Your name: Chris Curran
Tell us about yourself: I was born in London and left school at sixteen to work in the local library – my dream job at the time. After an idyllic few months reading everything on the shelves I returned to full-time education, took my degree, and became a primary school teacher. I’ve also worked as an actress and copy editor amongst other things. I inherited a ready-made family when my two young stepchildren came to live with us. Later my own son arrived and we moved to the south coast of England. Now that all three children have left home the space they vacated is rapidly filling with books.
Tell us about your latest book: Mindsight is a psychological thriller. The story begins on the day Clare is released from prison. She crashed her car, whilst under the influence of drugs, killing her father, husband and young son. Although she can’t remember anything about the accident she has accepted her guilt. The only thing that has kept her going over the years is the hope of one day being reconciled with her surviving son. Tom. But when she meets him again, Tom demands answers – he wants to know exactly what happened on the night of the crash.
So Clare is forced to delve into the past. But as she does so she begins to fear that she may be putting not only herself, but also Tom, into danger.
When did you start writing? I wrote my first novel when I was about 12. It was a Famous Five rip off and filled one small exercise book. Even I could tell it wasn’t much good, so I gave up for 20 years. It took me around 20 more years to get a novel published.
Where do you write? Usually in the dining room next to my kitchen so that I can top up with Earl Grey as often as I want. I write standing up, like Charles Dickens (!), with my laptop on a bookshelf just above waist height. Standing allows me to pace up and down, which I like to do, and to work out action scenes by performing all the parts. Needless to say I never work in public places!
Which other authors do you admire? Too many to list, but some modern crime writers I love are: Cathi Unsworth, Tana French, Elly Griffiths, Sheila Bugler and two independently published authors, JJ Marsh and Gillian Hamer.
Book you wished you’d written? Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. People don’t always think of Du Maurier as a crime writer, but her best books have crime at their heart and they are wonderfully atmospheric. What’s brilliant about Rebecca is that it’s not obvious until a long way into the book that there even has been a crime. And you leave the story with many, many questions – the mark of a special novel.
Greatest fictional criminal: For me it has to be Count Fosco, from The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. He is such a complex creation: fascinating, but repellent, evil but also attractive.
Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: The greatest crime is the fact that people are living in abject poverty whilst others enjoy extraordinary luxury.
Greatest fictional detective: My favourite at the moment has to be Matthew Shardlake. He epitomises Raymond Chandler’s description of the perfect detective as a man who walks the mean streets but is not himself mean. In Shardlake’s case those mean streets are in the London of Henry V111: one of the most fascinating periods of history.
What scares you? The thought of anything happening to the people I love.
Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? I’m a real scaredy cat. If I’m writing a particularly menacing scene I often find myself looking behind me and flinching when I hear an unusual noise.
3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. S. Eliot called it ‘the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels’ and who am I to argue with that?
- Endless Night is my favourite Christie. No Poirot or Marple, just a brilliant story and an unreliable narrator par excellence
- The Walking Stick by Winston Graham is a beautiful story that shows how a good person could be led into crime. Graham is best known for the Poldark series, but he’s a great writer of psychological mysteries. The book may be out of print, but it’s well worth tracking down
Do you listen to music when you write? No. I need silence to hear the characters’ voices and the sounds of the story rather than anything from the world around me.
Are you on social media? Yes. Writing is a solitary occupation so it’s great to interact with the world on Twitter and connect with friends through Facebook.
How can fans connect with you? Through my website http://chriscurranauthor.com/ My facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Curran/421251721385764?ref=aymt_homepage_panel Or follow me on twitter @Christi_Curran