Blood Type: every fortnight top thriller & crime authors spill their guts about writing to Barbara Copperthwaite

CRIME AUTHORS SPILL THEIR GUTS ABOUT WRITING. Every fortnight top-notch authors of psychological thrillers and crime fiction share their writing secrets – and the secrets of their success – with you and me.

Here’s the A-Z of criminal masterminds…

A.A. AbbottGet your book professionally edited. When I first self-published a book, I thought feedback from twenty readers was enough. It isn’t. You can produce a good book that way, but it’ll be better if it’s edited.”

Tom Bale “If you’re a writer, you can be lying in bed with your eyes shut and still be working.”

Alison Baillie “I always feel inspired when I can walk along a deserted beach and hear the waves and smell the sea air.”

Susanna Beard “Books don’t just flow from authors’ minds; even the most talented, successful writers work incredibly hard to produce their very best.”

Louise Beech “The story tends to unfold in more detail as I write. It happens naturally. Just the way life does, I suppose. Later on I often find little links, little bits of accidental foreshadowing, and then I wonder if the universe had me on the right path all along, and I just had no clue.”

Harry Bingham: “Do you know what? I hate writing tips. I think they’re so often a load of rubbish.”

Nicky Black “Don’t get it right, get it written.”

John Bowen “[As an author] You’ll take very personal experiences and twist them, tweak or amplify them.”

Sheryle Browne “The notepad inevitably accompanies me to bed, because those emotions don’t shut off at night. Sleep deprivation is definitely a downside of being a writer.”

Robert Bryndza “Before I go to sleep I write a page of notes detailing what I should write the next day.”

Sam Carrington “Even though I’d had the end in mind since the beginning, it actually changed when I came to write it.”

Maureen Carter “I’m not a fan of writing tips – too many people dish them out and they’re mostly bland or just plain bad advice.”

Angela Clarke “My first draft is very fast and usually quite short – around the 45,000 word mark.”

Daniel Cole “The best thing about getting Ragdoll published was just the relief that I wasn’t completely deluded after all and hadn’t wasted years of my life chasing something that was never going to happen.”

Barbara Copperthwaite “It’s great fun watching my simple idea become more complex and twisted. I often feel as though the story already exists on some level, and it’s simply showing itself to me.”

J.A. Corrigan “Believe in yourself, & don’t allow either triumphs or disasters to affect you too much.”

Fiona Cummins “Talent is all very well but tenacity, self-belief, originality and the ability to get the words on the page are just as important.”

Class Green “Every time I finish a book I get the feeling that I will never have an idea for another.”

Joel Hames “Fiction may create its own worlds, but outside the realms of fantasy, those worlds have to be grounded in reality.”

Sarah Hilary “Become obsessed. Make it more than just a hobby; make it your life. Surround yourself with great books (and some bad ones, because you can learn a lot from those). Get up early — or stay up late — to write.”

Jane Isaac “As writers we observe the world around us, picking up tips and anecdotes that inform our work and make it come alive on the page.”

Louise Jensen “Sometimes writing with no idea of where I’m going is utterly terrifying.”

Alan Jones “I don’t know where I would be without the enthusiastic help of book bloggers.”

Claire Kendal “I wrote three novels before my fourth, THE BOOK OF YOU, was published. l learned from every one of those failed novels, and I’m proud that I kept going.”

Jane Lythell “Sometimes a scene seems very important to invent. It’s as if it won’t be silenced.”

Tara Lyons “Facebook book clubs & bloggers have been invaluable in helping me become a bestselling author.”

Angela Marsons “I like the story to grow organically from chapter to chapter.”

Ben McPherson “As long as I’m sitting in front of my computer I produce something, though it won’t necessarily be good. But I give myself space to fail. If I have four good writing days out of five then I’m happy.”

Liz Mistry “Writing gives you an excuse to delve into the darkest parts of your mind.”

Louise Mullins: “Beautiful Liar was exhilarating [to write] because his psychopathic personality seemed to jump from the page.”

Jessica Norrie: “It made me cry when I was writing it, so I knew it must be good.”

B.A. Paris “Not letting the pace flag is something I try to keep in mind when I’m writing.”

Brad Parks “I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but I am willing to bash my head against the screen until the words come out right.”

Christina Philippou “I love authors that drip-feed you information and peel back the layers one by one.”

Betsy Reavley “The characters come to life in my head and I let them lead the way.”

Mary Jane Riley “There is no room for waffle in this genre. I try never to use three words when one will do.”

L.J. Ross “[When writing] In the back of my mind, I imagined myself on a commuter train home – tired and a bit dispirited after a long day – needing some escapism.”

Robin Roughley “Listen to readers. They’re the best judge of what works & what doesn’t.”

Holly Seddon “It’s an ongoing struggle to put the idea of my family reading my books out of my head…”

William Shaw “I’ll be honest; what I wrote for years just wasn’t good enough.”

Mel Sherratt “If I’d given up after writing the first draft of the first book, I wouldn’t be now writing my twelfth novel.”

Rob Sinclair “Write the slow stuff fast, and the fast stuff slow.”

C.J Skuse “I can pour all my heartbreak, grief, disappointment and annoyance into my characters and get a papery kind of revenge on the perpetrators.”

Jack Steele “If you set out to do something without distraction then you can achieve it.”

Peter Swanson “I usually have a very bad moment about halfway through writing a book when I’ve painted myself into some unpleasant corner.”

S.D. Sykes “You have to sit at your desk and write. Even on days when you don’t feel like it!”

June Taylor “if you cut your characters some slack, things can get interesting because you allow them to be themselves. They control you, not the other way around.”

Lesley Tither “I tend to write in my head while walking.”

David Videcette “I’m a big fan of detailed character biographies.”

A.J. Waines “Writing seems to be a massive roller-coaster ride with great surges forward followed by terrible disappointments.”

David Young: “Cast against type – to try to avoid stereotypical characters.”