Tuesday, October 21, 2014

9mm interview with Tina Shaw

Now we're rolling! After an extended hiatus with few new interviews in 2013 and early 2014, the momentum is building again with weekly 9mm interviews over the past four months with terrific crime writers from all over the globe. I have some absolutely fantastic authors lined up for you over the next few months, as we plough onwards towards the magical 100 interviews mark. Keep those suggestions for who you'd like to see interviewed rolling in. I'm listening.

Today, for the 92nd instalment in 9mm, I'm sharing my recent interview with Tina Shaw, an acclaimed and well-established author from New Zealand who has turned towards mystery and crime with her seventh and latest book, THE CHILDREN'S POND. Shaw previous novels include BIRDIE, THE BLACK MADONNA, and ABOUT GRIFFEN'S HEART, which was a Storylines Notable Book in 2010. She has held the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship, the Creative NZ Berlin Writers' Residency, and been a Writer in Residence at the University of Waikato. An icon of New Zealand literature, Dame Fiona Kidman, called THE CHILDREN'S POND "a brilliant psychological thriller", and the book will be eligible for the 2015 Ngaio Marsh Award.

But for now, Tina Shaw stares down the barrel of 9mm.

9MM: An interview with Tina Shaw

1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective? 
It varies, depending on what book/s I'm currently fixated on - at the moment I really like missing persons expert Paula Maguire. She's the creation of Claire McGowan and her crime novels set in the wee Northern Ireland town of Ballyterrin.

2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why? 
The first book I remember being really moved by was the 1968 nonfiction book To Be a Slave by Julius Lester. I think it made such an impact because it was the first introduction I had to the social injustice of the lives of black people in Southern America, and is told via the voices of black men and women.

3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles? 
I've published heaps of stuff - my first novel, Birdie, was published in 1996 and since then there have been novels for both adults and kids, non-fiction collections, stories, and even a ghostwritten 'autobiography' of Sheila Laxon, the Waikato horsewoman. Birdie is actually also a crime novel, even though we didn't really have a crime genre in NZ back in those days.

4. Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise? 
What I most like to do is read. As this involves far too much time spent on the couch, I also drag myself off to swim every now and then, and walk my dog. Sometimes I do some really bad art painting, or try to catch an invariably elusive trout.

5. What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider? 
My hometown used to be Auckland and now it's Taupo; I tell people to go and sit in the hot mineral waters at the Wairakei Terraces - it's all outdoors and there's a fake 'pink and white terraces' over which gushes gorgeous searing-hot water.

6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you? 
Helena Bonham-Carter.

7. Of your writings, published and unpublished, which is your favourite, and why? 
To tell the truth, my favourite is always the one I've just finished! I guess it's because it's still fresh in my mind, so the characters are still with me, so to speak.

8. What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a online or physical bookseller’s shelf? 
My first real publication was a short story that won the Dominion Post Short Story Awards Novice Award (it no longer exists) and I got a big cheque ... I went out and bought a rustic dining room table.

9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
The experience that stands out in my mind was when I met Tim Winton at a book panel I was chairing for the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival. It wasn't that it was strange or unusual, but because Winton is one of my favourite authors and he was a very humble person to speak with.

Thank you Tina. We appreciate you taking the time to chat to Crime Watch


You can read more about Tina Shaw and her books here:


Comments welcome.

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