Friday, 23 June 2017

Angela Clarke & Casey Kelleher in Conversation (With Added Gin)


The air was thick with heat, anticipation, and hairspray. The sultry blonde poured the bottle of gin slowly, seductively drawing out every moment of liquid joy. The ice cracked like a smashed phone screen. The sweaty blonde skidded on a stray lemon slice and fell over.

Well, when the fabulous Casey Kelleher and the slightly less fabulous me, Angela Clarke, met up over the magic of the internet it went something like that. With more laughter. And swears. Here’s what we talked about:

Casey: Huge congratulations on having the first book in the series, Follow Me, optioned for a TV series. If you had unlimited budget, who would you cast to play your central characters DS Nasreen Cudmore and Freddie Venton.

Angela: That’s such a difficult question! Like it should be easy, but when you actually think about it, it’s so hard to choose. I’m gonna go for Lena Dunham five years ago for Freddie. With a British accent, obvs. And Freida Pinto five years ago for Nas. (I really need to brush up on my actors in their early twenties.) How ‘bout you? Your books are full of feisty characters and gritty urban backdrops, which would you most love to see made for the screen?

Casey: I think The Betrayed would make great TV. It's a really gritty story about a crime family set in the underbelly of society. Ultimately the story is about family loyalty and betrayals, hence the title.

Angela: Ohhh, and who’d be in it?

Casey: I'd pick my all-time favourite actor, Ray Winstone to play Jimmy Byrne. He'd be perfect for the role. A real old-school gangster type. Ruthless, but a lovable rogue too.  I absolutely love Kierston Wareing from Martina Cole's The Take too. She'd be a great Colleen Byrne. She's so fiery and feisty, but she has an inner vulnerability too that people really champion. 

Angela: I can totally picture it!

Casey: Ha! So, tell me about your latest book, Trust Me.

Angela: What if you witnessed a serious crime, but no one believed you? Except the attacker. That’s what happens to Kate, a teacher, when she accidentally stumbles across a live stream showing a serious assault. By the time she’s got the police there, the account’s been deleted. At the same time, my protagonists, DS Nasreen Cudmore and wannabe-journalist Freddie Venton, are looking for the missing daughter of a gangland criminal, and they begin to think she could be the one Kate saw on screen.

Casey: Dark. So, between publishing books, presenting radio shows, attending book launches and broadcasting live audience podcasts – and that's just this week going by your social media account - do you ever get a chance to just relax?

Angela: Says the woman who writes a book every six months and has three kids! I think we’re as bad as each other. I’m very good at sleeping, and I love a day nap – that’s my relaxation. That and painting, when I get the chance. What about you?

Casey: When I'm not slogging away over the hot MacBook, I spend time with my family and friends. Have nice meals out. Walk our little dog and pop into my local pub. Just chilling out really and having some real quality time with people. I love to read too and I'm also addicted to watching The Real Housewives or whatever the latest box set is that people are raving about.

Angela: Oh god, me too. Both to books and television. I’ve got a bit of a YouTube habit too.

Casey: TV is total escapism for me. You don't have to think, you can just switch off.

Angela: Exactly! I need something to actively distract me from work. To hold my attention.

Casey: Though catch me on the week of my deadline and I'll be lucky to have had time to brush my hair, let alone catch up with watching any TV.

Angela: I’m the same. I don’t usually get dressed when I’m on deadline – it’s a waste of valuable typing time. That sounds unhinged, saying that. Right. That’s it. I’ve decided we work too hard. We need a break… maybe. Who keeps you going, like, who inspires you?

Casey: Martina Cole. No question.

Angela: Good choice.

Casey: She's such an inspirational woman. Not only because of the huge success she's had in her career but also because she's extremely supportive of other authors too. I first read one of her books when I was just fourteen and to say it was an eye-opener would be a huge understatement. I'd never read anything so gritty and captivating before and from then on, I was completely hooked on her work. Total Fan girl. 

Angela: We need those people though, those ones that inspire us and make us try harder. I’ve got a raft of people who inspire me, from good friends, to family members, to people I’ve never met. I’m gonna say Hilary Mantel, in terms of writing. I’ve got a quote from her taped above my desk. It says: “The inner process, the writing life, it doesn’t change at all. Every day is like the first day, it’s like being a beginner. There’s no time for complacency. You need to be extending your range all the time.” I try to live by that.

Casey: Do you extend your range when it comes to research, too? The research that you've done for the Social Media Murder series must have lead you to some pretty harrowing, graphic experiences from the real-life victims of the similar crimes that you have covered in your books. Do you ever get nightmares about the subject matter that you cover? Has any part of your research really stayed with you?

Angela: Yes, I’ve had moments where I’ve researched, and in some cases witnessed, some dark things (online). After I just need to be alone with my thoughts. It’s a lot to process sometimes, what humans are capable of. You feel like you need to emotionally recharge, before you can pick work back up and get on with it again. You know what I mean?

Casey: A hundred percent. When I wrote The Taken, I did a lot of research on The Jungle - the migrant camp in Calais and people trafficking. There was a lot happening at that time in the press too and some of the stories about what people endured to escape from countries they were fleeing from, and some of the things that they'd encountered on their journey were just unthinkable. The most harrowing moment for me was seeing the image of the little Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, when he was found washed up on a Turkish beach. Utterly heart-breaking. That still haunts me now. 

Angela: That poor boy. His poor family. And all the other faceless and nameless ones who’ve gone through similar things. I feel that writing fiction is often another way of bearing witness. It’s the old thing about crime fiction holding a mirror up to society. Yes, it’s an entertaining medium, but I can’t help but try and slip a few flags in there to try and make people think. Like exposing the ways in which social media dissects with misogyny. It’s a theme that reoccurs in my work. That and how we ought to behave better online. Someone said to me, you shouldn’t post anything online you wouldn’t be willing to shout in the middle of a packed bus, and I think that’s a pretty good guide.

So, what’s next? The Betrayed is out this week, isn’t it?

Casey: It is! And I'm back to doing what I love, focusing on the female characters and their roles in the notorious crime family. Colleen and Nancy are incredibly strong characters and can be just as ruthless, if not more so, than their male counterparts.

Angela: I love that! I’m all about the strong ladies. Though Nas is quite a straight-laced cop, she’s still a total badass. And Freddie’s just off the scale. She’s ended up working alongside the police, but has never made any alterations to her character or actions: she does what she believes to be right. And consequences be damned. Do you reckon Colleen and Nancy would get on with her and Nas?

Casey: Colleen and Nancy couldn't be more different from Freddie and Nas! They’re from completely different worlds. The Byrnes family don't let anyone in. They don't trust anyone, not even their own. 

Angela: I think Freddie and Nas have a sisterly relationship, the way young women in their twenties often do. They’re tied together in so many ways, despite their differences. They bicker constantly, but if anyone else dares say a word against the other, they’ll be the first to defend them.

Casey: Do you want another drink?

Angela: The answer to that question is always yes. Let’s do it!

The conversation then becomes somewhat blurred around the edges, so to find out the rest you best pick up our books…

Trust Me (Avon) by Angela Clarke is out now. The Betrayed (Bookouture) by Casey Kelleher is out now.


You can find Angela Clarke on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @TheAngelaClarke.  You can also find Casey Kelleher on Facebook and on Twitter @caseykelleher

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

LONGLIST ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2017 McILVANNEY PRIZE


‘I went to Bloody Scotland and I was just knocked out....this event was so friendly, so supportive I was honestly overwhelmed’
William McIlvanney – speaking on BBC Scotland, 2012
Following the launch party for Bloody Scotland 2017, Shots were delighted to hear about the writers and books long-listed for this year’s Scottish Crime Novel of the Year Award.

Last year the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award was renamed the McIlvanney Prize in memory of William McIlvanney who established the tradition of Scottish detective fiction. His brother Hugh McIlvanney OBE, came to Stirling to present the prize to Chris Brookmyre who won it for Black Widow. The book went on to be shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and is currently on the shortlist for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Prize to be announced at the Harrogate Festival next month.

Ever a step ahead, Bloody Scotland today announce the longlist for this year’s McIlvanney Prize. The winner will be announced at the opening reception at Stirling Castle on Friday 8 September (6.30-8.30pm) and followed by a torchlight procession – open to the public - led by Ian Rankin on his way down to his event celebrating 30 years of Rebus. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1,000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

The longlist which has been chosen by an independent panel of readers and features 6 male and 6 female writers, established authors and debut writers, small Scottish publishers and large London houses, is released today:

Lin Anderson – None But the Dead (Macmillan)
Chris Brookmyre – Want You Gone (Little, Brown)
Ann Cleeves – Cold Earth (Macmillan)
Helen Fields – Perfect Remains (Harper Collins)
Val McDermid – Out of Bounds (Little, Brown)
Claire MacLeary – Cross Purpose (Contraband)
Denise Mina – The Long Drop (Random House)
Owen Mullen – Games People Play (Bloodhound)
Ian Rankin – Rather Be the Devil (Orion)
Craig Robertson – Murderabilia (Simon and Schuster)
Craig Russell – The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid (Quercus)
Jay Stringer – How to Kill Friends & Implicate People (Thomas & Mercer)


The judges will be chaired by Director of Granite Noir, Lee Randall, comedian and crime fiction fan, Susan Calman and journalist, Craig Sisterson who between them cover three continents. The finalists will be revealed at the beginning of September and the winner kept under wraps until the ceremony itself.


Previous winners are Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow 2016, Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona in 2015, Peter May with Entry Island in 2014, Malcolm Mackay with How A Gunman Says Goodbye in 2013 and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country in 2012.
For further information please contact fiona@brownleedonald.com

Download the programme by clicking HERE
‘In what is shaping up to be a record-breaking year at Bloody Scotland (we sold twice as many tickets on our first day as last year), I’m pleased to see so many of the highlights of the 2017 programme featured on this longlist. It’s also brilliant to see a few debut novels on there slugging it out with the more established names. I certainly don’t envy our judges the task of picking a winner from this excellent crop of crime novels’ - 
Bob McDevitt, Director of Bloody Scotland, June 2017



Sunday, 18 June 2017

Valentina Giambanco on Locked Room Mysteries

When I started writing Sweet After Death I decided that I wanted to write what was in essence a locked-room mystery but instead of walls I would use impenetrable landscape to isolate my characters. Imagine a small town – barely more than a village, imagine it pretty in a kind of American gothic way. Now, surround this lovely example of Americana with mountains and wilderness of the type we don’t get here – where the landscape is tidy and polite even in its wildest forms. In short, make it beautiful but make it deadly.

It was enormous fun taking my main character, Homicide Detective Alice Madison, away from her usual Seattle location and drop her in the middle of completely unknown territory. There is something very appealing about living a life away from the pressures and the grim realities of an urban environment – and Madison has always felt a deep connection with the nature and wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. However, the truth is that the lovely inhabitants of the town of Ludlow are far more dangerous than the wolves that roam the nearby plains.

The murder that has led Madison to Ludlow is the first ever in the county and quite horrific. And soon she realises that the murderer must still be among the group of people who have welcomed her so kindly.

There are many challenges in this set-up because I wanted not only the structure of a locked-room mystery but also a sense that the killer was not done yet, and that Madison herself would become part of his or her end game. The problem was that everyone in Ludlow had secrets – that’s why most of them had decided to live in such an out of the way place – and some of those secrets were lethal.

Madison herself has been keeping her own secrets and the investigation brings back memories that she had not dealt with for a long time – the monster in her past is just as dangerous as the one in her present.

The beauty of writing a locked-room mystery in the middle of the mountains is that I could take advantage of the claustrophobic nature of dark, forbidding forests while at the same time using the very same landscape as a release and a passage to freedom for some of the characters.

In the end, as ever, nothing is quite what it seems – maybe not even Madison – and the locked room opens up to let in light as much as darkness.   


Sweet After Death by Valentina Giambanco
In the dead of winter Homicide Detective Alice Madison is sent to the remote town of Ludlow, Washington, to investigate an unspeakable crime. Together with her partner Detective Sergeant Kevin Brown and crime scene investigator Amy Sorensen, Madison must first understand the killer's motives...but the dark mountains that surround Ludlow know how to keep their secrets and that the human heart is wilder than any beast's.  As the killer strikes again Madison and her team are under siege. And as they become targets Madison realises that in the freezing woods around the pretty town a cunning evil has been waiting for her.


Friday, 16 June 2017

2017 Ngaio Marsh Award Longlist



The Longlist for the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel: The Ngaio Marsh Award represents the very best in Kiwi Crime.

Dead Lemons, by Finn Bell (e-book)
Pancake Money, by Finn Bell (e-book)
Spare Me the Truth, by C.J. Carver (Bonnie Zaffre)
Red Herring, by Jonothan Cullinane (HarperCollins)
The Revelations of Carey Ravine, by Debra Daley (Quercus)
The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton, by Katherine Hayton (Katherine Hayton)
Presumed Guilty, by Mark McGinn (Merlot)
Marshall’s Law, by Ben Sanders (Allen & Unwin)
A Straits Settlement, by Brian Stoddart (Crime Wave Press)
The Last Time We Spoke, by Fiona Sussman (Allison & Busby)

Craig Sisterson, organizer of the Ngaio Marsh Award, is a lapsed Lawyer, and major Crime Fiction Fan and Writer who writes for magazines and newspapers in several countries. He also blogs at Crime Watch.

Here's what Craig has to say about this year's long list:

A self-inflicted, self-described cripple dangling off the edge of a cliff above the raging sea near the bottom of New Zealand, clinging precariously to life after getting too noisy with his dangerous neighbours, probably wasn’t the kind of hero Raymond Chandler ever had in mind.

 “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid,” wrote the cranky king of crime fiction in “The Simple Art of Murder”, an oft-quoted essay for the Atlantic Monthly published a few short weeks after the end of the Second World War.

Seventy-plus years on, the hero of Otago author Finn Bell’s exciting crime debut Dead Lemons is both tarnished, and afraid. And he’s not the only ‘hero’ among this year’s crop of Ngaio Marsh Award longlistees who breaks the classic crime mould. New Zealand authors are unafraid to put their own spin on crime, blending it with other genres, and taking their tales into varied locales and times.

A record number of entries gave the judging panel plenty to ponder, with plenty of new blood joining the local #yeahnoir ranks (credit to Steph Soper of the Book Council for the cool hashtag).

Candidly, it was a tough ask for our judges to narrow down the longlist, with plenty of good local reads that judges liked missing out. While that’s a great situation for the overall health of New Zealand crime writing, it made for some tough calls, differing opinions, and debate.

With such variety on offer (and the fact I’m only personally batting about .500 in terms of correctly picking the winner over the years), I’m not even going to try to play bookie with the contenders.

If you’re a fan of crime fiction, or just good writing, I’m sure there’s something here that could tickle your fancy
.

The international judging panel of Ayo Onatade (UK), Greg Fleming (New Zealand), Janet Rudolph (United States), Karen Chisholm (Australia), Paddy Richardson (New Zealand), Stephanie Jones (New Zealand), and Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Iceland), are currently considering the long list.

The finalists will be announced in August, along with the finalists for the Best First Novel and Best Non Fiction categories. The finalists will be celebrated and the winners announced at a WORD Christchurch event in October.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Forty years with Varg Veum by Gunnar Staalesen


In June it is forty years since the first novel about Varg Veum was published in Norway. It bears the title Bukken til havresekken and is still not translated into English. The title comes from an old Norwegian saying: ‘You do not tell the buck to watch the bag of oats.’ (Bukken til havresekken translates directly as: ‘The buck to the bag of oats’.) The French edition was called: Le Loup dans la bergerie, which means ‘The wolf in the sheepfold’ and therefore has a similar meaning: ‘You don’t ask a wolf to look after the sheep.’ But in Germany it was simply called it: Das Haus mit der grünen Tür (‘The House with the Green Door’, which, interestingly, was my working title for the book, although I never told anyone about that. How did they know?!)

The book was an experiment. I wanted to move the traditional private eye novel from America to Norway, while taking account of the differences between the US of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and Norway in the 1970s. So Varg Veum was without doubt a close relative of Philip Marlowe and Lew Archer; but he was transformed into a Scandinavian, left-wing social democrat, with whom many of my readers at the time could sympathise. He had a different type of background too: he was originally a social worker, employed by the local authority to help children who were in difficult situations or came from families where their parents were not able to take care of them.

My inspiration as a crime writer originally came from the Swedish couple, Sjöwall & Wahlöö, who, between 1965 and 1975, had a huge impact on international crime fiction with their ten novels about the Stockholm-based police inspector Martin Beck. My first two crime novels (and the fourth) were police procedurals in more or less the same style as Sjöwall & Wahlöö, with added inspiration coming from the American writer Chester Himes and his books about Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. In the back of my head, however, there was also the traditional plotting I’d learnt by reading Agatha Christie, Quentin Patrick, Erle Stanley Gardner and many other great plot constructors. And I had, of course, read Arthur Conan Doyle and been fascinated by the combination of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson since I first read The Hound of the Baskervilles when I was twelve years old.

However, it was only when I read Raymond Chandler for the first time, in 1971, that I really understood what good literature a crime novel could be. At that time I had published two experimental novels that were more inspired by Jack Kerouac than by crime writers, but I could see the similarities between Kerouac and Chandler, particularly the poetic and playful language. This made me think: Perhaps – some day – a crime novel? After having more or less failed (I have to admit) as a mainstream, ‘serious’ novelist, I then started my career as a crime writer in 1975, with the first of my police procedurals, and in 1977 the first Varg Veum novel.

I have to admit that I was sceptical about the experiment myself: was it possible to transfer this American style of crime writing to Norway in the 70s? But no critic protested that you couldn’t set a private detective story in contemporary Bergen, and the readers loved it. Having finished my third and last police procedural, in 1979, I then wrote number two in what was now going to be the Varg Veum series: Yours until Death. This book is available in English.

In June 2017, my seventeenth novel in the series, Wolves in the Dark, is published in the UK and will be available as an ebook all over the world. During the forty years between the first book and this, Varg has aged only twenty-five years. (The action in this book takes place in 2002, when he is almost sixty.) But he is still has the same roots: shooting off one-liners like a stressed Philip Marlowe, and solving mysteries like a sad and disturbed Lew Archer. In this book Varg deals with one of the most difficult cases of his career: he is on the run from the police himself, at the same time as trying to find out who is seeking revenge on him, and why? The combination of these ‘who’ and ‘why’ questions forms the basis for most modern crime novels. But it is the ‘why’ that is perhaps even more important now than in the earlier periods of the genre; and this is certainly the case in Wolves in the Dark. 

The book also deals with a couple of big themes: the problem of hacking into private computers; and – more tragically – the abuse of children carried out by international groups; a problem that has been demonstrated by a big investigation being conducted by the police in Bergen right now, as I write these words.

It seems that the stuff crime novels are made of never goes away.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Audible asks “dear readers and writers, are you listening yet?”


I was delighted to be asked to join the Audible team for lunch at London’s The Ivy by Alice Geary of MIDAS. Joining Laurence Howell, Audible’s Director for Content and his team were Bestselling crime writers Mark Billingham and Sharon Bolton as well as renowned audio narrator Clare Corbett and guests; book reviewers and literary commentators Marcel Berlins, Michael Carlson, Nick Clee and I, as well as Tony Mulliken keeping order.


Tony Mulliken’s presence was required at the lunch, as I have become an enthusiastic advocate, and rather vocal [pardon the pun] about the importance of audio fiction in publishing, be it narrated work or audio dramatizations, with Audible taking the lead in this fast growing area of publishing.

I joined Audible over a year ago as a customer, taking advantage of their remarkable £7.99 a month deal which allows one Audiobook download a month. This is remarkable value when you consider it allows you to download work such the remarkable Sherlock Holmes : The Definitive Edition narrated by Stephen Fry. This work is produced by Audible Studios and runs close to 72 hours and would normally cost you £69.99, however if you are an Audible member, it is eligible for the ‘£7.99 one audio book per month’. I will not say more for fear of gushing like Vesuvius [on a bad day], for Fry’s reading of Conan Doyle’s Holmes and Watson is remarkable.


I know around the watercooler there are avid conversations about the latest TV miniseries on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky Atlantic and BBC Iplayer; however I am often talking excitedly about what Audible Studios have commissioned next. The Original Content that Audible provide, with soundscapes is remarkable. I am particularly in awe of the Dirk Maggs productions of Alien out of the Shadows and Alien River of Pain, and very excited about the X-FILES Audio Production due out in July, entitled Cold Cases.


I find the short story format as well as the novella especially suited to the Audible platform. I store my Audible Novels and Dramatizations on my PC and Phone, so I always have access to my favourite narratives, which I especially enjoy in bed before sleep [and the app on the Iphone has a sleep timer]. Being read to before slumber is one of life’s great comforts.


Both the Audible app for IPhone / Android and Audible website are excellent, as apart from daily deals, and 3 for 2 offers; they feature clips allowing you check the ability of the narrator, or the dramatization [many which are commissioned in London by Laurence Howell’s team]. The website and app allows you to search by narrator as well as author or genre. I have often selected an Audible book, not by the author but the quality of the narrator.


Over lunch I was delighted to meet Clare Corbett, the renowned actress and audio performer. Clare was involved in Audible’s adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ THE GIRL ON A TRAIN and Fiona Barton’s THE WIDOW which she performed and are exceptional works for audio.

If you hurry, for one week Audible are giving away audio copies of THE WIDOW, scroll to the bottom of this LINK; a book that Stephen King described as 'If you liked GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, you might want to pick up THE WIDOW by Fiona Barton. Engrossing. Suspenseful'


Speaking of Stephen King, as a long time reader of his work since my teenage years; I have been revisiting my youth by collecting his work on audio via Audible, which I listen to when too tired to read, using the sleep timer function. I was delighted to see James Franco has been commissioned to narrate Stephen King’s THE DEAD ZONE a rather prescient work, considering what many think of current POTUS Mr D Trump.  I have been rather vocal [pardon the pun, again] for King’s last collection of short fiction THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS. I reviewed it at Shots Ezine, but had to add to my review how much pleasure the Audible version was following my re-listening to the book –

Specific favourites are the very droll ‘Drunken Fireworks’, which started life as an audio novella, and is indeed a very engaging morality tale that when placed into context, mirrors the inherent madness in humanity’s need for the arms race. Though my favourite is the dark reflection of age and the mysteries of death in ‘The Dune’ [originally published as a story in the British literary journal Granta].

I subsequently purchased the audio version of this collection from Audible, which is remarkable, as King prefaces the stories vocally, but each is narrated by professional actors and vocal artists, such as Craig Wasson; and these narrations brings the stories to life [and death]. 

Read More HERE


Again, I digress; the reason for the lunchtime meeting, was that Audible wished to announce a new initiative - a writing grant for a piece of unpublished crime-fiction worth £10,000.
So for the budding crime writers in the room I’d suggest it worth taking notes –

The Audible New Writing Grant: The Crime Edition invites the UK’s most promising crime writers to submit an unpublished thriller of 50,000 words or more to a panel of experts. Free to enter, a shortlist of three candidates will be announced in early 2018. For a little extra inspiration, applicants will be able to download a copy of The Widow by Fiona Barton – one of Audible’s best-selling crime novels – for free during the first week of submissions.

The winning author will be selected from the shortlist in Spring 2018 by a judging panel which includes: Sunday Times Best-Seller and two-time Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year winner Mark Billingham; Sunday Times Best-Seller and CWA Dagger In The Library winner Sharon Bolton; The Girl On The Train and The Widow narrator Clare Corbett, the Daily Telegraph’s Crime Critic Jake Kerridge and Audible’s Director Of Content Laurence Howell.

The winning author will receive a £10,000 advance, accountable against royalties, for an exclusive Worldwide English language audio publication deal, as well as mentoring from Audible’s panel of judges.


Laurence Howell, Senior Director at Audible, said: “Audio offers enormous potential for creators to connect with new listeners, and we’re always looking for ways to delight our members with gripping new debuts. This New Writing Grant marries those two aims together perfectly. It allows us to support, daring, innovative storytelling whilst also giving our listeners access to exclusive audio stories we know they’ll love. We’ve commissioned original works from Philip Pullman, Robert Caro and Tom Rachman amongst others, now we’re looking to nurture the next generation of writing talent.”

Mark Billingham, author of the Tom Thorne series, said: “What’s special about this kind of storytelling is the intimate connection with the listener. We’ll be looking for stories that create suspense and tension through classic techniques such as the cliffhanger and the twist, but more importantly we’ll be looking for strong, multidimensional characters that really engage and resonate with the listener. Everyone loves being told a great story and that is exactly what we’re looking for.”


Clare Corbett, narrator of The Girl On The Train, said: “There are certain elements that are key to whether a novel will work in audio. Writers should think about how they would naturally speak - we rarely talk as formally as we write and rhythm is really important. A bit of variety in sentence length and structure will hold a listener’s attention and leaving space for silence is central to tension-building. These are some things we’ll be considering throughout the judging process.”

To enter, applicants must email (in Word or PDF format) a copy of their manuscript, submission letter and synopsis of the story to crimegrant@audible.co.uk before 23:59 on 30th November 2017. Terms and conditions apply, please visit www.audible.co.uk/CrimeGrant for full details.

For more information about Audible : New Writing Grant for Crime Fiction Click Here and from that link there is an offer for a free download of Fiona Barton’s THE WIDOW as performed by Clare Corbett [but hurry as the offer is for a very limited time].

And remember though I mentioned Crime, Horror, Science Fiction Audio work here, I should add as a postscript that Audible’s offerings are very wide. One of my very favourite downloads of this year was Bruce Springsteen reading from his autobiography BORN TO RUN, making it an experience that is as revelatory as it is life affirming, and I got it for £7.99 on the Audible monthly deal.

About Audible
Audible, an Amazon.com, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible was created to unleash the emotive music in language and the habituating power and utility of verbal expression. Audible content includes more than 250,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers.

Photos (c) 2017 A Karim & (c) 2017 Audible.co.uk