Today I am delighted to be joined by crime fiction writer Chris Curran.
Chris has just written her third novel ‘Her Deadly Secret’ which will be released by Killer Reads (Harper Collins imprint) as an eBook on July 21st 2017 and paperback in August.
Chris kindly agreed to share some of her thoughts on crime fiction writing which I hope you will agree, make for fascinating reading.
Ideas And Where They Come From
I’m often asked where I get my story ideas. And it’s something I also ask myself when I’m between novels! The most obvious answer is that they can come from anywhere. News reports or articles, conversations, overheard comments, an intriguing photo, an atmospheric place – anything can spark the thought: I could use this in a story.
I write standalone crime and for me the starting point is always the main character. I ask myself: what is the most terrible thing that could happen to this person? This leads on to: what might make it even worse? In my first book, Mindsight, the main character, Clare, is a mother and losing a child is the nightmare of any parent. So that answers my first question. But for Clare the horror is intensified many times over because she believes she was responsible for her child’s death. In my second novel, Her Turn To Cry, the protagonist is a young girl who fears that her mother was murdered. And her nightmare is compounded when she begins to suspect that her own much-loved father was the killer.
In my books I explore how a crime, particularly a murder, damages all of those involved. So my novels feature characters dealing with the aftermath of a crime they are intimately connected with and trying to find what really happened. They are not detectives and, as amateurs, they don’t solve the crime so much as blunder their way to the truth (and as I develop the story it sometimes feels as if I am blundering along with them!).
My murderers are ordinary people who have committed the ultimate crime almost by accident and my protagonists often uncover things they would rather not know about those closest to them, or even about themselves. As I write I am discovering many of these details too.
Memory is something else that fascinates me and it’s been an important element in all my books so far. In each of my novels the past comes back to haunt the characters and to threaten the lives they have tried to rebuild. In Mindsight the protagonist has partial amnesia and in the following books the major characters also have a dodgy recall of crucial events. They can’t trust their own recollections and readers are advised not to trust them either! This is particularly true of my latest novel, Her Deadly Secret, where two families have been built on lies from years before.
There are times when I envy the authors of series. They already have some major elements in place, a ready-made set of characters and a regular setting. But I still prefer to write standalones because I like the freedom they give me to explore different times, locations and ways of life. The pharmaceutical industry, the music halls of the 1950s, the clubs frequented by the stars of swinging London, a semi-religious commune in the heart of Wiltshire and a little park in Chelsea with gravestones propped against its walls are just some places that have featured in my books so far.
And each one of them has been included because something sparked the thought: I can use this!
Chris Curran lives in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex. Her first two psychological thrillers, Mindsight and Her Turn To Cry, were both Amazon bestsellers. She also writes short stories one of which was recently shortlisted for the 2017 CWA Margery Allingham award. Her latest novel, Her Deadly Secret, is published as an eBook on July 21st 2017 and a paperback in August.
Website ~ https://chriscurranauthor.com/
Twitter ~ @Christi_Curran
A FAMILY BUILT ON LIES…
A dark and twisty psychological thriller, in which a young girl is abducted and her family is confronted with a horror from deep in their past.
A young girl has been taken. Abducted, never to be seen again.
Joe and Hannah, her traumatized parents, are consumed by grief. But all is not as it seems behind the curtains of their suburban home.
Loretta, the Family Liaison Officer, is sure Hannah is hiding something – a dark and twisted secret from deep in her past.
This terrible memory could be the key to the murder of another girl fifteen years ago. And as links between the two victims emerge, Joe and Hannah learn that in a family built on lies, the truth can destroy everything…