Also today, I’ve got a Meet the Author interview for you of course! I’m delighted to be chatting with Margaret Kirk about Highland settings, ghosts, being a scardey-cat, her most recent book What Lies Buried & more….
Crime (police procedural)
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
I’ve always done a little bit – I wrote a terrible play about murder and mayhem in ancient Egypt when I was ten! – but I only really started thinking about writing with the hope of being published about five years ago. I wrote a few short stories which did quite well, then my big break came when I won the Good Housekeeping First Novel Competition in 2016 with Shadow Man.
I knew my main character’s backstory right away, and I knew he lived and worked in Inverness, my home town, so really it’s the Highland setting itself that gives me ideas. We have so many amazing locations on our doorstep, it’s really not hard to imagine all sorts of stories taking place up here!
How many books have you written and published?
Three written, two published. The third in the DI Lukas Mahler series, In The Blood, was due to come out in October, but the virus scuppered that. So it will be published by Orion in April 2021. And I’ve just started a new series – not a police procedural, this time, with a female protagonist, which I’m very excited about.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Too long! Honestly, it varies – I’m not a fast writer, and I edit as I go, so it could be anything from six months to a year. I’m very much in awe of people who can do it faster than that.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
An Egyptologist! I was a geeky child, fascinated by all sorts of history, and ancient Egypt in particular. Never a writer, strangely – I suppose I never thought it was an actual job, at least not one normal people did. (Which may actually be true, now I come to think of it … 😉)
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)
Have to admit, the thought of time travel fascinates me. Being a scaredy-cat, I’d have to be fairly sure I couldn’t come to any harm, so I’d have to be encased in some sort of protective bubble so I could observe but not be seen, I think. But I’d love to go back and see, not necessarily big moments in history, but how people like my great-grandparents lived for example. They were crofters in Sutherland, and I think it would be pretty humbling to see just how hard their lives were back then
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Hmm. I saw a ghost – yes, really! I was five when my great-grandmother died, and my mother and grandmother were clearing out her house. I got bored, wandered out into the hall … and saw her standing at the top of the stairs.
What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
Rebecca. So atmospheric, beautifully set … and the enduringly creepy Mrs Danvers. Fantastic!
If you were a genie, what wish would you refuse to grant and why?
To live forever. Why be so greedy? Live your life well, and be content with that.
Do you feel it’s more important to have a) strong characters b) a mind-blowing plot or c) amazing settings?
All three is the holy grail of writers, isn’t it? But setting is very important to me, and I do think character drives plot. I’d be hard pushed to recall specifics of Ian Rankin’s Rebus books, for example, but a great character like that is the glue that holds the series together.
What is the funniest typo you have ever written?
It wasn’t my typo, but I was taking part in an online book event which used subtitles. And was disturbed to see my main character’s first name, Lukas, had been transcribed as ‘Mucus’. Slightly went off him for a while after that
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
THE BRILLIANTLY COMPELLING SECOND NOVEL IN THE DI LUKAS MAHLER SERIES
A missing child. A seventy-year-old murder. And a killer who’s still on the loose.
Ten year-old Erin is missing; taken in broad daylight during a friend’s birthday party. With no witnesses and no leads, DI Lukas Mahler races against time to find her. But is it already too late for Erin – and will her abductor stop at one stolen child?
And the discovery of human remains on a construction site near Inverness confronts Mahler’s team with a cold case from the 1940s. Was Aeneas Grant’s murder linked to a nearby POW camp, or is there an even darker story to be uncovered?
With his team stretched to the limit, Mahler’s hunt for Erin’s abductor takes him from Inverness to the Lake District. And decades-old family secrets link both casesin a shocking final twist.
What Lies Buried, the second book in the DI Lukas Mahler series, is available from all good bookshops, as they say (so do support an independent bookshop, if you can). And of course on Amazon.
final words from chelle…
Thanks so much Margaret for coming over to talk to us. I have to say your series sounds fantastic, and I love a good crime novel with an amazing setting! I’m actually jealous that you saw a ghost! Did your Mother & Grandmother believe you? Travelling back in time would be fascinating, although like you, I’d definitely want some assurance that I’d be invisible and safe! And finally your new series sounds intriguing – I look forward to hearing more about it.
If you have any questions or comments for Margaret, then make sure you get in touch. Now go and have a wonderful Saturday!
See you tomorrow lovelies!