More commonly known as The Queen of Gangland Crime Fiction, #1 Sunday Times bestseller Kimberley Chambers has written a brand new standalone novel, Life of Crime. Meet Jason Rampling – he will do anything to give him and his family a better start in life and slowly but surely steps into a Life of Crime. Packed full of gripping tension, shocking twists and witty East End banter, this is Kimberley Chambers at her best. But while we know all about her characters, what about the woman who created them? Here, Kimberley Chambers tells us about New Year’s Resolutions, writing, and vodka…
It’s that time of year again when we all look to the New Year as a clean slate- do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
I want to get to the gym more like I used to. I’ve been working to deadlines recently to get Life of Crime ready for publication, and so have been staying up late working, which has meant I have less time for the gym than I’d like. I also want to cut down on the booze, drink more water, eat healthier but I say that every January and by February I’ve forgotten…
You are well known for the authenticity and rawness of your crime novels. How do you go about researching them?
The storyline always comes from my imagination but, if I need any police procedural information, I’m friendly with an ex-copper who always proves very helpful. I won’t tell you how I met him but you might be able to guess..!
My main method of research and how I bring colour into my books is through the TV, news and music of the era I’m writing about. The further I go back in time the more flavour I can bring in terms of cultural markers such as TV, music and fashion. My favourite periods to write in are the 60s, 70s and 80s – I just love the music and the fashion of those decades. And, of course, the world wasn’t as politically correct back then, so my characters can reflect that.
Life of Crime is a standalone novel- what prompted you to move away from the Butler family, that are the running theme throughout your previous novels?
Although I like writing series like the Butlers, I found it refreshing to get my teeth into a new story and I’m really pleased with the characters I’ve created in this novel. We’ve got a mixture of nasty, nice, dysfunctional and even a shoplifting Nan. Although my books are down to earth, and can be quite violent, I like to bring a bit of humour in too, which I think comes through in Life of Crime.
What do you most enjoy about being a writer? Did you know that this was what you wanted to be?
What I like most about this job is that I can keep warm indoors, instead of freezing my lils off as I did for years when working on Roman Road market. I completely love being a full-time writer. Of course, I have my moments of wanting to throw my writing pad across the room, but I feel blessed to have this career, I really do. My books have got to number one, I’ve eaten in fine restaurants and gone to glamourous parties – I could never have even dreamt that this would be my life when I grew up.
On a more practical front, you can also choose your own hours, which the dogs love as I can take them around the park whenever they want. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, so I tend to work in the evenings and burn the midnight oil. I actually write every book by hand so, while it’s not the quickest method, it means that I can work anywhere.
And, finally, what book have you read recently that you’ve thought was particularly good?
I’ve just read Women in the Window by AJ Finn and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn’t put it down!
Life of Crime is out on 11th January and available to pre-order now.