Danielle Ramsay is a debut author for HarperCollins, and her dark, gritty north-eastern crime will get your heart racing and your blood pumping. Her first book to hit the shelves is Broken Silence which begins when the mutilated remains of a teenage girl are found in the seaside resort of Whitley Bay. All fingers point to one of three men in her life who should have done everything to protect her – her step-father, her teacher and a police detective. But which one of them is responsible for such a horrific act of murder? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out, but first, let’s get under the skin of things in a different way as Danielle discusses her motivations for crime writing.
Danielle Ramsay talks to Killer Reads…
My inspiration for writing first began with the idea of telling my grandfather’s story. He was one of the first African-Scottish men in Dundee at the turn of the last century and a true war hero. But it was Walter Mosley and his character Easy Rawlins that inspired me to begin Broken Silence, coupled with the stark, harsh seaside location of Whitley Bay where I currently reside. I first came up with the idea for Broken Silence two years ago when I decided to write about what I know – and that was living in a small, run-down seaside resort, coupled with my interest in the darker side of humanity.
I was previously in academia where I was able to explore psychoanalysis and other literary theories and then apply it to literature. It was an exciting and liberating time. However, being able to write creatively myself is an inexplicable experience and far exceeds anything else I have done; including lecturing, giving academic papers nationally and internationally and writing academic essays and chapters for theoretical books.
For me, crime fiction is an ideal way of examining why people commit such dreadful acts against one another. The crime fiction I am writing explores how and why seemingly ‘ordinary’ people can end up in extreme situations. Either in carrying out atrocious acts of crime, or by being the victim of such heinous acts. I am interested in what can push a relatively, normal, sane person over the edge and drive them into acts of nihilistic, murderous violence. And then, commit the act again and again, until they are ultimately stopped, if at all.
I am driven to write crime because of my troubled dark childhood which has made me curious about the question of morality, contrasted against the world I live in. So as an adult, I have been searching to find the answers as to why evil is committed by people who on the surface appear to lead such typical, ordinary lives. I would say that Broken Silence epitomises this through the book’s fifteen year old victim, Sophie Washington, and her seemingly ordinary teenage life and the tragic events that led up to her murder.
Do you have a question for Danielle? Send them in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Question for Danielle’ by 15th November, and we’ll put the best ones to Danielle in a special Killer Reads feature next month. And of course, the lucky winners will win a copy of Danielle’s new book, Broken Silence!