Susi Qs – Week 33 – David Jackson

This week I’m probing the very lovely David Jackson, who was one of the first crime writers I got to know, and met in person at Harrogate in 2012 – which seems like a very long time ago! David’s debut novel, Pariah, was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Awards. He has written a string of internationally published crime thrillers since then, including the bestseller Cry Baby, nominated by Amazon as one of their Best Books of the Year. The Guardian newspaper said of his work: ‘Recalls Harlan Coben – though for my money Jackson is the better writer’.

Take it away, Dave!

What is your most unrealistic ambition?

Winning a three-legged race on my own.

Have you ever been punched in the face?

Yes. Boxing at school. I refused to take part, so the teacher hit me. It was a tough school.

What would you cook on Come Dine With Me?

The guests. With fava beans and a nice Chianti.

What’s your secret party piece?

Invisibility. Nobody ever knows I’m there. (Expressions of sympathy in cash to the usual address, please)

Do you pair your socks?

My socks are all in triplets (I like to carry a spare in case of foot-based accidents)

Have you ever had your fortune told?

Yes. She told me that my life line was so short I must already be dead. We argued the toss for a good ten minutes.

What was your first gig?

My first author gig was at a library. As an ice-breaker, the small audience had to attach names to the author photographs on the wall. Even though I was the invited speaker, they decided that my own photo was of Douglas Henshall from the Shetland series. Later, someone asked how I could possibly continue my police series when the protagonist had suffered such catastrophic injuries. Turned out she’d read the wrong book.

Do you worry about swallowing spiders in your sleep?

No, but I spend much of my day ensuring they worry about swallowing me.

Would you rather give up washing, smiling or reading?

This question required research, so I’ve given up washing and smiling. Nobody comes near me now, so I’m getting lots of reading done.

What’s your most treasured possession?

My ring. My precious ring. Nasty hobbitses wants to steal it, so I only wears it at parties (see above).

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


Susi Qs – Week 32 – Tammy Cohen

Today’s guest is the wonderful Tammy Cohen! Tammy has written ten novels under her own name, including seven psychological thrillers, the latest of which is The Wedding Party. She has also written three historical novels under the pseudonym of Rachel Rhys including the Richard and Judy pick Dangerous Crossing. She is 5’2” and worried she might be shrinking.


Are you any good at potato sculptures?

A lady doesn’t like to boast BUT let’s just say I visited the Rodin exhibition at the Tate last week and you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a perfectly scaled copy of The Thinker carved out of an extra-large Maris Piper.

Would you rather have four arms or four legs?

Arms for sure. We’re living temporarily in a rented house with a hand-held shower, and it’d be lovely not to have to grip the shower head between my knees while unscrewing the shampoo bottle and spraying the ceiling in the process.

What is the most annoying thing?

Questions where the list of answers is so infinite you can’t think of a single one.

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

The Queen – I might actually win.

What are you wearing?

Oh, my usual Barbara Cartland style writing garb – white mink, diamond tiara, pink fluffy mules, dog stuffed under arm…

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Tall – It’d be nice to be able to reach the ‘good’ glasses down from the kitchen cupboards without precariously balancing on a stool.

Would you rather have no forks or no plates?

You can fashion a plate out of anything but forks are impossible as I found out a couple of weeks ago when I bought a superfood humus salad from M&S for the train and forgot the little wooden fork. If you’re ever tempted to eat a gloopy salad using a rolled up train ticket in place of cutlery, just don’t.

What’s your secret party piece?

I can sit on the floor with my legs straight out in front of me and then bend them both at the knee into right angles so it appears as if I have two broken legs. As party tricks go, it’s not the coolest.

Do you worry about swallowing spiders in your sleep?

Only when I’m camping when I have to zip my whole head up inside my sleeping bag just to be on the safe side.

Have you ever been punched in the face?

No, I run a mile at the first hint of confrontation. But my partner, Michael, once knocked himself out by opening a bottle of champagne under his own chin, if that’s any use…

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


Susi Qs – Week 31 – Doug Johnstone

Photo credit: Duncan McGlynn

This week I’m grilling one of my favourite countrymen, the very cool and ridiculously multi-talented Doug Johnstone. Doug is the author of thirteen novels, three of which have been shortlisted for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. He’s a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers.

Let’s hear it, Doug…

What would you cook on Come Dine with me?

Steak and chips, keep it simple. They’re all gonna get smashed and slag it anyway, so it might as well be something I like that’s easy.

Which actor do you fancy the most?

Amy Adams. I think it’s her ability to talk to aliens in Arrival.

Which dead celebrity do you wish was still alive?

Jimmy Savile, so he could finally fix it for me to be a drummer in Adam and the Ants. Then I’d kill him again for being the worst person of all time.

Do you find it hard to take criticism?

Not really. Opinions are like arseholes, everyone’s got one. Folk are entitled to criticise me, and I’m entitled to ignore them.

Who do you love?

Family, friends, the guys in the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers. Amy Adams in Arrival.

What are you wearing?

Joggers, hoody. Also a T-shirt for obscure podcast How Did This Get Made, which is hilarious about shit films.

What’s your most unrealistic ambition?

To score the winning goal for Scotland in the World Cup Final. To be the first person on Mars. To make first contact with aliens. Take your pick.

Have you ever heard voices in your head?

Only my own voice, telling me that my first draft is shit.

Do you empty your own hoover bag?

Well it doesn’t have a bag cos it’s a Dyson (fuck that guy, Brexit twat). But yes, I empty it.

When was the last time you were arrested?

As a student. Urinating in a public place. Up against the wall of a church.

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


Susi Qs – Week 30 – Susi Holliday

It’s here – it’s happening!! It’s only taken 30 gruelling weeks, but I am finally answering my own questions. OK, so I *may* have scheduled myself in to coincide with the release of my new book. OK, yes I did. SUBSTITUTE is out now. Please buy it. Right, back to the questions…

(Go on then…)

Do you empty your own hoover bag?

It’s not a bag, it’s a plastic cylinder and no, Mr H performs almost all household cleaning duties including this one. He empties it then cleans it out in the bath (not when he’s in it.)

Have you ever written a fan letter?

Several. I wrote to Wham to tell them I loved them, ditto Bros. More recently, Mr H wrote to the Monster Munch fan club to try and get me a t-shirt after collecting tokens from packets and hiding them (It was meant to be a surprise). The heartless bastards said the expiry date for t-shirts had passed. I am no longer a member.

What’s the first gig you ever went to?

Shakin’ Stevens at the Edinburgh Playhouse. My mum’s friend took me. I think I was about…8? But I was already obsessed with him. He drove me cray-ay-zee, in fact.

What is the worst thing?

Mushy peas.

What’s your favourite household appliance?

Mr H. JOKE!! I’m a woman of simple tastes. All I need is a kettle and a toaster, and if I had to choose, it’d be the toaster. When Jesus said ‘man cannot live on bread alone’ that’s because he didn’t have a toaster, a tub of Lurpak lighter and a packet of Cathedral City cheddar. He probably didn’t even have a butter knife, to be fair.

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

A ridiculous amount. Most of them are stored in a laundry bin. Heels, sandals, wedges, trainers, boots… and yet I actually only wear about 3 pairs that are left by the front door. I periodically open the laundry bin and take a pair or two out, think about giving them to charity, then decide I might need the one day, so I put them back and forget about them for another year.

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

Picture this horrifying yet inevitable chain of events: a wedding atop a hill, only accessible via bus and winding road… a delectable array of food, much dancing, a free bar full of all the wines, beers and spirits on earth, and some cigars… and later, a pair of shoes – wrapped in a carrier bag and discarded in an airport bin before leaving the country. I’ll let you piece all that together.

Do you have a secret party piece?

I can eat an entire loaf of toasted bread in under 30 minutes. JOKE!! It’s more like an hour.

How many times have you seen Top Gun?

I can’t really talk about this until Tom lifts the restraining order.

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

Probably that time a builder saw a ghost in my house and then ran away and left me in there on my own.

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If you want to know more about me, you can read stuff on this website, like here. You can also find me on twitter @sjiholliday. My books can be purchased HERE.