CRIMINALLY GOOD: Interview with author AJ Waines

AJWainesMMrevSo, who are you & what have you written?

Hello, I’m AJ Waines. I was a musician, then a psychotherapist for fifteen years – and now I write psychological thrillers with a twist!

I’m probably best known for writing about a girl on a train – NOT the smash hit by Paula Hawkins, but the ‘other’ one, entitled (Girl on a Train). The book was written before Paula’s, in fact, but caused a bit of a stir. Whilst a number of readers were buying it by mistake, some said they liked it and as a result, I got a mention in The Wall Street Journal and The Times! You can read about the mix up, HERE.

I’ve written five novels; my fourth, NO LONGER SAFE, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries and, to date, I’ve sold over a quarter of a million books. I keep having to pinch myself, although the journey has been a bumpy one!

I’m now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany (Random House) and USA (audiobooks). I live in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and you can find me on my website and blog, or follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I love to hear from readers and do try to reply to everyone, if I can.

ITWLargeFINALWhy do you write crime fiction?

Crime fiction was always the genre that enticed me at the library or book shop. The first books I remember reading as a child were the mysteries by Enid Blyton and I’ve loved suspense novels and TV crime drama, ever since.

Psychological thrillers had me hooked in the nineties with Nicci French and Minette Walters, and I like the recent trends in Scandi noir and domestic noir. I aim to write books that involve ‘why’ and ‘how’ dun-it , as well as ‘who-dun-it’.

In my latest book, INSIDE THE WHISPERS, everything is not as it first appears: instead there’s a complex and devious deception going on behind the choking smokescreen… I love writing books with a deep mystery and that edge-of-your-seat sense of alarm and jeopardy.

What informs your crime writing?

I’m fascinated by what makes people tick and became a psychotherapist in a busy practice in London, between 1995-2010. During those fifteen years, I worked with ex-offenders from high-security institutions, giving me a rare insight into criminal and abnormal psychology.

I’m probably more interested, however, in ‘ordinary’ people. I’m keen to know what drives individuals and makes them go to extreme lengths – your quiet nextdoor neighbour who ends up murdering her husband, for example. I’m keen to know what people are afraid of, what makes them angry, why they hide certain things. I love secrets and lies, and the way people try to get away with the shameful things they’ve done.

What’s your usual writing routine?

Since starting to write fiction seven years ago, I’ve never worked so hard in my life! Because I’m a ‘hybrid’ author, publishing books independently as well as through traditional publishers, I have to do so much more than write the novels.

I also ‘project manage’ my book launches, sorting out all the publicity (such as blog tours); I format and set up the books on Amazon, arrange for cover designers, copy editors, proofreaders and beta-readers to play their part (I have a fabulous team).

I blog regularly, write book reviews on Goodreads, produce a Newsletter and do lots of social media publicity. When people ask to speak to my publicist, secretary or administrator, I tell them – they’re all ME! (I do have an agent, though). I love it all: writing and producing books has taken over my entire life.

Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?

I’d love to have penned The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. I love Ripley’s criminal resourcefulness and the way he is able to deceive people in ever increasing complexity, as the net closes in on him. He is the ultimate in ‘what you see is NOT what you get’. I wish I’d conjured up a plot and character like him!

You can pre-order AJ Waines’ latest novel INSIDE THE WHISPERS, HERE.

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