Susi Qs – Week 16 – James Oswald


This week I’m chatting to the extremely multi-talented James Oswald – author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series, the Detective Constable Constance Fairchild series and the five part epic fantasy The Ballad of Sir Benfro. When he’s not writing, he runs a 350 acre hill farm in north east Fife, where he raises pedigree Highland cows.

Go on then, James…

When was the last time you were arrested?

What are you suggesting? I’ve never been arrested! You’d have to catch me first. I was pulled over for a broken brake light in Aberystwyth once, then asked to step out of the car and take a breathalyser test the moment I wound down the window. As it happened, I was designated driver for the evening, but my two passengers were several sheets to the wind and smelled like seasoned winos. When they both explained this – at length – to the officers, and the test came up clear, the police took pity on me and waved me off without another word.

What was your first gig?

I was a chorus boy in the school panto, aged ten, I think. It was Jack and the Beanstalk, and I was originally cast as Jack’s girlfriend, Rosemary – all boy boarding school, these things happened. I could never remember my lines though, so I got booted. I was gutted; Rosemary’s costume was so cool, with a long blonde pigtail wig and make up and…

Oh, you meant first gig I saw? That would probably be Simple Minds at the Hammersmith Odeon in May 1984. I had a ticket to see David Bowie a year earlier, but I wasn’t allowed out of school and ended up giving the ticket to my sister.

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

If I was a kangaroo, I would probably keep a joey in my pouch. Anything else would be weird.

What is the most annoying thing?

Dog poo bags left on the path or hung on the fence. Really, this makes my blood boil. There’s footpaths all over the farm, and a lot of people walk their dogs here. Most either just leave the poo where it is, which is fine since it’s not a high traffic area and it’ll break down soon enough, or they bag it up and take it away. A few mindless fuckwits bag it then leave the bag in the path, or tie it neatly to the fence. Just what do you think is going to happen to that? Do you expect some dog poo warden to come and clean up after you?

The really annoying thing is that they probably think they’re upstanding and responsible citizens because hey, they’ve bagged their dog poo! But no, they’re not thinking at all. Selfish fuckwits.

What’s your most treasured possession?

I’m not really good at treasuring things. Maybe my copy (OK, copies plural) of 2000AD prog 865 which came out in December 1993 and features my first and only published comic script, the Tharg’s Future Shock It’s A Cold World.

Would you rather have four arms or four legs?

That entirely depends on what I’m cooking and how many mouths there are to feed.

Who was the best Beatle?

My older brother was into the Beatles, so I of course couldn’t stand them and hardly ever listen to them. I wear John Lennon specs, mind you, but then Paul McCartney gave us the Frog Chorus and Ringo is Thomas the Tank Engine. Might have to go with Pete, since he was clearly the Best.

Do you empty your own hoover bag?

What kind of a question is that? Only very occasionally. And in private.

Which dead celebrity do you wish was still alive?

Poor sods, can’t they have some rest now?

What was your favourite toy?

I had a few chemistry sets when I was little, which were great fun. I never learned any chemistry (apart from acid+alkali=salt+water, which stuck for some unfathomable reason), but the little methylated spirits based Bunsen burner was great for setting fire to things, and if you mixed all the bottles of chemicals together you got some weird things happening. I can’t quite believe the stuff we were allowed to have in the 70s. God only knows what I did to my brain with the fumes.

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If you want to know more about James, you can find him on twitter @SirBenfro. His books can be purchased HERE.

Susi Qs – Week 15 – CL Taylor

CL Taylor authorThis week’s wonderfully entertaining guest is C.L. Taylor – an award winning Sunday Times bestselling author of eight gripping psychological thrillers including SLEEP, a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for autumn 2019. She has also written two Young Adult thrillers. Her books have been translated into over 20 languages and have been number one in the Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks and Audible charts. [She’s also just been longlisted for the prestigious Dagger in the Library, but that wasn’t on her bio a few weeks ago – whoohoo!]

Take it away, Cally…

Have you ever been punched in the face?

No but I’ve given myself a few slaps for looking at my Goodreads reviews.

Have you ever broken a bone?

I’ve broken my little finger playing snaps and my baby toe by dropping a portable desk on it. In the ‘cool broken bones’ anthology my entry is in the bin.

What would you cook on Come Dine With Me?

 Nachos with dips for starter, Welsh rarebit for main and Angel Delight for dessert. I am very basic, in many, many ways.

Do you pair your socks?

No. I chuck loads of single socks in my drawer and make my life even more hellish by spending every morning searching for a matching pair.  Of course I pair my socks! What kind of fool doesn’t?

What’s your secret party piece?

I can whistle so loudly that people turn around to find out who that whistling knobhead is.

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

 Let’s just say several Tesco delivery men have died tripping over the mountain of shoes in my hallway.

Where was your best holiday?

My best holiday is any holiday where I don’t come back hating the person I went with.

What’s your favourite joke?

I can only remember two jokes and one of them involves something brown and sticky so here’s the other one:

Knock Knock

Who’s there?


Europe who?

No You’re a Poo.

Have you ever had your fortune told?

I have! I attended a psychic fair because I was considering writing a romantic comedy about a psychic and my boyfriend at the time was quite open minded and agreed to come with me. My boyfriend went to get his aura photographed (no, he wasn’t doing it for research…) while I went to get my tarot read. Now, I’d been having a few doubts about this boyfriend for a while. They started on our first date when he got out of his chair at the bar and I had to lower my chin to look at him. I’m six foot and I’d stipulated on my dating profile that I only wanted to date men six foot or taller. When I queried my date about the fact he’d put six foot on his profile he said, ‘I rounded up.’ Interesting. If he was 5’11.5 that was forgivable but at 5’9” he was REALLY rounding up. Anyway, it wasn’t just his height that made me unsure about our future together and when the tarot reader asked me what I’d like to know about I asked her to tell me about the future of my relationship. I gave her no other information and kept my face expressionless as she read the cards. Half an hour later my then boyfriend turned up. ‘How was it?’ he asked, looking from me to the tarot reader. Neither of us could meet his eye. ‘Great,’ I said. One month later I did what the cards had confirmed and I dumped his ass.

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

On a coach from Italy to Australia in snowy February. It was a three hour journey, I was sitting next to my five year old son and the heating was on full because the windscreen blowers weren’t working and it was the only way for the driver to see the road. I’m not a great traveller as it is but the combination of coach, heat and bumpy roads made my stomach lurch. The first time I was sick I managed to swallow it back (sorry if you’re eating as you read this) but the very act of swallowing my own sick meant my stomach then lurched violently. It was 6am and still dark. Most of the other people on the coach were asleep or sitting quietly. I didn’t have a sick bag, or any time to ask my partner, sitting behind me, if he had a suitable receptacle. So, as quietly as I could, I puked into my coat on my lap. Thirty seconds later my son, who’d been looking at his Ipad as I puked, sniffed the air. His wail of horror filled the silent coach, ‘Oh my god what’s that smell? Mum, were you just sick in your coat?’

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If you want to know more about Cally, you can find her on twitter @CallyTaylor. Her books can be purchased HERE.

Susi Qs – Week 14 – Ed James


This week’s “Victim of Silly Questions” is some layabout calling himself Ed James. The endlessly prolific author writes crime-fiction novels across multiple series. His Scott Cullen series follows the career of a young Edinburgh Detective investigating crimes from the bottom rung of the career ladder he’s desperate to climb. The spin-off Craig Hunter series focuses on a cop and overcoming his PTSD from his time in the army. Putting Dundee on the tartan noir map, the DS Vicky Dodds books star a driven female detective struggling to combine her complex home life with a heavy caseload. Set four hundred miles south on the gritty streets of East London, his DI Fenchurch series features a detective with little to lose and a daughter to find. Formerly an IT project manager, Ed began writing on planes, trains and automobiles to fill his weekly commute to London. He now writes full-time and lives in the Scottish Borders, with his girlfriend and a menagerie of rescued animals.

Let’s hear it, Edwin…

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Don’t be daft. I’ll never grow up.

Do you prefer buttons or zips?
Zips, but I seem to be having issues remembering to do them up after a visit to the little boys’ room. Lockdown doesn’t get much worse than that.

What’s your secret party piece?
Singing. Very loudly. I mean VERY VERY LOUDLY. And Tom Jones or Hall & Oates. Or Climie Fisher.

Are you any good at potato sculptures?
Does mash count? Or does using a spudgun?

What’s the last book you read?
For once I can answer this with something that’s hot and celebrated, rather than a book about searching for King Arthur etc. Blacktop Wasteland by SA Cosby, which was dark and twisted. Really cinematic. Loved it.

Do you pair your socks?
Of course. I’m not an animal. But mostly they sit in the washing basket.

What’s your favourite joke?
What’s blue and smalls like red paint?
Blue paint.

Would you rather give up washing, smiling or reading?
I’m a smelly bastard, a grumpy git and struggle to read much fiction. But I need to read for my job, so… I’ll give up smiling, which doesn’t feel too onerous.

Would you rather have no forks or no plates?
Plates. Forks can be used to eat from the packet/tub/baking tray/etc, but you can get away without plates.

Who was the best Beatle?
I mean, the Beatles are extremely overrated so it’s like would you rather get kicked in the balls, the arse or the face?
Ringo was a terrible drummer but had the personality of a Monkee, didn’t he?
George did “I Got My Mind Set On You”, which might be a cover but was one of my favourite songs as a kid and kids don’t care about authenticity.
McCartney is a berk, I hate the way he plays bass, and his post-Beatles material is generally as beige as a Weller album, though he does make me piss myself laughing with such weird shit as Band on the Run, Jet, Live and Let Die, Temporary Secretary and Listen to What the Man Says. Some of his Beatles stuff is okay, like Helter Skelter and… Erm.
Obviously, it’s John Lennon. I mean, it’s so obvious. His stuff had an edge to it, even though he was probably a bit of a prick, but in a different way to Macca, who is the “alrighty guys!” Radio 1 DJ to Lennon’s angry bastard who didn’t treat his family very well. But the good Beatles songs are pretty much all his.
That is the most I’ve ever thought about the Beatles. Actually, it might be George for I Got My Mind Set On You.

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If you want to know more about Ed, you can find him on twitter @EdJamesAuthor. His books can be purchased HERE.

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?


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.

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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


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.

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the quiet ones

If you want to find out more about Theresa, she can be reached on twitter @Theresa_Talbot or via her website 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

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If you want to find out more about “Alex”, he can be reached on twitter @TheAlexKnight / @masoncrossbooks or via his websites / 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 😉

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If you want to find out more about Caroline, she can be reached on twitter @Caroline_writes or via her website 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?


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’>.

* * *

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

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…


Find her on Twitter @CarolineSGreen