Name: Nicci French
Nicci French is the pseudonym of English husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. There are the authors of 8 books in the Frieda Klein series as well as a number of standalone novels. Their 2003 novel Secret Smile was the basis for the television series Secret Smile. Their next book is The Lying Room and it is due to be published in October 2019.
SF:The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
NG: The American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld and the two latest thrillers by Elly Griffiths and Mark Billingham
SF:So many favourites, old ones, new discoveries. One new discovery is A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
NG:I have to say Jane Eyre– which I partly love so very much because I came to it as a young teenager and was bowled over by the anger and passion and romance
Which two characters would you invite to dinner and why?
SF:Elizabeth Bennett and Emma Woodhouse. It would be intriguing to see what they made of each other.
NG:I think I’m going to go for anarchy and have Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat(‘fun is good’ he says as he wreaks havoc) and the William Brown from Just William– though it would be a very messy dinner party
How do you relax?
SF:Running, reading, drinking, watching old movies.
NG:Wild swimming, baking, working in the garden, long bike rides, reading, dancing, drinking wine and every so often gin
What book do you wish you had written and why?
SF:I don’t wish I’d written other people’s books. I sometimes wish I’d thought of other people’s ideas.
NG:Any of the Moomintroll books – especially Moominland Midwinter
What would you say to your younger self if you were just starting out as a writer.
SF:Just the usual stuff: 90 per cent of life is showing up. Your novel won’t be published if you don’t write it.
NG:Read every day, write every day, live in faith and doubt, don’t collapse in a heap of distress if people don’t like what you do, make writing into an adventure
How would you describe your series character?
SF and NG: Frieda Klein, the protagonist of the series we’ve just completed, is a psychotherapist, an insomniac, a compulsive walker, a loner who attracts a strange group of friends who become her family.
Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man. She doesn't call the police. You know, it's funny,' Detective Inspector Hitching said. `Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she'll know. She's the one people talk to, she's the one people confide in.' A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things. She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all. But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger. She can't tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves? And who does she really know? And who can she trust? A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things. Could she be a murderer?
Information about 2019 St Hilda's College Crime Fiction Weekend and how to book tickets can be found here.