I bumped in to Keri as she frantically shopped in the Norwich, Harford Bridge, Tesco Superstore.
After paying for her 16 bottles of Tesco wine, 4 bags of antibacterial, super-absorbent, odour-control cat litter and 2 bars of Cadbury's Whole Nut, we were able to start the interview.
Thank you very much for having me, Tara.
As always, I would like to start the interview off with a really easy question.
1. Could you explain what the function of a logarithm is and also tell us what the logarithm of 1000 to base 10 is.
Yes, of course. A logarithm is a form of mathematics and represents the number… ooh look, a thing! Umm, sorry, what was the question?
2. Can you tell us something about yourself that we may not know?
Hmm, now this is tough, since anyone who follows my Facebook page will know I babble on about everything, from what I had for breakfast to how many poops my cats have had in their litter tray.
I failed my English O-Level twice! That’s correct, I didn’t just fail it once, I failed it twice.
Now it’s not something I’m proud to admit, but I do think it’s important that people know. Firstly because I believe far too much emphasis is put on qualifications. I was 15 years old when I sat my English O-Level, the youngest in my school year, and I was painfully shy, never daring to put my hand up in class if I didn’t understand something. It wasn’t until after I’d left school and my confidence grew that I realized how important education was and that I did want to learn, and I have worked very hard over the years to better myself.
This brings me on to the second reason. I want people to know that if they have a dream they should work for it. If you believe in yourself enough and you’re prepared to put in the time and effort, it is always possible to achieve your goals.
The flipside to underachieving at school is that I’m very competitive now. I have an obsessive compulsive need to know everything and be the best at anything I apply myself too.
Losing stuff in my cleavage. I like food, A LOT, and hate waste, especially when it’s stuck between my boobs. I have a big enough mouth that I really shouldn’t miss putting food and drink into it, but I do… all the time, and then it falls into my cleavage and getting stuff out of there is like going into a black hole and trying to retrieve a pin.
Hmm... I wonder what else you may have lost in that black hole Keri...
Fast-paced, twisty scary whodunits that are good fun to read.
No, my writing doesn’t scare me, though because of the nature of what I write, I do have a very over active imagination and can be suspicious of innocent situations. For example, if I hear a neighbour doing DIY, I start wondering if he is chopping up a body in his bathtub and if there is a man waiting in a van, I question if he has a body in the back.
We both have cats, eat a lot of pizza and think we’re always right. Angell is more of a tomboy than me and not afraid to speak her mind. I would say I am definitely more laidback than she is.
7. How many books are you planning in the Rebecca Angell series?
Dead Letter Day was originally written as a standalone book, but my readers were eager to see some of the characters back and I bowed under pressure. I’m very glad I did, as I really enjoyed hanging out with the likes of Angell, Hickok and Boaz again in Dead Write. I am presently working on the third book in the series and have plans for at least two more after that. It will probably be either a five or six book series.
Not at the moment, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.
9. Why do you like to write in the genre you write in?
I write the kind of books I want to read. I love thrillers, being kept on the edge of my seat and my mind buzzing as I try to figure out the twists and turns of the plot. I also make sure I inject some humour into my stories. I think it’s important to have moments of light relief between the scary bits.
I’m not sure there is and this is rather disappointing as I’d quite like to have a dark side. I certainly have a dark sense of humour, but that is about as dark as I get. Anything that scares me fascinates me, from ghosts and the occult to serial killers. I think it’s trying to understand something that seems unfathomable.
Definitely in the evening. I would love to be an early riser, but I have a very close relationship with my bed and it gets very needy first thing in the morning. If I have a free day to write, it will often involve lots of staring at a blank page, making coffee, chatting with my mum, playing with the cats, more staring at the blank page, surfing the Net, thinking what to have for tea, then BANG, around 7pm the words start flowing and I can carry on till gone midnight.
Yes, it involves the blood of a sheep and a freshly plucked feather from a turkey (fortunately this is Norfolk, so we have plenty of both around here).
Seriously though, I have no real ritual. I spend a couple of months formulating a plot in my head and trying to make it work. Characters, old and new, make an appearance and start chattering away loudly – usually at an inopportune moment, such as when I’m in a meeting with my boss – as they tell me what they’re up to and what is going to happen to them further down the line.
Or maybe even grab a quick nap Keri?
In my bedroom sat on my bed. I live in a very small house and have lots of nosey people walking by and peering into my lounge window. My bedroom is the place where I am least distracted. Well, until Ellie and Lola come along and decide I should look at their bums instead of the screen.
Hmm... I can imagine that cat's bottoms, staring you straight in the face must be a terrible distraction Keri.
I have a keen interest in anything ghostly. I like the unknown and all that is creepy. I once did an all-night ghost hunt at Dudley Castle, where a handful of us sat in pitch black cellars and dungeons. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time and although my books aren’t supernatural, I certainly drew on the experience of fear and I think it’s helped me when building the frightening and tense scenes in my books.
Ooh, it does look a bit spooky there.
And I’m always on the lookout for the best places to commit murder or hide the bodies. If I’m out walking in the woods or along a deserted beach or even out on a day boat on the Norfolk Broads, my mind is taking it all in and plotting.
Stuck in a dead end day job that I hate, keeping my fingers crossed each weekend that the winning Lottery numbers each will match my ticket.
I still have to do the day job, but the success of my books give me a hope that maybe one day I will be able to reduce the hours I work and spend more time doing the thing I am passionate about.
For the love of God, give me a movie deal, Hollywood!!
Oh, flats definitely. I love heels and they look great on other people, but stick me in a pair and I walk like I have just pooped myself.
Hmm... I know what you mean there Keri. I'm flats all the way too.
Okay, I have two funny stories about my cats. One involves Ellie and projectile poo, so we’ll go for the less gross Lola story.
Maybe you're not training your cats in the pooping department well enough Keri...
Lola stalking has a pantomime air to it. Every few steps the kitten would stop and glance behind her and Lola would freeze, stupidly thinking the kitten couldn’t see her if she kept still. The kitten would hiss at her, then continue on its way, Lola just behind. This continued to happen all the way to the end of the road, at which point the kitten decided she’d had enough. Next thing I know, Lola is flying down the road at breakneck speed, hotly pursued by the kitten. She runs straight up to me and hides behind my legs.
Yup, my big 2 year old wussy puss was scared of a little kitten.
Most funny stories in our family relate to my sister and toilets. She had an obsession from a very young age of having to visit the toilet whenever we went anywhere and this usually resulted in her getting locked in them or, on one occasion, even falling into the toilet bowl.
One weekend, the grandparents were up and we were all out at a posh Sunday lunch in a very busy restaurant. My sister was about 3 at the time and wandered off to check out the ladies facilities, which led directly off the restaurant.
A couple of minutes later the whole room fell silent as all eyes turned to the toilet doorway. There stood my sister, knickers around ankles. She then proceeded to yell across the hushed room, ‘Mummy, I’ve done jobbies. Can you come and wipe my bottom?’
I think what happened next can best be described as my mum’s walk of shame, as the whole room erupted into laughter.
Well, I suppose it could have been worse Keri. I think your mum should thank her lucky stars...
Calling all Services by an author called Tara Ford. You may have heard of her.
Nope, can't say that I have. Sounds pretty rubbish if you ask me. Moving swiftly on to the next question, as I really wouldn't want to promote any other authors whilst conducting your interview... and especially that author called Tara Ford...
20. If you could invite any 3 women (dead or alive) for a sleepover, who would they be and why?
I would have an author sleepover with three great ladies who have all been on the same journey as me over the past couple of years and who I feel I have really connected with, so I would invite Megan Denby (Canadian author of A Thistle in the Mist), CA Shilton (better known as Anne, the Norfolk based author of Barricades) and yourself. There would be lots of wine, pizza and chocolate and we would have a blast.
Ah shucks, not that author Tara Ford again. I agree, it would be a blast as long as none of us ate too much pizza and chocolate and ended up blasting like your cat, Ellie did!
I know everyone is expecting me to say wine, and I would love to give an exciting fun answer to this question, but it would probably be something really mundane and practical for the house, like a new front door. If you saw the state of my current one you would understand why.
Well yes, I totally agree with you Keri. I've seen your front door and you definitely need a new one!
I’m not good for the first half an hour of the day. Feed me coffee and a bacon sandwich, and let me have a shower before you approach me.
Well you can't be any worse than our dear old Mr Bean... can you?
There have been many, but one sticks out as particularly cringe worthy. I was in my mid 20s and had just finished work for the day. It was pouring with rain outside and I was in a rush to get home, as I had to take the dog to the vets. I waited for a couple of minutes to cross a busy road while getting absolutely soaked and eventually decided, ‘oh, sod it,’ and rushed out in front of the traffic figuring the cars would have to stop to let me cross.
They did, but, to my utter humiliation, I slipped in my haste to get across the road and landed flat on my face.
All of the cars had to wait, watching (and probably laughing their heads off) as I picked myself up with as much dignity as possible, at which point a kid of about 10 stops on his bike and asks, ‘are you alright Miss?’
‘Yes, yes, I’m fine,’ I replied through gritted teeth, before limping across the road with my bloody knee and bruised ego to feel sorry for myself.
Hmm... maybe you need a lesson in The Green Cross Code Keri...
Holidays for me are all about relaxation. I spend my days sunbathing, swimming, snoozing and doing an awful lot of reading, and my evenings in local restaurants with lots of good food, wine and chatter. Crete is a favourite destination and I am a huge fan of Italy.
Tuscany is probably number one on my dream list, as I have never been there. I would love to stay in a rustic farmhouse with amazing hillside views. Food, wine, books, relaxation… perfect.
25. What are your thoughts on the sticking qualities of Sellotape?
Hmm… a very important question, I agree. Sellotape is most often used in this house for removing cat hair and I have to say it does a good job, though if I don’t have a reel around then a pair of marigolds will suffice.
Well that’s it. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me in this interview today. I wish you well for the future Keri.
Thanks for inviting me to be interviewed, Tara. I have had a blast answering your questions and look forward to finishing your book.
Oh dear, another 'blast' Keri? Well here's a little something that will really get you blasting off all over the place!