Saturday 31 August 2019

Celtic Noir Crime Writing Festival

Celtic Noir Crime Writing Festival
Presented by the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies (CISS), Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival, Dunedin Public Libraries, and Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature, and proudly sponsored by the University Book Shop.

Saturday 12 October 

Organiser of Plotting a Thriller with Liam McIlvanney (workshop)
Dunedin City Library

Fiona Kidman in conversation with Majella Cullinane
Dunedin City Library

Adrian McKinty on writing the High Concept Thriller
Dunedin City Library

Cops and Horrors with Vanda Symon and Liz Nugent

Val McDermid in conversation with Adrian McKinty
Dunedin City Library

Sunday 13 October

Liz Nugent Masterclass
Dunedin City Library

Celtic Noir panel: Featuring Val McDermid, Liz Nugent and Adrian McKinty
Dunedin City Library

Information about buying tickets can be found here.

Friday 30 August 2019

Call for Papers - Mystery and Detective Fiction

Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Wednesday, April 15 – Saturday, April 18, 2020

For information on PCA/ACA, please go to

For conference information, please go to


The Mystery & Detective Fiction Area of the Popular Culture Association invites proposals for our annual conference. We seek proposals from educators, graduate students, and independent scholars for academic discussions on all aspects and periods of mystery and detective fiction, including history, criticism, and theory, as well as explorations of social justice, diversity, inclusivity, and other current trends in scholarship. We welcome a wide range of topics and approaches on writers and works ranging from classic to contemporary, but ask that proposals go beyond plot summary to extend existing scholarship in new directions. Proposals should have a clear and focused argument that can be developed adequately in a 15-minute presentation.

We welcome proposals on the following:
Regional detective fiction, including texts set in or around Philadelphia, PA
Storytelling styles, stock characters, and tropes relevant to the genre (e.g. individual mysteries compared to series, long-term story arcs)
Axes of diversity and identity politics in mystery/detective fiction(e.g., race/ethnicity/class/gender/sexual orientation)
Critical race theory and other approaches that interrogate marginalization
Various subgenres (e.g., hardboiled detective fiction /cosy detective fiction)
Mystery and detection on film (including film noir, horror, romance)
Overlaps with other genres (e.g., horror, romance, dystopia, Westerns)
Trauma theory and other psychological approaches (e.g., cognitive poetics)
Representing crime, justice, violence, stereotyping, etc.
Comparisons between fictional and “true crime”/news representations of crime
Questions of high/low culture
International incarnations of mystery, detective, and crime works
Analyses of promotional and/or contextual materials (reviews, handbooks, etc.)
Mystery community culture (e.g., conferences, associations, forums, bookstores, listservs, author events, fandoms)
The genre as represented outside of print media, including film, television, podcasts, mystery dinner theatre, computer games, transmedia experiments, etc.

Please submit your 100- to 250-word abstract outlining both your object(s) of analysis and your primary argument by November 1, 2019. If you are a first-time presenter in our division (it does not need to be your first time presenting at PCA/ACA), please identify yourself with a note after your abstract. First-time presenters in Mystery & Detective Fiction are eligible for the Earl Bargainnier Award.

To propose a panel, submit individual presentations, then email both area co-chairs with a request to be considered as a panel. This year, PCA/ACA is requiring a minimum of four papers per panel. In your email, name all participants and briefly explain the thematic link between your papers.

The Mystery & Detective Fiction Area of PCA/ACA is dedicated to recognizing, furthering, and promoting the scholarly study of all aspects of mystery and detective fiction. The M&D Fiction area offers an inclusive community where new and returning scholars can engage in sustained critical evaluation of texts, film, and television, podcasts, and other mediums relating to the theme. Each year we present the Earl Bargainnier Award for best paper by a first-time presenter in the M&D Fiction area and the George N. Dove Award for outstanding contributions to the serious study of crime fiction. In addition to panel presentations on all aspects of mystery and detective fiction, we organize a panel of local mystery authors and partner with other PCA sections with overlapping interests as well as coordinate formal and informal tours of the host city. We also invite members to participate in a group dinner, making this a truly collegial event. Members are also encouraged to participate in the annual business meeting, where we set the area’s course for the next year, and hold a raffle of fun low-cost items donated by area members.

For the rest of the year, we maintain contact through a listserv where we discuss ideas, circulate calls for contributions, and post book reviews and recommendations. 

To join the listserv, contact Karen Waldron at ( Follow us on Twitter: @pca_mystery.

Please send all inquiries to co-chairs:

Patrick Russell University of Connecticut
Jennifer Schnabel
The Ohio State University
August 1, 2019                 Submission Page Goes Live
October 1, 2019               Early Bird Registration Rate Opens
November 1, 2019           Deadline for Paper Proposals and Endowment  Grants
December 1, 2019           Early Bird Registration Rate Ends
January 1, 2020               Regular Registration Rate Ends
January 2, 2020               Late Registration Rate Begins
January 15, 2020             Brigman and Jones Awards Deadline
January 20, 2020             Preliminary Schedule Available
February 1, 2020             Presenter Registration Deadline – participants who have not registered are removed from the program.
February 2, 2020              Registration ends for presenters at midnight.
April 15-18, 2020             National Conference
All presenters must be current, paid members of the PCA and fully  registered for the conference.
Refund requests must be submitted in writing. Full or partial refunds will be processed according to the following schedule:
Requested by Jan. 1: 100% refund
Requested by Jan. 15: 75% refund
Requested by Jan. 25: 50% refund
Requested by Feb. 1: 25% refund
After Feb. 1: 0% refund
Membership fees are not refundable.

Thursday 29 August 2019

Call for Papers:- Victorian and Edwardian Mysteries

CFP:  Victorian and Edwardian Mysteries 
(Special Issue, Victorians Institute Journal)

The long nineteenth century (1789-1914) produced a wealth of works, literary and non-literary, concerned with mysteries, secrets, enigmas, and the unknown. Sensing that they stood on a threshold, that the shadowy borders of new knowledge and understanding lay almost within reach, literary figures, philosophers, and scientists struggled with a variety of mysteries arising from their interests in crime and criminology, medicine and disease, science and pseudoscience, industry and technology, gender and sexuality, travel and empire, religious faith and doubt. 

The Victorians Institute Journal invites submissions for a special issue on Victorian and Edwardian mysteries. Papers should be 5000-8000 words in length and must follow the Chicago Manual of Style.  

Submissions (in Microsoft Word) and inquiries should be emailed to the editors (Don Richard Cox and Maria K. Bachman) at

The deadline for submissions is 1 February 2020.

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Ned Kelly Awards 2019 shortlists

The Australian Crime Writers Association is pleased to announce the shortlists for the 2019 Ned Kelly Awards.
Best True Crime
Egg Shell by Bri Lee
The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper
Siege by Deborah Snow
Waiting for Elijah by Kate Wild

Best First Fiction
The Portrait of Molly Dean by Katherine Kovack
The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan 
The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady
Greenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

Best Fiction
Kill Shot by Garry Disher
Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox
The Spotted Dog by Kerry Greenwood
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
The Other Wife by Michael Robotham
Live and Let Fly by Sue Williams

The winners will be announced at the BAD Sydney Crime Writers festivaal on Friday September 6 

Tuesday 27 August 2019


Silverprint Pictures has announced that it has optioned the screen rights to The Long Call the Outstanding first novel in the new Two Rivers crime fiction series from bestselling author Ann Cleeves

The deal was arranged by Rebecca Watson at Valerie Hoskins Associates on behalf of literary agent Sara Menguc.

The Long Call is the third collaboration between Cleeves and Silverprint Pictures¨ a partnership that has produced Shetland © BBC® and Vera © ITV®¨ two of television’s most popular dramas.  Both the television series and the books they are based on have become international sensations¨ capturing the hearts of millions worldwide.

The Long Call¨ published by Pan Macmillan on 5 September¨ is set in North Devon¨ where the author spent her teenage years Ann introduces us to the reserved and complex Detective Inspector Matthew Venn and to a wonderfully rich ensemble of characters¨ in a compelling¨ skilfully plotted mystery¨ which vividly evokes the stark beauty of the North Devon coastline¨ and a community where murder and intrigue bubble just beneath the surface

Author Ann Cleeves says
I’m delighted that the team at Silverprint has optioned The Long Call.  The adaptations of Vera and Shetland have captured the essence of my books¨ while making TV dramas that are hugely successful in their own right

Kate Bartlett¨ Executive Producer¨ Silverprint says
After almost a decade working together¨ we are thrilled to be continuing our creative partnership with Ann The Long Call is a rich and deeply engrossing mystery with a whole host of new Cleeves’ characters led by the inimitable Matthew Venn. Just as the novel feels like a progression of Ann’s writing¨ this feels like the opportunity to create a wholly unique and ambitious event crime drama with another iconic detective at its heart We can’t wait to get started

Vicki Mellor¨ Publishing Director Fiction at Pan Macmillan says
We are thrilled that Ann’s superlative new novel The Long call has been optioned for television Ann’s unique ability to evoke landscape and create† compelling new characters is never more evident than with this novel¨ as we see a new setting in North Devon and a new lead in the wonderful Matthew Venn The happy news that Ann’s hugely successful partnership with Silverprint is continuing couldn’t be more welcome or come at a better time. We can’t wait to see how the series evolves onto the screen’

The Long Call by Anne Cleeves (Published by Pan Macmillan)
In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father's funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.  Now he's back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose.  A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew's new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.  Finding the killer is Venn's only focus, and his team's investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.

Gareth Rubin’s Liberation Square

I recently bumped into a debut novelist Gareth Rubin, at a party hosted by the PenguinRandomHouse Group, during the Theakston’s Crime-Writing Festival last month. 

I had read espionage writer Adrian Magson’s review earlier, and it intrigued me. So last week, as Rubin’s Liberation Square came to paperback, from Penguin I grabbed a copy for the bank-holiday reading. After penning my review, I had a few questions which the author kindly answered and I’ll share with Shots Readers -

Ali Karim: So firstly, are you a reader of alternate history novels such as PKD’s The Man in the High Castle, Robert Harris’ Fatherland or Len Deighton’s SS-GB?

Gareth Rubin: It would be a bit weird if I weren’t, wouldn’t it? The thing is, the alt-history setting adds something, but it’s not the whole deal. You have to have a decent storyline in there too, or the reader loses interest. I’m not entirely convinced The Man In The High Castle passes that test. But Dick’s dead, so he can’t complain about me now. Screw you, Philip K Dick.

AK: So, tell us a little about your reading, the books that made you consider writing yourself?

GR: I like to kick back with a bit of modern gothic. Rebecca, The Name of the Rose (sure, it’s a medieval setting, but written fairly recently and the main character is ahead of his time), The Secret History. Maybe I’m weird, but I like the idea of people going mad just around the corner from where we sit eating pub lunches in the afternoon. I don’t like horror, but I like the quietly horrifying.

AK: And a little about your foray behind the camera screen, and your journalism?

GR: Ha. I was an actor for a few years, but my mum tells people I wasn’t great at it. She’s probably right. I started as a journalist at the tail end of the good times, in the late 1990s, before the bottom fell out of the market and people starting getting their information about the world from utterly untrue blogs (God, I don’t want to give them any publicity, but some of your friends probably share their content on social media). It’s frightening that there are people out there who believe some of the dross on the internet and base their voting decisions on it. I still work as a journalist from time to time, when I find something that interests me – social affairs – and a newspaper not run on a shoestring or ultimately owned by an odd couple of a dodgy Russian oligarch and a psychopathic Saudi prince (that’s the Independent, in case I wasn’t being clear).

AK: Prior to Liberation Square, had you written fiction prior and tell us a little about those words?

GR: Like most authors, I’ve got a couple of dreadful failed novels stored in the recesses of my laptop. They will never see the light of day so long as I live. On the other hand, before Liberation Square I wrote a mystery set during the French revolution that I might now rewrite and publish. I like it. A priest is crucified.

AK: And back to your day job; is journalism (especially freelance) as precarious as it appears? 

GR: I will write for food. No, seriously. I will.

AK: How fully-formed did the concept of Liberation Square’s alternate history come to you, did you have to plot much before writing or did you find the story during the process of writing it?

GR: I’m awful at planning. Some authors plot it out intricately and know exactly what will happen before they type a word. I wish I could do that. I usually have an opening image – not a scene, but an image – and perhaps a mid-point and ending. I just have to sit down and see where the writing takes me because I only get ideas as I’m writing. I’ve tried planning it out, but I immediately go off at tangents and throw away the planning notes. It means I take a lot longer for a book than I should.

AK: Tell us about character. How well did you get to ‘know’ Jane, Nick, Frank and Hazel, among others?

GR: Hmmm, interesting question. I remember at university – I read English literature - one of my tutors warning about being taken in by the romantic myth that the characters exist off the page, in their own world. They don’t. The author creates them in entirety and they only exist in the words you write. I’m a bit suspicious of authors who say: ‘My hero wants to do X, I can’t control him!’ Bollocks. You want him to do that. So write it or don’t write it, but don’t pretend he lives separately from your novel.
That said, I’ve spoken to a couple of reading groups and one group said: ‘We feel really sorry for Hazel, she’s lost her mum and all she does is get sent to her room to keep quiet.’ Sorry Hazel.

AK: I take it you have read Eric Arthur Blair [George Orwell] as I felt his shadow at times during the reading?

GR: Aye. Sad to say, I don’t think I’ll ever create anything as good as Animal Farm.  Orwell is the man to go to when it comes to the critical reality of far-left politics and its apologists. Don’t read Das Kapital, kids, read 1984.

Orwell was also an old Observer hack (I work at the Observer). In fact, so was Kim Philby, who also appears in Liberation Square. He was our Middle East correspondent when he was outed as a spy. We have a strong line in dead socialists.

AK: As a debut novelist, what advice would you give those doing the ‘clickety clack’?

GR: It still feels weird calling myself a novelist. It sounds like a fantasy 
profession. I suppose it is, in a way. What advice? Well, I say you do it by doing it. Sit down at your computer and write a word. Then write another one. And keep going. It’s much easier than it sounds.

AK: So, what’s next?

GR: My next novel is The Winter Agent, out in May next year. It’s about British agents in Paris just before D-Day. It’s inspired by a true – and, in some ways, tragic – story, critical to the success of the invasion in a way no one could possibly have guessed. Britain’s Special Operations Executive agents during the War were among the bravest men and women who ever lived.

I’ve dedicated the book to my grandfathers, who both landed in Normandy on D-Day. This year I went with my dad to the beach where his father came ashore 75 years ago; he was in the Pioneers. We saw the stretch of sand. It was incongruously quiet and peaceful. My grandfathers both survived the War, so many didn’t.

AK: Thank you for your time, and we look forward to seeing what’s coming from your imagination and your pen.

GR: Any time.

More information available from the links below

Shots Magazine Review Hard Cover HERE and Paperback HERE

Gareth Rubin’s website HERE

Gareth Rubin on Twitter HERE

Sunday 25 August 2019

Capital Crime

Fewer than 40 days until the inaugural Capital Crime, and we’re very excited.

You might have seen that we’ve reduced our ticket prices to £150 for a weekend pass and £80 for a day pass. We believe this is key to making the festival a truly accessible, mass participation event. Unsurprisingly, at these prices tickets are selling fast and once this tranche is gone, we will be sold out. 

Unfortunately, sold out really does mean sold out. 

The capacity rules of the Grand Connaught Rooms mean people can’t come and hang out at the bars without a pass, so if you know anyone who’s planning to do a ‘Harrogate’ please note and advise them they will be refused entry by venue security.

You might also have noticed that we’ve launched the DHH Literary Agency New Voices Award, aimed at helping the next generation of writing talent. 

You can find details of the competition here:

We’ve designed and built a system that enables Capital Crime pass holders to vote on the entries, building a sense of community and enabling readers to have a say in the discovery of the next generation of talent.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share, please feel free to contact David, Lizzie or Adam.

We look forward to seeing you for the opening night cocktails on Thursday 26th September. Not long now!

Saturday 24 August 2019

Call For Papers: Place, Space, and the Detective Narrative

CFP: Special Issue of The Journal of Popular Culture

Place, Space, and the Detective Narrative

Guest Editors       
Dr. Malcah Effron, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
Dr. Nicole Kenley, Baylor University

The complex actions that transpire in transnational geopolitical spaces, including but not limited to issues of migration, reconfiguration of borders, the (d)evolution of trade alliances, and wars on terror, continue to complicate twentieth-century grand narratives of nationalism. The crime genre concerns itself with these complications, and the detective narrative traditionally explores the preservation and violation of the societal borders that circumscribe these issues and the nations involved. However, much scholarship on crime fiction—e.g. John Cawelti (1977) to Lee Horsley (2005)—has critiqued the genre for upholding the status quo with its focus on the preservation of established borders; for example, such scholarship tends to argue that working within a legal system inherently maintains a pre-existing social order. 

As scholarship on crime fiction attends to the violations of societal borders illustrated in detective fiction, scholars must grapple with popular culture’s attitudes toward national, transnational, and global issues. For its special issue on “Place, Space, and the Detective Narrative,” The Journal of Popular Culture seeks articles that explore how depictions of place and/or space in detective narratives engage with these complicated contexts. We are especially interested in arguments that challenge the established scholarly narrative of crime fiction’s role in upholding the political status quo. 

Proposed topics may address, but are not limited to:
Detective Fiction and the Global City
Detectives, Borders, and Migrations
Time and Place
Regional Crime Narratives
Maps in/and Crime Narratives
Crime Narratives and Literary Tourism
Settings in Crime Narrative
Location-specific social issues in crime narrative
Geography and/or Crime Narrative
Locked-Room Mysteries
Politics of Place
Psychogeography and crime
Chronotopes of Crime
Crime on Location

Articles may come from any disciplinary or interdisciplinary practice. Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to both Malcah Effron (meffron”at” and Nicole Kenley (Nicole_Kenley”at” no later than Jan 1, 2020. 

Requests for manuscripts will be sent by March 1, 2020, and manuscripts (5000-7500 words) will be expected by June 1, 2020. 

Visit for the journal’s submission and style guidelines. Please contact either Malcah Effron (meffron”at” or Nicole Kenley (Nicole_Kenley”at” with any questions about the call. 

Friday 23 August 2019

Sarah Pinborough at the 2019 Celsius 232 Festival, Spain.

Another exclusive interview via Shots' Spanish office by John Parker the academic, writer, reviewer, teacher and citrus fruit enthusiast. John spoke with John Connolly earlier which is archived HERE.  

We now present an exchange with Sarah Pinborough, which includes some interesting insights regarding her Netflix excursion as well as her upcoming new work.

So over to John Parker -

Sarah Pinborough is a name that will be familiar to Shots readers. Her most recent novels include 13 Minutes, Cross Her Heart and the internationally acclaimed, NYT bestselling and Sunday Times #1 thriller, Behind Her Eyes.  Sarah visited Celsius 232 in Avilés for the first time after having to cancel her visit last year due to unforeseen circumstances last summer, but she promised to come over in 2019 and she was as good as her word. It was certainly worth the wait.

John Parker: Here I am in the NH Hotel in Avilés with Sarah Pinborough. How are you, Sarah?

Sarah Pinborough: I’m fine, thank you. Very happy to be here.

John: And how are they treating you here at Celsius 232?

Sarah: Good, yeah! All I’ve done is eat! And drink!

John: I guess the most interesting thing to talk about at the moment is, Detrás de Sus Ojos or Behind Her Eyes, your latest novel.

Sarah: No, that’s my one before last but it’s my latest in Spain.

John: Yeah, that’s what I meant, sorry. And it’s going to be adapted into…

John: Do you know anything about it?

Sarah: Yeah!  I’ve been very involved. I went to the read through and I know the producers quite well because we are going to work on some other stuff so, yeah, they’ve done a pretty good adaptation. A man called Steve Lightfoot has adapted it and he’s done Hannibal and The Punisher so he’s written quite a lot of stuff with some weird in it. He has written it with another female writer (Angela Lamanna) and they have kept it quite true to the book. 

John: Do you know when it’s coming out?

Sarah: I think about June next year, June or July next year.

John: So, everyone get your Netflix subscriptions!

Sarah: Please do. And watch it all at once cos’ I’ve learned that about Netflix…

John: Bingeing…

Sarah: Yeah, they renew things on the binge…

John: Really!?

Sarah: It’s all about how many people will watch it in the first two weeks.

John: Right, got you! Are you watching anything now?

Sarah: I have just what have I done………….? I’ve done loads of things recently. Obviously, all the Villanelle stuff (Killing Eve), um, Dead To Her?  No! Dead To Me!  I should say Dead to Her is the name of my next book.

John: OK! Is that an exclusive?

Sarah: (laughs) Yeah, it is actually. They’ve just getting some proofs at HarperCollins But, yeah, loads of stuff. I inhale Netflix. I inhale it.

John: And HBO as well, I suppose?

Sarah: Yeah, everything. I’ve got a Now TV stick now. The world is my oyster.

John: Yeah, I suppose there’s a lot of potential with all these new platforms that are coming up.

Sarah: Yeah, there is.

John: Disney taking over the world

Sarah: Yeah, but they kind of kill everything as they go.

John: So, let’s talk about your influences. I mean, I’m sure this is old ground for you but for new readers, they’d like to know.

Sarah: I think early influences, obviously Stephen King, anyone of my age has that. Daphne de Maurier. You know, I loved Rebecca.  I think it’s the first example in modern times of a really good domestic thriller. You know? Like Girl on A Train, Gone Girl, that kind of book? Rebecca did it first. Um, John Connolly definitely showed me how you could mix genres, blend them, you know?    

More recently, I’ve loved Liz Nugent’s writing. She’s written a couple of really good books. I think she just won the Irish book of the year… Megan Abbott, you know, I like anything with a good thriller-y twist.  But it changes in that everything you read that is good, you think, oh, you know, I could do something with that or try something like that so it does all change. You know, now I’m kind of influenced book by book rather than by authors, you know what I mean?

John: Yeah. So, when you were younger, were you were a voracious reader?

Sarah: Yeah! And I was at boarding school so there was nothing else to do! (laughs) But I think when you’re young, you read much more widely than you do as an adult so I would read all kinds of rubbish! Well, I say rubbish but not … you know, Wilbur Smith, Dracula, through to all those Pan Books of Horror, you know? Like, all of those…

John: It’s amazing how many people have read the Herbert Van Thal horror books. John Connolly mentioned them yesterday in his interview.  I’ve read them…

Sarah: Yeah! And I used to think that I hadn’t .You know I sort of started in horror and there’s a real sort of bunch of people who are really proper fans of horror and I’d say, “ No, I’ve not read that, I’ve not read that.”  And then I’d pick up one of the Van Thal books and I’d go, “Oh, I read this when I was about 10 or something!”  But I just didn’t pay attention to who it was.

John: Some of them mark you as well and stay with you forever.

Sarah: Yeah. And some of those old Twilight Zones and stuff, those have stayed with me too. But yeah, I read historical fiction and all sorts of things. I remember going through all of Graham Greene when I was about 13. Now when I’m reading I think, “Oh! This is a bit wordy!”  But I think you just read better when you are younger.

John: You’ve written a lot of stuff!  You could be considered prolific!

Sarah: I’m less prolific than I used to be. I remember someone saying… I think it may have been Michael Marshall Smith who said to me, “Sarah, prolific is not the best.” Because I used to say that some people were so prolific and he’d say it’s not the best adjective to describe a writer, you know? It’s not always the best one. So now I’m about a book every year, year and a half. I went through a little phase of, like, two books a year but I was trying to make a living.  You know? And I’ve never bought into the starving artist thing so I worked as long as I needed to and then I took six months out to write a book. I saved some money. I thought, well, I’ll take six months out of teaching and then I’ll go back but I wanted to try and be more ambitious. Which was… it became A Matter of Blood which was the first of a trilogy. So once I had gone full-time, it took 2 books a year to make 35 grand a year. (Laughter). So that was what I did. 2 books a year.

John: So, before you were a writer, you were a teacher?

Sara: I was for about 6 years.

John: What did you teach?

Sarah: English. I was Head of English in secondary.

John: Did you enjoy it?

Sarah: mmm, enjoy is a strong word. I liked the kids but teaching is boring.

John: (Defensively) Well... [editors note, John Parker is a teacher, and runs a teaching academy in Spain]

Sarah: It isn’t if you’re a natural born teacher, then it’s not boring. But when you are teaching the same thing, you know, I just found that I wanted to be writing. When I am in the right frame of mind, I’m a really good teacher, if I’m not in the right frame of mind, I’m not.  It’s not the best way to be.

John: Yeah, I can understand that. Ok. You wrote books under the pseudonym of Sarah Silverwood

Sarah: They were fantasy for children and I would have done them under my own name but my editor at the time decided a different name would be better. I don’t really know why. I think because I was writing adult crime fiction at the same time, she thought people would pick them up and get confused but as it turned out, just no one bought them because they were out under a different name. So I’ve never done a different name since.

John: I saw an interview with you online recently and you spoke about Michael Marshall Smith and you mentioned you were a fan of his book Intruders.

Sarah: Oh, yeah. I loved the book.

John: I loved the book and I liked the TV series too.

Sarah: Oh, I loved the book so much that I couldn’t get into the TV series. I thought it was a bit slow. But I probably didn’t give it the full chance.

John: It was where Mille Bob Brown started out. Have you been watching Stranger Things?

Sarah: Yeah, I’ve started Season 3 but I think it’s …

John: It’s awesome

Sarah: Is it!? You see, I’m a bit like …it feels a bit tired now.

John: I liked it more than Season 2.

Sarah: Oh, really?  I’m only two episodes in so I might have to give it a chance.

John: I recommend it. I don’t want to go into it too much but there is one scene which you have to avoid spoilers of. It’s a marvellous moment towards the end of the series which will appeal to your generation especially.

Sarah: I’m a native. I’m recognising everything so far. I was 10 in 1982 so it’s made for me.

John: So, you mentioned a new book. When will that be coming out?

Sarah: In February. It’s called Dead To Her. It’s set in Savannah, Georgia and it’s rich people being awful to each othe , with some voodoo.  I’m calling it Midnight in The Garden of Evil meets Big Little Lies. There’s that kind of vibe. Everyone seems very happy with it. It’s coming out in America at the same time. We’ve already sold the television rights.

John: That sounds great. We look forward to it. Thank you so much for your time, Sarah.

Sarah: Not at all. It was a pleasure.

Shots Magazine pass thanks to Jorge Iván Argiz and the organisers of the 2019 Celsius 232 festival, and to Sarah Pinborough for their time, insight and the soft fruits provided.

More information on her work is available from > if you’ve not read her work, we’d urge you grab her work at the first available opportunity.

And thanks to our Spanish representative, writer, reviewer and editor John Parker, who is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain John is a voracious reader, and has loved horror fiction for many, many years.

Photos (c) 2010 - 2019 John Parker, Ali Karim, Sarah Pinborough, Quercus Publishing and HarperCollins UK