – jaw dropping writing, immaculate plotting, the whole thing so finely balanced, so cleverly done – reviewers weren’t convinced but I adored it.  AND because I’m not answering three of the other questions I’m going to add the book I read before that : Laura Cumming’s The Vanishing Man – a book every single lover of great writing should read.  Laura writes non fiction with the insights of a philosopher and the craft of a fine artist – this book about Velazques is scholarly, compelling and yet it has true heart – the most humane book I’ve read in a decade.

What will you be talking about at the Killer Women Festival?

Victorian Women who killed – ostensibly – but I’m just as interested in WHY so called ‘ordinary’ people commit violent acts… are their characters intractably flawed? Are they evil (and what IS evil?) And what does their crime and the way their contemporaries reacted to it tell us about the kind of society they lived in………

Thanks everyone! More later this week….

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Happy Reading!



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