Join CS Duffy in The Crime Lounge

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Hi Claire,

Thank you for joining us in The Crime Lounge, let's get stuck in.

Tell us about yourself

After many years as a screenwriter, I wrote my first novel by accident a couple of years ago. I took a break from the film industry and - long story - ended up working in a daycare in Sweden. I lasted about three weeks without writing, then decided that I would write a blog as a character from one of my scripts. I only ever meant it to be a wee side project to keep me going while I figured out what I was going to be when I grew up, but it gained a totally unexpected following - and when the first murder happened, a handful of readers contacted Swedish news agencies to ask why they weren’t reporting it!

Tell us about your latest book  

Dark of Night is a fast moving thriller set in Glasgow. Haunted by the fact that he never got the chance to tell best friend Lorna that he loved her before she was murdered, Ruari sets out to track down the man he saw her with the night before she was murdered - the man police are certain was her killer.

Forensic psychologist Amy Kerr has been watching prominent Glasgow lawyer Alec McAvoy for months, certain that he is the so-called Dancing Girls Killer who evaded capture in London five years previously. Now Ruari and Amy are closing in on the same man - but every step they take draws them deeper into the killer’s web.

Which new authors do you recommend to your friends? 

I’m not sure how strictly new any of them are, but I’ve been recommending Rachel Abbott, Steve Cavanagh, Amanda Jennings and Clare Mackintosh a lot lately.

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE

A crime author you think is overlooked and your favourite book of theirs?

Not strictly overlooked, but I think that Mary Higgins Clark gets a bit dismissed these days - her books are cracking thrillers, and she was far ahead of her time with ballsy female protagonists! I think my favourite is All Around the Townwhich is about a woman suffering from what we now call disassociate identity disorder, and one of her alter personalities is accused of murder.

We see these words overused in describing crime fiction, but which books would you say are actually

First memory of wanting to be an author

The one that springs to mind is when I was working at an oil refinery in Ohio (another long story!) in my early twenties. I was writing copy for IT training manuals, and I remember seeing a novel that someone had left lying around the office. At the time I was an aspiring screenwriter, but I remember being just gripped with the urge to see my own book sitting on a shelf one day.

When did you start writing? 

Long before I could write, in fact! My very first sentence was announcing that “the grass is dancing” on a windy day and at school I would regularly turn in random stories in place of maths homework. My poor teachers didn’t quite know what to do with me.

Tell us briefly about your route to being published

When I got to the end of the story of the blog, one of the readers asked if I could put it together as a file she could re-read on her Kindle in one go - it was while googling “put book on Kindle” that I discovered self publishing. I had spent so many years waiting for agents, producers, production companies to get back to me, being helpless to their budgets, schedules or whims, that the idea of being totally in control of my own work was intoxicating.

3 things you wish you knew before embarking on being an author

  • That sometimes you have rotten days when it’s like getting blood out of a stone and that’s fine - tomorrow will be another day!

  • Just how much work goes into publishing and promoting and marketing.

  • Honestly? How much fun it is! I was discussing holidays with a friend the other day, and realised that I have clean forgotten to book summer holidays for two years running, mostly because I thoroughly enjoy my day to day life. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Book you wished you’d written? 

Ooh probably The Girl on the Train - I found the concept fascinating, and I wouldn’t mind its success either!

Big dream for your books and writing life

The sky’s the limit really! I have been absolutely thrilled with the response to my books so far, so just onwards and upwards!

How can fans connect with you?

I’m on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter chatting most days - csduffywriter for all three!

Do you have a newsletter? How can readers sign up for it?

I do - and they’ll even get the first book in my series for free! Just go to http://darkofnightbook.com