Happy (re)publication day to author Maggie James, whose novel His Kidnapper’s Shoes comes out today – Nov 15th, 2016 – via Lake Union. You can get it HERE. Now, over to Maggie …
1) So, who are you & what have you written?
Hi, thanks for interviewing me on Criminally Good! My name is Maggie James, and I’m a British writer of psychological suspense novels. At least that’s how I’d describe them, but to my surprise they have proved popular with readers of crime fiction. One person has described them as being ‘crime fiction without all the police milling around’, which made me smile! I’m not comfortable writing police scenes; hence my books focus more on the emotional repercussions of crime, examined from a psychological viewpoint. If you’d like to sample some of my fiction, my novella Blackwater Lake is available free.
2) Why do you write crime fiction?
Rather than writing classic crime fiction, I’m drawn to examining the psychological effects of crime on its victims. What I enjoy is portraying strong feelings, and crime engenders fierce emotions. For example, His Kidnappers Shoes looks at the effect on a young boy after being kidnapped as a four-year-old, both from the point of view of the child and also the woman who abducted him. It’s possible I may branch out into other genres, such as dystopia or supernatural fiction one day, but for now I’m happy writing what I do.
3) What informs your crime writing?
I don’t have a background in police work (I’d be hopeless at it!), but I’m lucky enough to know two retired police officers, one of whom is now a novelist herself. They’ve been very helpful in guiding me regarding matters of police procedure. I’m fascinated by the workings of the human mind, so all my books feature a psychological element. Also, I write in the same genre in which I prefer to read – I enjoy psychological suspense fiction, as well as supernatural novels by authors such as Stephen King. I learn so much from other authors’ work.
Some of my themes have been loosely inspired by real-life events, but I’d be uncomfortable basing a book around an actual crime. A few people have commented that my novel Guilty Innocence must be founded on the James Bulger case, due to certain similarities, but it isn’t. My inspiration came from wondering what it would be like to discover someone you love is concealing a terrible secret. And there’s not much worse than hiding a conviction for child murder.
4) What’s your usual writing routine?
I’ve had to become quite disciplined with my daily routine. At first my writing day felt unstructured and I wasn’t getting much done. Nowadays I’m far more organised. I write and edit in the mornings, because that’s when I’m most creative, despite being a night owl. Afternoons are reserved for blogging, marketing and planning my business. Unlike many other authors, I don’t write every day. I prefer to keep my weekends and evenings free; that way my brain gets a rest!
5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?
It’s not so much a crime book as a legal thriller – I’m thinking of Sandrine by Thomas H Cook. I enjoy legal thrillers, but prefer crime fiction so I don’t often read in that genre. I thought this book was exceptional, however. It’s different because it blends a murder trial with a love story, the latter being approached from an unusual angle. You’d think the two wouldn’t go well together, but somehow the author manages it, and I loved this novel!