So when I was asked to be on the “My Little Eye” blog tour, in my usual efficient (??!!??) fashion I had already reviewed it. So I thought hey, I’ll interview Stephanie Marland (AKA Steph Broadribb AKA Good friend of mine) all about it instead. But THEN I thought, no. Why expand effort when you’ve got Rod Reynolds? So I made him do it instead. Here’s the result and I hope you enjoy it. Details on the novel and a link to my review follow…
Hi Steph, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions today, to celebrate the paperback publication of your cracking thriller My Little Eye. I’ve been lucky enough to read the book twice(!) and it really is a fabulous, pacey story with a pair of protagonists to die for. Can you give us a flavour of what it’s about?
Oooh thank you, I’m thrilled you enjoyed it 🙂 My Little Eye is the first book featuring PhD student Clementine Starke and Murder Squad Detective Inspector Dominic Bell. The story is about a group of true crime addicts who meet online and decide to take on the police and try to catch London serial killer ‘The Lover’ before he kills again.
RR: I thought one of the most striking aspects of the book was how fresh and original it felt, and I think a lot of that is down to how you explored the psychology of the two protagonists, Clementine & Dom. Can you give us an insight into how these two characters came about?
Clementine came about through a conversation I was having with a writer friend about the rise of true crime television shows and podcasts and the nature of conspiracies theories. As I was going home the image came to me of a reclusive young woman, haunted by trauma in her past but wanting to try and reintegrate herself into society, and from that Clementine Starke was created. Dominic Bell actually started life as a character in one of the short pieces of fiction I wrote when I was on the MA in Creative Writing at City University. Once I’d come up with the idea for Clementine I thought that he might make an interesting police character for her to come up against.
–Part of the story is based on the intriguing premise of a group of true crime fanatics trying to prove they can solve a murder faster than the police and as that plays out, we get some fascinating, fact-based insight into things like internet behaviour and group psychology. Can you talk about what research you did to evoke that so well?
While I was working in my day job at a University I researched online behaviour, studying how groups and individuals interact and learn online, so I was able to use what I’d learnt for some of the psychological aspects that go into Clementine’s side of the story. I find it a fascinating subject, and while I was writing My Little Eye I did quite a lot of extra reading around the subject, and also went onto a number of true crime forums both UK and US based to get a sense of the type of conversations people who inhabit the true crime world get involved in, and the sort of cases that interest them. I’m also lucky that I have both academic and police experts that I can call on to check things are plausible.
–As most of you will know, not content with writing not one but TWO acclaimed crime series (at the same time!), Steph also runs the highly popular crime fiction blog, Crime Thriller Girl, If you check out CTG, you’ll find her addictive Three Word Reviews series – so today I’m turning the tables and asking Steph to give three word answers to my questions from here on out. Here goes…
–How would you describe Clementine Starke?
Reclusive. Tenacious. Obsessive.
–…and DI Dominic Bell?
Determined. Damaged. Principled.
–What three words would you use to describe My Little Eye? (Bonus – my answer would be creepy, compelling, fresh).
Twisty. Twisted. Race-against-time (sorry, I cheated a bit there!)
–What three words evoke the book’s themes best?
Identity. Betrayal. Justice.
–How would you describe the true crime fanatics featured in the book?
Diverse. Focused. Competitive.
–How would you describe your portrayal of London, where the book’s set?
Rainy. Claustrophobic. Dangerous.
–What’s your ideal writing spot?
Light (natural). Warm. Red (my dog, who curls up next to me as I write).
–What excites or inspires you when it comes to writing?
Quirky characters. Plot puzzles. Researching locations. (three things but six words for that one!!)
–Can you name three TV shows or films that influence your work?
Luther. Bosch. Line of Duty.
–What’s your worst writing fear?
Missing my deadlines!
–…And your best piece of writing advice?
Never give up.
–How would you describe Liz in three words? (No, you may not have extra words. Yes, you may use swear words.)
Ha, I wouldn’t DARE use swear words! Queen of Bloggers. (Sigh – the sigh is from me, Liz, not Steph who now owes me a pet pot bellied pig)
–What three words would you use to describe writing two very different series at the same time?
Mind bending fun.
–What do you look for most as a reader?
Fast pace, great characters and interest premise. (whoops, over my word limit again!)
–What’s next for you?
I’m currently editing the second book in the Starke/Bell series, and then I’m onto writing book three in the Lori Anderson series – there’s no rest for the wicked!
Steph’s clearly got enough on her plate, so with that, I’m going to let her go back to it. Thanks so much for answering my questions, Steph, and can’t wait to see the next installment in the series. And a big thanks to Liz, too, for having us on the blog today. Cheers!
A young woman is found dead in her bedroom surrounded by rose petals – the latest victim of ‘The Lover’. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out.AND MAKE THEM DIE…
As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in their own hands – to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group.
As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they’re being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim – Clementine – firmly in his sights.
Rod also has a new novel coming soon – that would be THIS one, that made it into my Top Ten of 2017 before it even had a cover. But now it DOES have a cover. The 3rd Charlie Yates thriller and one you won’t want to miss. Clickety click the cover to find out all about it and pre-order and if you are very brave you could follow Rod on Twitter here.
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Thank you for this interview and your review. You have introduced me to a new writer and his books, which I will definitely put on my list of books to be read.