Maureen Myant, author of the brilliant Holocaust novel, 'The Search,' has tagged me in The Next Big Thing, a way for writers to share their work. I'm not sure I've got the timing right, but nothing new in that. It's like sitting an exam, so here are my answers to the set questions. No multiple choice, I'm afraid.
What is the title of your latest book? Myra, Beyond Saddleworth.Where did the idea come from for the book?
From a journey across the M62 motorway, where I passed the turn-off for Saddleworth. When a friend mentioned the internet theory that Myra Hindley hadn't really died, something went off in my head and I knew that was a starting point for a novel and that I wanted to write it.
What genre does your book fall under?
Literary fiction, I suppose, but I hope anyone could pick it up and read it. I don't think in terms of genre.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?Helen Mirren, perhaps, for the older Myra Hindley. She can look really hard-faced but is also seductive. Maxine Peake was great as the young Myra Hindley. Cate Blanchett would be a perfect Sophie, she's such a great actor. Judi Dench for Beth. Ben Whishaw for the young Ian Brady. Maybe Gary Oldman for the older one? John Hurt looks like him but could he do the Scottish accent? David Hayman looks the part though is small, while Brady is a six footer.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Myra Hindley didn't really die but is given a new life and identity.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My agent is Guy Rose of Futerman Rose, but as a former journalist I've done lots of promotion myself.How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?About five years. I could only do it part-time as I was caring full-time for my mother, who had multiple health problems, including Parkinson's disease.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?American Psycho perhaps. Patrick Bateman, the central character, is wholly fictional, whereas Myra Hindley did exist, but Bret Easton Ellis's book takes you inside a criminal mind, as I have tried to do with the characters of Hindley and Ian Brady. There are also literary echoes of Wuthering Heights and its central characters, Cathy and Heathcliff, a transgressive couple who are cruel and self-absorbed, yet whose love for each other transcends normality.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
It was an exciting idea that happened to come along at the right time.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The book throws up all sorts of issues about violence, desire, moral responsibility, feminism. Someone said to me recently about Myra Hindley, 'Well, if you're madly in love with someone you might go out shoplifting with them, but not killing children.' The magnitude of the Moors Murders compared to most ordinary people's experience is what keeps people wondering about just who these people were.
Five great authors to look out for, in no particular order, as they say on The X Factor, are:
Elizabeth Reeder, author of 'Ramshackle,' so compelling I didn't wamt to put it down.
Drew Campbell's last novel 'Dead Letter House,' was really raw and powerful He's working on something very complex and multi-layered just now and I can't wait to read it.
Kirsty Gunn, whose 'The Big Music' takes a piece of Scottish culture and marries it with a moving love story.
Robin Lloyd-Jones writing is as varied as his conversation, from history to mountaineering heroes, to kayaking adventures. He's bringing out some of his past books on e-book, so look out for the award-winning 'Lord of the Dance' as well as his latest novel, 'God of the Lost Crossroads.'
Kapka Kassabov's delightful book on tango, 'Twelve Minutes of Love,' is so engaging I just want to read more of her books.http://www.kapka-kassabova.com/