Denise Mina

Timing is everything. Denise Mina’s DECEPTION was reviewed in the Sunday NYTBR by Marilyn Stasio.

Hi Denise and welcome to Collected Miscellany. Please tell us whatever you’d like to share about your background.

I left school early and worked as an auxiliary nurse. I got into law school and followed my degree by studying for a PhD in mental illness in female offenders. I never submitted but dragged it out for years, teaching criminal law and criminology, watching a lot of day time TV and living in a big ramshackle flat with a lot of guys who wore glasses and listened to indi music. I wrote my first novel, Garnethill, when I was supposed to be researching my PhD. Lucky for me it was published and I’ve never had to get a proper job since.

Was it enjoyable writing DECEPTION?

It was a joy to write. I had to spend a lot of thinking time working out the plot but once that was sorted out it just flowed. Of all my novels it was the most fun to do.

Lachlan is a wonderful character. How did you decide to write it in the first person?

I wanted a complete change from my previous books which were third person. First person is so immediate in comparison it almost makes up for all the limitations it imposes on plot and structure. Less enjoyably, you tend to give away far too much about yourself when you write in first person.

Are you put through the editing process twice? Once for UK, once for the US?

Yeah, the US edit usually involves changing words which have double meaning in the US, so that characters don’t keep going outside for a fag or get bewilderingly embarrassed because someone has seen their pants.

Who do you enjoy reading?

I love Lawrence Block, who always cleans my eye after a convoluted writer. I like all the Scottish Tartan noir writers, Rankin, McDermid, Welsh and Brookmyre. My all time favourite writer is Mikhail Bulgakov. He’s so good I can’t even workout what to steal or how he did that.

How do feel when you see your work reviewed? It’s such a flawed process; any thoughts on reviewing in general?

I think anything is okay as long as it is a genuine opinion. I hate reviews, good or bad, where it’s obvious there’s an ulterior motive in the review like professional envy or wanting to affiliate themselves with the writer. I don’t think I’ve had any like that. I don’t know whether to be sad about that or not.

Do you attend writers’ conferences or join author panels?

Yeah, I just got back from Harrogate, the major crime writer festival in the UK and I‘ve been on at the Edinburgh festival twice this week. I keep meaning to make Bouchercon, the mother of them all, but things keep getting in the way.

Any plans to be in North America?

I’m a -comin’, baby. I’m going to be there September 2004 , the 12th to the 18th, travelling around doing readings, drawing unwarranted attention to myself. I’m coming to NY, Houston, Austin, Phoenix and LA.

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on now?

I’ve just finished ‘The Field of Blood’ which is the first in a series of six books about a crime journalist Paddy Meehan. The books fit together into a biography of her life because she dies at the end. The first book is set in 1981 in Glasgow and is due out next year.

There you have it. Thanks Denise. We’ll try and have a follow-up after she completes her US tour.