Today on the blog, we have Kerry Richardson telling us about herself and her writing. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Kerry at several writing events and she’s a great friend on social media, I can’t wait to read her debut novel.
My name is Kerry Richardson, I’m 37 years old (goodness, time flies – I’ll be pushing daisies before you know it). I live in the North East of England, and have done all my life (well, apart from a stint down south where I lasted the grand total of 3 weeks). I am married to my ever-patient hubby Peter, and we have a naughty but exceptionally cute dog called Koda. I’m a qualified and experienced Crime Scene Investigator though I currently pay the bills by working in the police control room. Yes, I love crime scene work; no, it’s nothing like the TV and yes, I’ve seen my share of dead bodies.
Do you usually write in a particular genre?
After doing my Bsc in Crime Scene Science, I decided to return to uni whilst working full time and complete my masters in Creative Writing – I wanted to do something completely un-work related but that meant something to me. I’ve always written, ever since I was in primary school and used to staple handmade books together to give to the teacher. I currently write under the crime genre umbrella, but dabble in flash fiction and children’s writing too. Because of my job, I have access to the resources I need to complete effective research in relation to crime writing and all that it entails.
Tell us how you got interested in writing?
I became interested in writing as a child – my primary school teacher Mrs Muztachs, and junior school teacher, Mr Black, were extremely encouraging and fed the belief that I could do anything I wanted. It’s a bit clichéd but it’s just one of those things I’ve ‘always done’. I wrote my first novel when I was 17 and it was a complete knock off of the old TV show ‘Airwolf’ – though I used a plane not a helicopter. Back then I didn’t have a clue about copyright and whatnot – it was completely hand written, and reading it back is horrendous. But it still holds a place on the shelves in my office. I also used to write a lot of poetry, and was published in an international anthology way back when.
Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us about it?
I’m currently working on my fourth novel, which is provisionally titled ‘Watch You Burn’. It’s a novel about an arsonist who targets a group of people who have bullied her since she was young. The fire investigator and the CSM work together to search the fire scenes in an attempt to discover who is responsible.
Since graduating from my masters in 2011, I’ve been sticking to the one novel a year rule that most writers try to follow.
My first novel, ‘With Deadly Intent’ is due out next year (2016). ‘With Deadly Intent’ is a crime novel which I’ve based in Sunderland. It features a serial killer as the antagonist, and the Crime Scene Manager and Detective Chief Inspector as the protagonists. I’m also busy working on editing and preparing a short story for self-publication later this year.
What do you like most about writing?
The thing I like most about writing is the escape, I guess. I can put my mind anywhere I want to, and fill pages with characters and plot. I love getting to know my characters, learning about their history, and being surprised by them as I write. I’m quite organised so I tend to do a character profile for each character before I begin to write. I usually start a novel with an idea and am often as surprised as the reader when it staggers off in directions unknown. I tend to use twists and sub plots, as well as keeping the identity of the antagonist a secret until quite late into the novel. They say write about what you know – I know police procedure and crime scene protocol – but I love researching the subjects I don’t know much about. When writing book 3, I had a fab bloke on speed dial who didn’t mind being asked questions like “If you were going to sink a body in the north east, where would you do it and how?” I love how friendly and willing everyone is when it comes to assisting with research.
What do you like least about writing?
I guess it’s the editing process – I’m terrible for editing as I write – this usually means that by the time I’m finished the novel, I’m often onto about the sixth draft anyway. I print off the novel once complete, put it away, and then pull out my faithful red pen. But I find editing time consuming and would usually much rather be working on the next novel!
Do you find time to read, and if so what are you reading now?
I read as often as I can – usually this is when I’m on nightshift at work or on holiday – I went to Egypt in 2009 and packed 14 novels and hardly any clothes – nowadays I use my kindle app on my tablet so it’s not as bad, but I read loads on holidays. I love reading – there’s something about losing oneself in a good book, reading about characters you can relate to, and feeling the emotions they feel as you progress through the novel. I can speed read so tend to race through a novel once I start. I’m currently reading several books – ‘The Hitchcock Murders’ by Gavin Collinson, ‘No Name Lane’ by Howard Linsky and ‘Poppet’ by Mo Hayder – I’m not normally one for starting a new novel until I’ve finished the last, but I’ve been reading on my phone so have been mashing it up a bit.
Who has been the biggest influence in your writing?
Wow that’s a tough one. I loved reading Enid Blyton, Willard Price and Franklin W. Dixon as a kid, then progressed onto trashy Mills and Boon in my teens. I’ve always loved anything that grabs my attention instantly – so the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle is never far from my grasp. Most recently, I’d say my influences lean towards the likes of Karen Rose and Mo Hayder – I love how Karen interlinks each novel with overlapping characters but that each one can be read as a stand-alone – and I love how she makes her characters and plot pop in each novel. Mo is splendidly dark, delving into the deep crevasses of evil – I particularly love the Jack Caffrey novels as he’s a bit of a loveable rogue. I think attending events such as Harrogate Crime Festival is a massive influence in itself as well, though – there’s something about meeting up with other like-minded people that just oozes inspiration. And I have regular writing days with my good friend and author, Eileen Wharton; it’s fab having someone close by to write with as this often means we can bounce ideas off each other.
When you’re a famous author and write your autobiography, what would the title be?
My autobiography? Wow – I doubt people would be interested in my life – but if I had to think of a title I reckon it’d be something daft like ‘Hands in many pies.’
What’s been your proudest moment as a writer?
My proudest moment to date as a writer – getting my Masters would probably be up there near the top. There was a couple of lecturers who didn’t have a lot of faith in my abilities – no name dropping though – and it knocked my confidence greatly. But there were also lecturers who were ultra-encouraging and believed in my writing – without them I wouldn’t be writing what I do today. Passing gave me the boost I needed to continue. Then of course, top of the list, was signing and returning the contract for my first novel to be published! Special thanks go to Darren Laws of Caffeine Nights Publishing for that one. The next proudest moment will no doubt be my book launch!
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t a writer I’d probably still be a CSI somewhere – I loved being out and about helping people by finding evidence at crime scenes. Or maybe I’d have been doing my back up career of working with animals or something! I don’t know – I’m just grateful to be writing.
Where can we find you online?
You can find me online at www.kerryannrichardson.com, on Facebook as KA Richardson and on twitter @kerryann77. I do a monthly blog which is posted on all these monthly, and can also be found on Linked In as Kerry-Ann Richardson.