Susi Qs – Week 13 – Louise Beech

Louise Beech1

This week’s guest searching for crumbs of normality in my tin of madness is the lovely Louise Beech. Louise’s fourth novel, The Lion Tamer Who Lost, was shortlisted for the Popular Romantic Novel of 2019 at the RNA Awards and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl was longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize and was Best magazine’s Best Book of the Year 2019. I Am Dust was a Crime Magazine Monthly Pick. This Is How We Are Human will be published in June 2021.

Take it away, Lou…

Have you ever written a fan letter?

Oh, yes, hundreds. I used to do it as a bit of a hobby in my late 20s, back when snail mail was still a thing, and selfies were yet to be invented (which is what most people want now more than an autograph). I did my research, through agents and venues where certain stars were performing or filming, and wrote to them that way. I got some amazing replies. My favourite was from Edward Norton who signed a Fight Club poster and wrote ‘you are not your job’.

Where’s the worst place you’ve been sick?

I’m embarrassed to admit this – my own bed. But I was eighteen. To be fair, I could have died because it was while I was drunk and in my sleep. I literally, at 5am, just put myself and all the bedding in the bath because I was still drunk. Anyone still want to be my friend? No? OK. Understandable…

If you were a kangaroo, what would you keep in your pouch?

£28.50.

Would you rather give up washing, smiling or reading?

Jesus, three of the things most important to me. Erm… wow. Washing. I’d stink like hell, but I’d never be bored, and I’d light up the world with my shit-eating grin.

Who’s your favourite cartoon character?

Piglet in the Disney animations makes my heart melt because he’s my daughter’s absolute favourite. But I think my own favourite is Quagmire from Family Guy. We are soulmates. I have invited him many a time to join my husband and I, but no response so far…

Which celebrity do you wish was still alive?

Marilyn Monroe, without question. She was my idol growing up. I have probably close to a hundred books about her. She died before I was even born so we never existed together at any point on the planet. She was a lot cleverer than people gave her credit for.

What’s your favourite joke?

I probably couldn’t share any of them here. The first one I ever remember as a kid though was: What’s black and white but read all over? A newspaper. I just didn’t get it. I don’t think I even do now…

Why are coconuts so difficult to open?

Because they are selfish bastards.

How many times have you seen Top Gun?

Probably five times. I’ve listened to the soundtrack more and do a great Kenny Loggins Danger Zone impression.

What is your most unrealistic ambition?

To be the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion 2022. It won’t stop me trying though.

* * *This is how we are Human Vis 3

If you want to know more about Louise, you can find her on twitter @louisewriter. Her books can be purchased HERE, or directly from the publisher, Orenda Books: HERE.

Susi Qs – Week 12 – Fergus McNeill

fergus

This week’s fabulous guest dipping their sticky fingers into my biscuit tin of randomness is Fergus McNeill. As well as writing crime novels, Fergus has been creating computer games since the early eighties, writing his first interactive fiction titles while still at school. Over the years he has designed all sorts of games, spoken at the Cannes Film Festival, and failed to excel at any sport whatsoever. He likes cats.

What’ve you got for us, Fergus?

What was your first gig?

Communards at Royal Festival Hall, and it was brilliant. Also, I may have stolen a poster from the foyer and waited at the stage door so Jimmy Somerville could sign it for me.

Why are coconuts so difficult to open?

I know, right? I mean, their main uses are for filling Bounty bars and imitating the sound of horses’ hooves, so I really don’t see why they need to be so bothersome.

What are you having for lunch tomorrow?

Probably a couple of those giant fish fingers you get from Waitrose, in a roll, possibly with a slice of burger cheese melted over them. It’s kind of like a Filet-O’-Fish from McDonalds, except it’s bigger.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?

I was walking down Main St in Santa Monica one afternoon, browsing in shop windows, when a guy ran out of a side street and came sprinting down the middle of the road, waving a gun. As I stood there watching, he turned and fired several shots at some other men who were chasing him. Everyone around me kind of sighed and melted into shop doorways, several of them turning away from the action so they could hear to continue their phone conversations. More shots were fired, the guy ran past and disappeared down an alley, pursued by the men. All around me, people moved on, like nothing had happened, while I stood there wondering why the hell nobody else seemed to be freaked out by it all.

What would you cook on Come Dine With Me?

Our next door neighbours were on the show (and actually won it!) so I doubt the producers would have anyone else from our street. But if you need a really good fish finger roll with melted cheese, I’m your man.

What was your favourite toy?

Any of the Star Wars lightsabers I had during childhood, but especially the red one because I secretly wanted to be Darth Vader when I grew up.

Have you ever heard voices in your head?

All the time, especially when I’m working from home. My desk is just a few yards from the kitchen cupboard, and I can hear pastries calling me, chocolate biscuits rustling in their packets, ice cream whispering from the freezer… it’s deafening.

Which actor do you fancy the most?

Ziyi Zhang, from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and House Of Flying Daggers.

Have you ever written a fan letter?

No, but many years ago I stood next to Douglas Adams in a bar for about ten minutes trying to work up the courage to speak to him. In the end, he left before I could think of anything to say and I really regretted it. Years later, I was walking through Highgate Cemetery and paused at his grave in silent contemplation of missed opportunities and risks not taken. I’d like to think that he was looking down on me thinking, ‘There’s that guy from the bar again. And he’s STILL not figured out what he wants to say!’

Do you have any weird habits?

I’m slightly obsessive about the way I eat. No, really! For example, if I’m having chicken and rice, I need to ensure that I always have enough rice for all the chicken, and vice versa. I mean, I absolutely HAVE to make sure I don’t end up with just rice, or just chicken, at the end. Consequently, I always encourage my wife to steal any chips from my plate right at the beginning of the meal, so I can adjust how I eat to make everything balance out at the end. Also, I’m physically incapable of enjoying a desert before a main course. Honest, it’s true!

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If you want to find out more about Fergus, you can check out his Wiki page (oooooooh!) or find him on twitter @fergusmcneill. His books can be purchased HERE.

Susi Qs – Week 11 – Theresa Talbot

theresa talbot

My Easter weekend victim of the random question generator is ex-Pepsi Challenge girl, current radio broadcaster and garden designer: Theresa Talbot. You may know her as the voice behind The Tartan Noir Podcast, and of course, for her fantastic Oonagh O’Neil crime series.

Take it away, Theresa…

Have you ever had your fortune told?

Yes! Frequently. I’m a sucker for a good psychic and love all that. I’m too old now & daren’t go in case they tell me my next book’s going to be a best-seller – reaching the top ten of the NY Times Best seller list after my untimely demise after slipping on a crisp poke and plunging down a ravine.

Which actor do you fancy?

I had HUGE crushes on Gregory Peck & Cary Grant when I was wee, but I don’t fancy actors anymore. I’d love to have dinner with David Attenborough though.

Have you ever broken a bone?

Yes, I sure have. Once broke my finger after an excruciating, but glancing blow from a bottle of nail-polish I was shaking too vigorously, and a broken toe – the result of jumping off the settee trying a new James Brown move – still gives me jip.

What’s your favourite joke?

Too long to tell but it involves a cat, a wife her husband and her mother on a roof.

Did you like school?

Jeez no I hated it. Or I did until the last 3 months of 5th year then things started slipping into place and I bawled my eyes out and begged my Mum to let me stay on but she was having none of it and made me leave with ambitions to sell me off to the local chimney sweep. I swear she kept me small for that very purpose.

When were you last arrested?

I’d like it on record that I’ve never been formally arrested or charged, merely cautioned, giving a warning and on one occasion a very stern Paddington stare by a rather lazy looking copper who clearly couldn’t be arsed filling out the paper work after catching me necking a Bacardi Breezer on Queen St. To those outwith Glasgow this was 6 months after it was deemed illegal to imbibe on the streets.

Is there life on other planets?

I have no idea – I thought about it once then decided such thoughts weren’t for the likes of me.

Who do you love?

Jeremy – my husband. AKA Bloke With Beard. We were friends 25+ years ago then met again through FB and ended up getting married. There’s a real gushy story to this that I insist on telling anyone who’ll stand still long enough to listen.

Do you pair your socks?

Don’t be silly.

What’s your most treasured possession?

I’m hopeless at throwing stuff away. I keep everything as they’re ALL my most treasured possessions. One day I’ll move to Royston Vasey and open a shop full of precious things.

* * *

the quiet ones

If you want to find out more about Theresa, she can be reached on twitter @Theresa_Talbot or via her website www.theresatalbot.com. Her books can be purchased HERE.

Susi Qs – Week 10 – Alex Knight

Alex Knight headshot

Today’s guest choosing from my random question generator is everyone’s favourite multi-monikered ex-pizza delivery boy from Glasgow… this week, he’s calling himself: Alex Knight

Go for it, Alex, I mean Mason, I mean…

What was your first gig?

Foo Fighters at Glasgow Barrowlands, November 23rd, 1999. I got kicked in the head by a crowd surfer during Everlong and managed to get my hand planted square on his back in the optimum position to launch him over the barrier, where a bouncer missed catching him. Probably the single most satisfying thing I ever done in my life.

What is the most annoying thing?

People who recline their seats on planes. They’re the worst. It’s a plane, they are inherently uncomfortable. You are not going to make yourself more comfortable by reclining, you’re only going to make the poor sod behind you even less comfortable.

Who would you rather pay golf with? Michael McKintyre, Take That, or The Queen?

The Queen, because she is much older and so will have less upper body strength. Plus, I think Barlow would cheat.

Have you ever written a fan letter?

I sent Bill Clinton a copy of my first novel and he very kindly wrote back on his official headed paper saying it “looks terrific”. Publisher didn’t go for my idea of putting “…terrific…” – Bill Clinton on the cover. Obama never replied.

What is your most unrealistic ambition?

I’m not sure if it’s unrealistic as I haven’t tried yet, but I would like to be filmed in slow motion and have someone pitch a Scotch egg to me like a baseball, which I would then slice in half with a Samurai sword.

What’s your favourite kitchen appliance?

Does a coffee machine count? Definitely coffee machine. I have made myself a minimum of two cappuccinos per day since the start of lockdown 1, which is 638 cappuccinos at the time of writing.

Who was the best Beatle?

People who say George are trying too hard to be different, and obviously it isn’t Ringo, so I’ll go with Paul because most of my favourite Beatles songs are Paul songs, even after you deduct points for Obla Di Obla Da. Also, he wrote both of the top 2 post-Beatles solo songs in Live and Let Die and Mull of Kintyre.

Do you worry about swallowing spiders in your sleep?

Well *now* I do, thanks a lot.

Which actor do you fancy the most?

Teri Hatcher in season 1 of Lois & Clark when she had the good haircut, or Charisma Carpenter in season 1 of Buffy before they turned her nice. Wait, does Kylie count? Any version of Kylie. You can probably guess my date of birth to within a week from these reference points.

Tequila Sunrise or Pina Colada?

The Eagles are a better band, but the Pina Colada Song is a better song

* * *

Hunted-book-cover

If you want to find out more about “Alex”, he can be reached on twitter @TheAlexKnight / @masoncrossbooks or via his websites masoncross.net / alexknightauthor.com. His books can be purchased HERE (Alex Knight) and HERE (Mason/MJ Cross).

Susi Qs – Week 9 – Caroline Mitchell

This week’s guest choosing from the biscuit tin of randomness (hat tip: Smash Hits 90s) is mega bestseller and all round lovely person, Caroline Mitchell.

Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, she has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.

Go for it, Caroline…

Who do you love?

The person who brings me coffee and chocolate when I’m elbow deep in edits.

What’s your secret party piece?

I’m a bit of an introvert so you’ll usually find me in dark corners at parties with booze in hand. However I have been known to entertain people with my true story of paranormal occurrences and the exorcism which followed. Always gets a captive audience, that one!

Were you any good at potato sculptures?

No, but I used to have a potato gun when I was growing up in Ireland (no shortage of potatoes there) I used to have perfect aim and took sadistic pleasure in shooting people in the backside.

When was the last time you were arrested?

Never…but as a former copper I arrested many. One of my most memorable was being stuck in a tiny holding cell (no windows, no doors, the place where you wait to enter custody) with a rather large lady of questionable hygiene standards when she ripped the loudest, wettest, deplorable fart. My eyes were watering it was so bad, and I was gagging for air when she said daintily ‘oops, ‘scuse me, I popped.’ Like it was some cute, dainty thing of Disney standards. I manage to choke the words while clawing for air ‘that was not a pop!’

Who was the best Beatle

John Lennon, for his vision, although I’m afraid I’ve never been a Beatles fan. More of a David Bowie woman, me.

What’s your most treasured possession?

The last picture I took with my mum when I visited Ireland to see her. I was getting out of the car and took a selfie of us on the spur of the moment, she and her identical twin were grinning away, with me in the middle. I had no idea that would be the last time I would see her. It makes me both painfully sad and happy every time I look at it, hung on the wall.

How many times have you seen Top Gun?

I’ve seen Top Gun twice – I was more of a Dirty Dancing Fan!

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

Not a huge amount, as I’m more into gadgets, but I’ve accumulated an awful lot more since meeting Mel Sherratt – our Harrogate shopping trips are legendary. Can’t wait to get back to it!

What’s your favourite kitchen appliance?

My coffee maker – goes without saying!

Which dead celebrity do you wish was still alive?

There are so many, but I watched a Freddy Mercury concert recently and his early demise was such a tragedy. He had a lot more to give. If he could bring David Bowie back with him that would be smashing 😉

* * *

If you want to find out more about Caroline, she can be reached on twitter @Caroline_writes or via her website carolinemitchellauthor.com. Her books can be purchased HERE

Susi Qs – Week 8 – Derek Farrell

This week’s guest choosing from the biscuit tin of randomness (hat tip: Smash Hits 90s) is the fabulously entertaining Derek Farrell.

Derek is the author of five Danny Bird mysteries. He’s married and lives with his husband in West Sussex. They have no cats dogs goats or children, though they do have every Kylie Minogue record ever recorded. Twice.

Go for it, Derek…

Where’s the worst place you’ve been sick?

Croydon.

You know when Rihanna sang “We found love in a hopeless place”?

That was Croydon, that was.

Do you find it hard to take criticism?

Well nobody wants to be told they’re shit, do they? But if you’re going to put anything creative into the world you can’t be too precious about it: Some people will love it, some won’t.

My only issue is when people mix up criticism with spite, or when they post a Goodreads review that uses ten thousand words and a full card’s worth of LitCrit Bingo Buzzwords to make out like they’re excoriating the work in the pages of the TLS. Those ones are the moments when I usually have to resist saying “It’s a Genre novel, Love, and you’re a part-time bookkeeper and <checks twitter bio> ‘cat parent’ from Surbiton, so you can drop the Harold Bloom act.”

Where was your best holiday?

My best holidays ever have been in NYC. Any part of it. It’s the city I have felt most alive in, most creative in, and the place where I proposed to my husband, on the 23rd of December 2005 after a performance of Wicked. We were crossing Times Sq heading back to our apartment in Hells Kitchen, and I choked.

Asking the question ‘Will you marry me?’ might get a big fat Yes. But what if he said ‘No’? What if he laughed and said ‘Don’t be silly’?

What if I never asked and we just kept going as we were?

Well, if we literally kept going as we were we’d end up in the Hudson River.

But I digress. Frequently.

By the time I plucked up the courage, we were beyond the glittering Neon fairyworld of Times Square in a less salubrious part of town.

Which was why I proposed, he accepted, and our special place will forever be on 8th Avenue on the pavement outside a dodgy sex shop that proudly boasted a peepshow with 25c Booths (though the neon was faulty so it actually said 25c Bots).

Would you rather have four arms or four legs?

Four arms please: One to type with. One to eat with, one to thumb through my twitter feed and one to flick through the channels on TV looking for an episode of Law & Order or Murder She wrote (cos there’s ALWAYS an episode of L&O or MSW on somewhere. It’s the law innit).

Four legs would only make me feel even guiltier that I’m not doing couch to 5k or training for an iron man or something. But frankly, until they take Law & Order or Jessica Fletcher off the box there is zero chance of me ever doing either of those things.

If you were a kangaroo, what would you keep in your pouch?

I know you want me to say my phone so I can keep track of my social media and my Amazon rankings, but Kangaroos don’t have opposable thumbs, do they? So my phone would be of little use to me.

No, if I were a kangaroo, my pouch would contain my babies Kylie and Jason (Kylie the Kanga and Jason the Jumper). And possibly – as I am now approaching old age – a bag of Werther Originals.

Sum yourself up in one word

Annoying. But ultimately Loveable. <Subs: Please delete as appropriate>

Do you pair your socks?

With what? Wine choices? Yes, I often pair my sheer black knee-length business Wolfords with a crisp Riesling and a soupcon of professionalism, while my tweed-knit hiking socks really need a tannin heavy Cabernet Sauvignon and a devil-may-care attitude.

Who do you love?

My husband. My family. My friends. People I’ve never met who are fighting to make the world a better place. There are few things sacred in my world view, and I joke about a lot of things, but Love is something I don’t joke about. It’s also something I no longer shy away from saying. There’s so much darkness in the world that nowadays, if you love someone, say so.

What were you in a previous life?

Annoying. But ultimately loveable. <Subs: Please delete as appropriate>

You know how people always say that in a past life they were Cleopatra or Julius Caesar? Well I’m not sure that I was anything in a previous life, cos I’m not entirely sure that there are pre- or post- lives to be honest. But if there are, then I was probably a laundry maid who drowned in a vat of piss that she was supposed to be bleaching the sheets in.

On brand, innit.

Would you rather have no forks or no plates?

No forks, please. No forks means I will never again be able to eat cauliflower rice. And if you’ve ever had to eat cauliflower rice you will know why I have gathered together every fork in my house and cast them into the recycling bin.

Vile stuff that looks tastes and has the mouth feel of ground up polystyrene.

I can still eat chips with my fingers, spaghetti with chopsticks and a spoon, and peas with my knife (classy). But if I never again, so long as I live, have to see cauliflower rice… <rambles off grumbling words like ‘obscenity,’ ‘disgrace,’ and ‘tasteless low-carb filth’>.

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If you need more of a Derek-fix, he can be reached on twitter @derekifarrell or via his website www.derekfarrell.co.uk

His books can be purchased directly from the publisher HERE

Or from Amazon 

Susi Qs – Week 7 – Caroline Green

Hello and welcome (again) to my blog series – Susi Qs – where I will be quizzing some of your favourite crime fiction authors, in the style of the Smash Hits Biscuit Tin. For those of you unfamiliar/too young – this involved a celebrity choosing some very random questions from a biscuit tin. I’m using a virtual tin (let’s imagine it was one like this one below, full of my own favourite biscuits…), and instead of a celeb, I’ve got an author… Oh, and this will be the last week that I do a banner at the top or share a picture of a biscuit tin. I know, I’m gutted too, but in the interests of time, I’m going to focus on the questions and answers, because how many times can that ‘sick’ question randomly appear anyway? Answers on a postcard!

This week’s guest is Caroline Green, aka Cass Green and CS Green (yes, I’m sure her favourite colour is green…) – her debut adult novel The Woman Next Door was a Number 1 e-book bestseller and In A Cottage, In A Wood was a Sunday Times top ten and USA Today bestseller. She is also an award-winning author of fiction for young people. Sleep Tight is the start of a genre-busting crime series for adults. She is also Writer in Residence at East Barnet School, and teaches for City University and Writers and Artist’s Yearbook.

So, without further ado – let’s find out what Ms Green would like to share with us…

Who was your first crush?

Richard Hatch in The Streets of San Francisco. Me and my best friend loved him so much, we wrote some fan fiction about him and showed it to her much older brother for feedback. Let’s say it was the first of many crushing literary rejections.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A zoo keeper, then a ballet dancer. The latter was a particularly high ambition, considering I was and remain the clumsiest person in any room.

Who’s your favourite cartoon character?

It’s a toss-up between Baloo in The Jungle Book and Top Cat. Both have a jazzy swagger I’d love to possess.

Did you like school?

No. No. No. Have you got room for me to write ‘no’ a few hundred more times? I went to a school where there were quite a few scary people and I spent a lot of time gibbering in terror and fearing for my life.

Is there life on other planets?

Definitely. How could there not be? The only problem is how we would ever get to meet them. But they are definitely OUT THERE. *cue X Files music*

Have you ever had your fortune told?

A ‘friend’ who claimed to be good at these things once ‘read’ my palm. She visibly paled and then clammed up and wouldn’t tell me what she supposedly saw there. So that was nice.

Why are coconuts so difficult to open?

They are a dream in comparison to the sellotape roll that almost reduced me to tears recently and much more satisfying to smash into the wall in frustration.

Do you prefer buttons or zips?

Buttons, but only if they are made of chocolate.

Have you ever written a fan letter?

As a little girl I wrote to the author of the Paddington books, Michael Bond, because I was obsessed with the books. I quite often write gushing messages to authors these days, so not much has changed.

Where’s the worst place you’ve been sick?

All I’m prepared to say about this is that whoever that woman was at the Leadmill Club in Sheffield in 1987 I am truly sorry and have thought about you ever since.

* * *

Thank you, Caroline. I know the full story about the Leadmill Club and I feel the need to apologise too…

BUY CAROLINE’S BOOKS

Find her on Twitter @CarolineSGreen

 

 

Susi Qs – Week 6 – William Shaw

Hello and welcome to my blog series – Susi Qs – where I will be quizzing some of your favourite crime fiction authors, in the style of the Smash Hits Biscuit Tin. For those of you unfamiliar/too young – this involved a celebrity choosing some very random questions from a biscuit tin. I’m using a virtual tin (let’s imagine it was one like this…), and instead of a celeb, I’ve got an author…

This week’s guest is William Shaw, who has been shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger, the Barry Award and The Golden Bullet and longlisted twice for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year without actually winning anything. He was on the staff of Smash Hits for several years (in fact, he probably invented this whole concept).

So, without further ado – let’s find out what wisdom Will would like to share with us…

Where’s the worst place you’ve been sick?

On the ceiling. True story. Though the ceiling was actually quite low. I was a 14-year-old on a family canal boat holiday with my family and my mum, who was quite the forager, thought it would be a nice idea to try some puffball mushrooms, fried in red wine. The vomit was projectile. In the cold light of morning it was also purple. 

How often do you change your sheets?

Weekly on a Sunday. From when I was 19 I lived for a couple of years alone for a in a house half way up a Welsh hillside with no heating apart from a coal fire and a single electric heater that I wired in almost killing myself in the process – and no running hot water. I used to have to heat water on a Baby Belling cooker or on a coal stove to wash anything. Occasionally I took a tin bath in front of the fire. I shudder to think how often I must have washed my sheets back then.

Do you find it hard to take criticism?

Actually no. It sounds really boasty, but I’m really good at taking criticism from people I respect and admire and even better at ignoring it from people who I don’t.

Who do you love?

Jane McMorrow who I fell in love with in September 1990 at a party thrown by Mary Loughran. We were both advantageously drunk and somehow I managed to persuade her to come to a contemporary classic concert by Olivier Messiaen at the South Bank the next evening, deeply weird but beautiful stuff. She was so hungover that evening she couldn’t even bend to tie her shoe laces but that weekend somehow set the tone for the next thirty-two years. I love the children we have together too who are far cooler than we ever were.

Who’s your favourite cartoon character?

Grommit. My sister used to be in animation and worked on The Wrong Trousers – and for Aardman’s Animated Conversations series. She is also the author of Stop Motion: Craft Skills for Model Animation. Beat that.

Do you worry about swallowing spiders in your sleep?

Constantly.

Do you have any weird habits?

Sometimes, rather than looking for the glasses cleaner, I lick my glasses and wipe them with my shirt tails. This is not a good look when you’re on stage at a book event.

Have you ever had your fortune told?

In The Belvedere on Brighton seafront – now The Tempest Inn – there used to be a man who always sat in the same chair and would do graphology for the price of a couple of pints. He looked at my handwriting and told me I was a bum and breast man because of the roundness of my ‘w’s. I told him he was an old perv.

Would you rather give up washing, smiling or reading?

Washing, all the way. Under lockdown I’ve mostly given it up anyway. We wash way too much. It’s really bad for your health and the amount of soap we pour down the drains is insane. Seriously. I gave up shampooing my hair six months ago because I looked like a snow globe whenever I wore a dark shirt and my scalp is now perfectly fine.

What are you wearing?

It’s mid January* and I’m wearing a Christmas jumper. That says everything we know about lockdown, doesn’t it?

*It’s nearly March. I suspect he’s still wearing it…

* * *

Thank you, Will. I have to say, that glasses licking thing is actually quite weird…

BUY WILL’S BOOKS

Find him on Twitter @William1Shaw

 

 

Susi Qs – Week 5 – Katerina Diamond

Hello and welcome to my blog series – Susi Qs – where I will be quizzing some of your favourite crime fiction authors, in the style of the Smash Hits Biscuit Tin. For those of you unfamiliar/too young – this involved a celebrity choosing some very random questions from a biscuit tin. I’m using a virtual tin (let’s imagine it was one like this…), and instead of a celeb, I’ve got an author…

This week’s guest is Katerina Diamond, the Sunday Times Best Selling author of Exeter-based Grey & Miles crime thriller series – starting with The Teacher and followed by The Secret, The Angel, The Promise and Truth or Die. Her latest novel The Heatwave is a gripping standalone, and fans will be pleased to hear that more Grey and Miles books are on their way.

So, without further ado – let’s see what nonsense Kat would like to share with us…

Do you have any weird habits?

I do the Vulcan “my mind to your mind” with my cat.

Where’s the worst place you’ve been sick?

A difficult question to answer without incriminating myself. I guess the worst place was Derby cemetery.

Who do you love?

Isn’t this an LL Cool J song? – I love quite a few people, too many to list really. At the moment though I’ve been re watching Quantum Leap and I love Sam Beckett.

What would you cook on Come Dine With Me?

Drunk Pork stew – it’s a Greek dish made with pork and red wine (oregano, garlic, Dijon mustard – cook for 4 hours on low) its super delicious.

Have you ever written a fan letter?

I have written a fan letter to an author, back before I started writing myself. They responded to me, they were quite famous too. I’m not going to say who it is!

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

I have 5 pairs of the same trainers in different colours, I have 2 pairs of boots.

When did you last sleepwalk?

Its been a while, I think it might have been on the eve of my third book coming out. We had just moved house and I woke up to find myself wrapped up in my brand new white velvet curtains (since destroyed by the cats). The curtains were in a box somewhere so I must have got up to put them on.

When was the last time you were arrested?

I have never been arrested but I was accidentally in a drugs raid once. I left my bag at someones house and when I went to pick it up a police team with dogs turned up and searched the place.

Who would you rather pay golf with? Michael McKintyre, Take That, or The Queen?

I guess the Queen. The others are all a bit annoying.

What’s your secret party piece?

I can turn my tongue upside down.

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Thank you, Kat. I would really like to know who you sent that fan letter to!

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Find her on Twitter @TheVenomousPen

 

 

Susi Qs – Week 4 – Douglas Skelton

Hello and welcome to my blog series – Susi Qs – where I will be quizzing some of your favourite crime fiction authors, in the style of the Smash Hits Biscuit Tin. For those of you unfamiliar/too young – this involved a celebrity choosing some very random questions from a biscuit tin. I’m using a virtual tin (let’s imagine it was one like this…), and instead of a celeb, I’ve got an author…

This week’s guest is Douglas Skelton, who was once considered to play James Bond but he refused to remove his vest. He began writing, first non-fiction and then fiction as there was no money in notes for the milkman. His most recent book is THE BLOOD IS STILL. Still what? He doesn’t know. His next will be out in August 2021.

So, without further ado – let’s see what Douglas has got to say for himself…

Who was your first crush?
 I am old so have to say Queen Victoria, when she looked like Jenna Coleman. I remember well those days, as a mucky-faced Glasgow waif with skint knees, a bad haircut and the look of the perpetually perplexed (much as I am today). I would wait in the streets for her coach whenever she visited, praying for a glimpse of her face as she passed or, even better, a wave of a hand, a coin or two tossed in my direction or even to be splashed by street mud from the wheel. Many years later, when serving with the 4th Mounted Lavatory Inspectors  I would share this memory with Lord Wellington, Lord Cardigan and, from Glasgow, Lord Stringvest. My, how they would laugh before smiting me with a riding crop and ordering me to scrub with increased vigour.

What is your most unrealistic ambition?
To listen to a politician, nod sagely and say, ‘the wise words of (insert name/ministerial position here) have the ring of truth about them and I will  vote for them at the next election with relish’ even though the election officials take a dim view of me leaving tomato sauce on the ballot paper.

Why are coconuts so difficult to open?
It is a little known fact vouchsafed to certain students of divinity that when whatever supreme being you choose to acknowledge created the coconut, he/she/they had intended to include a small key very like those you get with tins of corned beef. However, she/he/they had been on the bevvy the night before (having just created malt whisky) and had what we call in Scotland a sair heid and they/she/he simply forgot. The coconut was then passed off as a test of ingenuity and intelligence on humankind which most of us have so far failed, plumping instead to devise and watch reality TV.

Who would you rather play golf with? Michael McIntyre, Take That or The Queen?
I don’t play golf, not since the great Niblick Disaster of ’88 when a carelessly wielded club took flight like a lance and managed a hole in one. Unfortunately the hole was in one of the players on the next green and he has never addressed his balls properly since. However, in the spirit of the blog, should I win against Her Majesty I fear a sojourn in the Tower while Take That may feel the need to trill a few ditties, making a sojourn in the Tower seem like a holiday. So it would have to be Michael McIntyre because he would never stand still long enough to take a decent swing so I may have the advantage.

What are you wearing?
This is usually a question I am asked by one of the many fulsome and extremely friendly young ladies who befriend me on social media and then try to get me onto Google Hangouts where we can discuss such grave matters as pandemics, political upheaval and Made in Chelsea while also giving fashion tips. At this very moment of typing I am wearing a rude ploughman’s vest and breeches. The rude ploughman is next door wearing mine.

What was your favourite toy?
I loved cars, the flashier the better. I had an original Aston Martin DB5 complete with ejector seat, I had a huge American number supposedly driven by Napoleon Solo while Ilya Kuryakin leaned out of the window and opened Channel D, I had Lady Penelope’s pink Rolls Royce and a Batmobile. Luckily, we had a large garage and nobody knew I had nicked them.

Do you worry about swallowing spiders in your sleep?
No, but I do now. There has been one in the corner of my bedroom for a few nights now and sometimes he has been dangling over me like Tom Cruise in Mission:Impossible. Perhaps the temptation to drop into my gaping maw is one mission he has chosen not to accept.

Would you rather give up washing, smiling or reading?
I have unfortunate teeth, a hangover from my childhood when we could not afford bottle openers so my sisters used me to prise open their nightly six packs of sweet stout. So I suppose smiling would be the one I’d go for. I do enjoy washing and look forward to it, to be honest. I still have another two weeks to go before my next one. 

What’s your favourite joke?
Why do elephants have big ears?
Because Noddy wouldn’t pay the ransom.

What are you having for lunch tomorrow?
Good grief, that’s too much planning! One of the big drawbacks of being an adult, apart from not being able to get into my Winnie the Pooh onesie with blackflap (for the pooh), is having to decide what to make to eat. I mean, it’s never-ending – breakfast, second breakfast (my great-great-great grandfather was a hobbit and we maintain the tradition. And the hairy feet, not to mention the urge to throw rings into volcanoes), lunch, afternoon tea, tiffin, dinner, supper. You also have to stay on top of those use by dates, which it turns out are not necessarily advisory as I learned to my cost in December of ’94 when a long-ignored spring onion led to a winter of discontent. At that time I tend to open the fridge and if it didn’t grab me by the throat and try to drag me in, then that’s what went next. 

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Thank you, Douglas. The ploughman’s vest image will stay with me for some time…

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Find him on Twitter @DouglasSkelton1