So, who are you & what have you written?
Okay, so I’m Steph Broadribb also known as Crime Thriller Girl. I’m an alumni of the MA Creative Writing at City University London and trained as a bounty hunter in California.
My debut novel Deep Down Dead is out now and is the first in the Lori Anderson action thriller series. Here’s the blurb:
Lori Anderson is as tough as they come keeping her career as a Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills rack up, she has no choice but to take a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things go wrong. The fugitive she’s chasing is JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her all she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.
Why do you write crime fiction?
I’ve always loved crime fiction ever since I first picked up a Sherlock Holmes novel when I was about eight years old. (It was The Hound of the Baskervilles – it scared me witless and I loved it!). Since then I’ve read all kinds of crime fiction – detective, action thrillers, historical, psychologicals and I have an especially soft spot for the books of the late Michael Crichton who wrote such a huge number of diverse thrillers during his career – from Jurassic Park, to A State of Fear, and Disclosure.
My first love is action thrillers though, and my heroes of the sub-genre are John D MacDonald [fav book = The Deep Blue Goodbye], Lee Child [fav book = Never Go Back], Zoe Sharp [fav book = Fifth Victim], Jeff Abbott [fav book = Run], and Mason Cross [fav book = A Time To Kill] – if you haven’t read them yet, really you should!
When I started as a student on the MA Crime Fiction at City University London and we got this massive reading list to work through before the course – seriously, about 100 novels – I decided to start a blog and write about my thoughts on them. That blog became Crime Thriller Girl and I’ve been lucky enough to read and review a huge number of brilliant books and met lots of fantastic crime writers.
Wanting to write crime fiction seemed like a natural progression from reading and loving the genre. In reality it took time, a lot of learning and a lot of practice!
What informs your crime writing?
I love ‘what ifs’ and I love putting my characters into difficult situations and seeing if I can get them out of them. I love puzzles, and I think that’s some of the attraction of crime fiction – there’s always a puzzle or mystery to solve.
I also, rather twistedly, like to take beautiful or fun, happy locations and make bad things happen. In Deep Down Dead some of the key scenes take place in a (fictional) theme park – I like scratching off the glitter and seeing what darkness might lie beneath.
When I started writing Deep Down Dead I also wanted to create a female protagonist who was independent and solved her own problems. Lori Anderson is a female bounty hunter – she’s a woman in a predominantly male world, and a single mom too. As part of my research for the book I went to California and trained as a bounty hunter. I also spent time with female bounty hunters and learnt about what it’s really like being a woman in that line of work. I’ve tried to use what I learnt in the book to make Lori as authentic as possible.
What’s your usual writing routine?
Well, I have a day job so I have to fit writing around that. Generally, I find I’m more creative if I write early in the morning before work, so I tend to get up around 5.30/6am, grab a coffee and get cracking. I write until about 7.30/8am, then rush to get ready for work and head to the office. I tend to write blog posts and reviews in the evening for the blog, but if I’m still fresh enough afterwards I’ll sometimes do a bit of editing in the evening.
Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?
I’m a huge fan of The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. It’s terrifying and devastatingly heart-wrenching all at the same time. From the moment I started reading it I couldn’t put it down, and it left me in floods of tears at the end (and I rarely cry from books!). It’s narratively very clever, and has utterly compelling characters. I am in awe of the writing, and some of the passages from it still stick with me even though I read it over two years ago. I cannot recommend it highly enough.