Thursday, 19 December 2019

Alice Castle #interview #writerslife

Alice Castle shares her writing life in this interview.

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
I write in two specific genres, cosy crime and domestic noir psychological thrillers.

What made you choose that genre?
They’re my favourite genres! I tried to write lovely upbeat romantic comedies but always got to the point where I wanted to kill my characters, so…

How long does it take you to write a book?
It varies, some are definitely harder than others. The Perfect Widow, my debut psychological thriller with HQDigital, took two years off and on, but The Slayings in Sydenham took four months.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I am very disciplined – I have to be or nothing would get done at all. So I sit down every morning and write until I have at least a thousand words down. I have various rituals I go through first, clearing my emails, fiddling around and putting off the evil hour, but I make myself get on with it eventually. Some days they might not be great words but they do get done. I always try to set myself achievable goals, there’s nothing more demoralising than failing to meet a target.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
Characters in my books are always eating cakes and chocolates, particularly Brownies, but I never touch sugar.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
The first book I had published took me ages to write and wasn’t published until I was 47. Things have speeded up since then!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read books! I tend not to read very much when I’m in a big writing phase so it’s lovely to get back to my favourite authors when I’ve finished a novel.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Writing is such a love/hate battle and that’s surprising. People expect me to love it, but it’s actually a job, with all the ups and downs that go with work – some parts are really wonderful but others, like editing, are a slog.

How many books have you written?
I’ve had nine books published and just finished writing the tenth. I’m going to start number eleven in the next few weeks.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?
I’ve just Googled myself – annoyingly an insurance company comes up first!

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to write books.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
I have about three semi-finished early efforts at whodunits but they are all now on obsolete PCs, and at least one is lost in Belgium. I also have 60k of a rather dire chicklit novel knocking around somewhere. I’m not sure any of them will ever see the light of day! I look on them as my apprenticeship as a writer.

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a feature writer on national newspapers including the Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Alice writes psychological thrillers for HQDigital under the name A.M. Castle. The first, The Perfect Widow, was published in November 2019. She also writes the Death in Dulwich cozy crime series for Darkstroke/Crooked Cat as Alice Castle. The seventh in the series, The Slayings in Sydenham, came out in December 2019.

Alice loves talking to readers, find her on Twitter @AliceMCastle, or her website She lives in south east London and has two children and two cats.

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