My good friend, Chrissie Poulson, crime writer extraordinaire, has a new novel out today: Deep Water. It's like all her books - intelligent, atmospheric and full of suspense. I know, because I've read it. Today, I'm honoured to have her as a guest on my blog, answering my questions.
Sue: Why do you think you write crime novels and not novels in some other genre?
Christine: I have loved crime fiction ever since I was a teenager. My best friend Pauline and I used to read Agatha Christie novels and try to work out on paper who had done it! I read widely, not just crime fiction, but as a writer I like the structure of the crime novel and it’s a great vehicle for the things that interest me such as the gap between appearance and reality and the ways in which people behave in extreme situations.
Sue: The blurb on the back cover of your novel mentions a cure for obesity worth millions and a death in a clinical trial. Did you have to do a lot of research before you wrote it?
Christine: My scientific education stopped at ‘O’ Level Biology. So it was ambitious, not to say foolhardy, of me to set a novel in a lab and have researchers at the cutting edge of biotechnology as my principal characters. I also needed to know something about patent law. So, yes, I did a lot of research for this one, more than for any of the other novels I’ve written.
Sue: Do you enjoy doing the background research for your novels or do you find it
a tedious necessity?
Christine: Mostly I enjoy doing research. In my old life I was an art historian and that was part of what I did. These days I particularly like it when it gets me out of the house to talk to people about what they do for a living. I’m very nosy and I love finding out about how other people spend their days. For my new novel I spent happy hours shadowing friendly scientists in the lab and listening as they explained their work to me.
Sue: You’ve written a lot of short stories. Do you prefer writing short stories or novels? And why?
Christine: I like them both! With a novel you have time to get absorbed in another world. It’s like a parallel reality that you dip in and out of. It’s a marathon requiring stamina, whereas the short story is a more of a sprint. You only have to keep it up for a few thousand words so you can be freer and more experimental. I’ve sometimes written from the point of view of a man, even once from the point of view of a fish! (That one is free to read along with others on my web-site – here )
Sue: Can you tell us what you're working on now?
Christine: Deep Water is the first in a series and I’m working on the second novel, also featuring researcher, Katie Flanagan. This time she is involved in a project which involves wintering over on a research base in Antarctica. When the last plane leaves, no-one can get in or out for ten months. There’s a killer on the base, and six months of darkness is about to begin.