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Interview with Crime fiction novelist Sophie Hannah

[ Edited ]


Today I'm interviewing Sophie Hannah who's chatting about her 7th in the series

Kind of Cruel (Simon Waterhouse & Charlie Zailer Series #7)  

“Kind, cruel, kind of cruel.” Amber thinks it’s just nonsense, a side effect of being hypnotized for the first time. But when she’s arrested for a brutal murder two hours later, those four words are the key to clearing her name… if only she could remember where she’d seen them.

 Editorial Reviews


Publishers Weekly
Hannah’s addictive seventh psychological thriller featuring husband-and-wife Det. Constable Simon Waterhouse and Det. Sgt. Charlie Zailer (after 2012’s The Other Woman’s House) explores the differences between feelings and memories.

Library Journal

With this seventh psychological crime novel starring Det. Simon Waterhouse and Sgt. Charlie Zailer, Hannah breaks out in hardcover—about time, since she's been winning awards and selling around the world.


Sophie welcome to The Reading Frenzy


Congratulations on your 7th in your Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer novels.
Kind Of Cruel coming to the US in Hardback.
Tell us a little about it please.

Thank you!

Well, this is how a reader-reviewer described it: 'Amber suffers from severe insomnia after the death of her friend in an arson attack two years earlier which landed her as guardian of her two children. She finally visits a hypnotherapist finds herself saying the words 'Kind, Cruel, Kind of Cruel' for no reason she can think of.  Where do the words come from?  Amber accosts a woman she saw writing just before her (Amber's) appointment, and asks her if she might have seen the words in her notebook - unfortunately, this woman happens to be police officer Charlie Zailer and Amber suddenly finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation. The words 'Kind, Cruel, Kind of Cruel' - imprinted on a piece of white paper - are the only clue that the police have in the investigation of another murder, that of primary school teacher Kat Allen. However, these things aren't the only ones worrying Amber: she periodically wonders why her sister-in-law and her family disappeared on Christmas Day in 2003 before returning the next day without a word.'


That's a pretty accurate description of the initial plot hook....and of course it gets more twisty and mysterious from that point onwards until the solution is revealed! And nothing is as it seems...


Sophie, two of your novels The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives have been adapted for television and have appeared on ITV1. Congratulations!
Can that be seen in the US?

Not yet, but I think it will be available in US soon.  I know there were plans in that direction, and it's already been broadcast in several European countries, and in Australia.


Sophie you write not only crime fiction but poetry, children’s books and non-crime fiction too.
Do you have a favorite genre to write?

Poetry and Crime Fiction are my two favourites.


What are you working on now?

My new psychological thriller, The Telling Error: 

Stuck in a traffic jam on her way to deliver her son’s forgotten sports kit to school, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It’s definitely him, the same police officer; he’s stopping all the cars on Elmhirst Road one by one, talking to every driver. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and takes a long and inconvenient detour, praying he won’t notice her panicky escape.

He doesn’t, but a CCTV camera does, as Nicki finds out when detectives pull her in for questioning the next day in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road.

Nicki can’t answer any of the baffling questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why a killer might sharpen nine knives at the murder scene, then use two blunt ones to kill in a way that involves no stabbing or spilling of blood. She doesn’t know what ‘HE IS NO LESS DEAD’ means, or why the murderer painted it on the wall of Blundy’s study. And she can’t explain her desire to avoid Elmhirst Road on the day in question without revealing the secret that could ruin her life. Because, although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent…


I know a lot of women who love crime fiction.
Why do you think women enjoy this genre?

I think men love it too - because it's the best genre! The combination of suspense, a good solid plot, characters that you need to get to know in order to solve the mystery... The crime novel is the perfect formal fusion of structure and emotion/psychology.


Sophie tell your “how I became a writer” story.

I've always written, since I was about five years old! It was my main hobby - well, my only hobby, really.  I always wrote stories and poems instead of doing my school and college work, and then when I left university and became a secretary, I wrote novels and poetry instead of doing my secretarial work.  (My bosses found me very annoying!) Eventually I had enough poems for a book, and I was lucky - I got a publisher quite easily.  And then I was offered a writer-in-residence job at Trinity College, Cambridge, which was amazing, and gave me the time to write my first novel. I published three novels that were slightly eccentric black comedy-romances and didn't sell hardly at all. Then I decided to try and write the kind of novel I most loved to read: a crime novel.  The first one I wrote, Little Face, was my breakthrough book and became a word-of-mouth bestseller, so I feel incredibly lucky!


Sophie your bio states that you are currently a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College.
In the US we call our College teachers professors. Can you enlighten my US readers as to how a Fellow Commoner compares to a professor?

I'm not a teacher of any kind - my fellowship is purely honorary! I sponsor Lucy Cavendish's Fiction Prize, and work there sometimes, and have lunch there, but I don't have any formal responsibilities.


You have a very busy life with your teaching, family and writing.
Do you write at certain times of the day/week?

My pattern changes with every book.  The last book I wrote mainly in the middle of the night, but the one before I wrote between 1 pm and 7 pm most days.  I like to vary my routine. The only constant is that I seem to get busier, and busier, and busier...


Do you ever get on this side of the pond to have any signing or author events?

Yes, I'm touring in America in August - the dates are on my website:  I tour in the US every year, and I love it!


Sophie thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.
Good luck with the latest novel!!

Thank you!


Connect with Sophie - Website - Facebook - Twitter


be sure and visit my blog for a very special something