CJ Carver is the bestselling author of seven crime fiction novels including Blood Junction. She has won the CWA debut dagger and the Barry Award for Best British Crime Fiction. She has been a long-distance rally driver and is the founding judge for Women’s World Car of The Year. Her latest novel is Spare Me the Truth. We persuaded her to tell us her 5 inspirational snacks and why.
1) Warmed almond croissant and creamy cappuccino
This one is for writer’s block. Not that I have – thankfully - suffered from such a thing,
but I’ve definitely come to an occasional T-junction in my book and before I know
whether to turn left or right, I find I need some mental energy to drive me in the right
direction. Cafés are perfect for this, and while I allow the sugar, protein (yep, almonds
are good for you, right?) and caffeine do its work, I people watch, doodle, and by the
time I get home I’m refreshed and ready to take the right (or is it left?) turn.
2) Iced water
Drinking iced water and splashing it on your face apparently triggers the stimulating
hormone adrenaline, which boosts blood flow to the brain. I say apparently as I haven’t
tried it yet, just read about it. Instead, I drink tea. Lots of it, because it’s incredibly
important that I get a break from time to time, not just to re-energise my brain but get
my body moving. I’ve tried drinking beer, wine and coffee to see if they boost my
writing, but no, they don’t. It’s tea that does it for me.
One of the easiest snacks that can be eaten in the car. Not that I’m advocating eating in
the car as it distracts the driver and can be dangerous. However, during the ideas and
into the plotting stage, Maltesers nestled between my thighs so I don’t have to take my
eyes off the road (my High Performance Instructor will go berserk if he reads this), I find
the combination of sugar to my system and the effect of movement on my eyes from the
countryside flashing past kicks in the right side of my brain. The creative side. This is
when the best of ideas flow.
4) Nothing. Just Air.
Writing slightly hungry is excellent for creativity. Even better though, is inducing what
could be termed the “artistic coma”. I lie down on the sofa, flat on my back, and quiet
my mind. I lie there looking at the ceiling, or the big piece of abstract art I have on my
wall, not quite asleep but not quite awake. After a while, maybe fifteen or twenty
minutes, I feel a surge of energy and am quite awake. I go straight to my computer and
write. This is when I usually come up with plot twists that have even me blinking in
5) 70% dark chocolate
When I’m fed up with air and writing slightly hungry – usually when my characters are tucking into a full English breakfast or a burger – and I need something small but satisfying, I reach for the dark chocolate. I break the bar into squares and put it on a plate. I usually only need three or four squares – they’re 50 calories a square, or so it tells me on the packet – and they hit the spot, taking away my hunger and giving me a bit of a boost without filling me up and deadening my brain, which a larger snack would do. Perfect.
Spare Me The Truth by C J Carver (£12.99 Zaffre Publishing) published 7th April
Dan Forrester, piecing his life back together after the tragic death of his son, is approached in a supermarket by a woman who tells him everything he remembers about his life - and his son - is a lie. Grace Reavey, stricken by grief, is accosted at her mother's funeral. The threat is simple: pay the staggering sum her mother allegedly owed, or lose everything. Lucy Davies has been forced from the Met by her own maverick behaviour. Desperate to prove herself in her new rural post, she's on the hunt for a killer - but this is no small town criminal. Plunged into a conspiracy that will test each of them to their limits, these three strangers are brought together in their hunt for the truth, whatever it costs. And as their respective investigations become further and further entwined, it becomes clear that at the centre of this tangled web is a threat more explosive than any of them could have imagined.