Friday, October 24, 2014

9mm interview with Elly Griffiths

The 9mm train keeps a'chuggin... we're into our fourth month of weekly (and lately twice-weekly) interviews now, following a long hiatus. I hope you're enjoying all the great authors who've been kind enough to share their time with us here. I certainly appreciate how generous they've been with agreeing to interviews. Keep those suggestions for who you'd like to see interviewed rolling in. I'm listening.

One author that had been mentioned to me by some readers and fellow crime fiction lovers is Elly Griffiths, creator of the Ruth Galloway series of novels set on the Norfolk Coast of England, where Griffiths spent holidays as a child and members of her family still live. Galloway is a forensic archaeologist, an area of science that Griffiths reputedly became interested in when her husband gave up a city job to retrain in the field of archaeology. Galloway lives in a cottage near Norfolk with her two cats, a peaceful life when she's not digging up graves and bones.

Griffiths and her family now live in Brighton. Her 2009 debut crime novel, THE CROSSING PLACES, introduced Galloway in a tale where uncovered bones on a beach launch the archaeologist into investigating a decade-old missing child case and some bizarre letters. The book won the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and Griffiths crime novels have been short and longlisted for the likes of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Award and the CWA Dagger in the Library Award.

But now, Elly Griffiths becomes the 93rd author to stare down the barrel of 9mm.

9MM: An interview with Elly Griffiths

1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
I think it’s probably still Poirot. We know just enough about his character and background but his real function is to solve the crime and, in my opinion, no-one does it better. I also like Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins. She’s a vicar and part-time exorcist, a really interesting and believable character. Crime writers rarely get the credit they deserve for writing about the opposite sex.

2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
Alice in Wonderland. I read it when I was about five. It took me all day and I remember thinking ‘wow, you really can spend all day reading’. I love all the hidden doors, getting bigger and smaller, the slightly nightmarish quality.

3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
I had published four books under my own name, Domenica de Rosa (I know it sounds made up). Before that there were the usual unpublished manuscripts: a crime novel written when I was till at school, a saga about Italian racing drivers and a blockbuster set in the publishing world called, of course, ‘Between the Covers’.

4. Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
I love to swim. I swim in the sea from April to October but I’d really like to swim all year round. I also like reading, the theatre and going on long walks with my family.

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?
I live just outside Brighton but, while Brighton is in all the brochures, you never hear about Saltdean, the village where I live. It’s worth a visit and it’s a lovely walk along the undercliff footpath from Brighton.

6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
Catherine Tate. I’m assuming it will be a comedy...

7. Of your writings, published and unpublished, which is your favourite, and why?
The third Ruth book ‘The House at Sea’s End’ because I love closed house mysteries and it was so much fun to write. I’ve also got a soft spot for ‘Summer School’ (written as Domenica de Rosa) which is about a creative writing course in Tuscany.

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 book ‘The Italian Quarter’ was partly based on my dad’s life and the reaction from my family was mixed. I have to say that this rather ruined the experience for me. I’m always more nervous than excited when publication day comes round.

9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
I was giving a talk in King’s Lynn library when the police burst in. It was as if Nelson had tried to crash the party.

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


You can read more about Elly Griffiths and her books here:


Comments welcome. 

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