This July, we’re excited to be working with crime writer Caz Frear as our Guest Editor. Her international bestselling novel Sweet Littles Lies thrilled readers everywhere last year and this summer, she’s back with another heart-pounding story fans of the genre will absolutely love: Stone Cold Heart. Get to know more about Caz Frear and stay tuned all month long to find out what books the author loves.
What was the inspiration behind Stone Cold Heart?
I’m not sure there was one lightbulb moment or a particular story that inspired the plot, but I knew that I wanted to write a ‘he said/she said’ type of novel. I love writing about dysfunctional families, and while Sweet Little Lies focused very much on dad-daughter relationships, Stone Cold Heart has a toxic marriage at its heart, and that was so intriguing to explore. I was also genuinely interested in the idea of narcissism in today’s society – that point where ‘normal’ (non-threatening) levels of narcissism tip into criminality and sociopathy.
How did you begin writing thrilling mystery/crime novels?
I must have been quite a dark child because I started reading my mum’s Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell’s at a very early age, however, I was first inspired to write mystery novels, and specifically police procedurals, after picking up my first Lynda La Plante in my mid-to-late teens. It was a long process though. It took me many, many years to get over my huge hang-up about whether it was wise – or even possible – to write a convincing police procedural without one iota of police/judicial experience to my name. It seems ridiculous now, but I was genuinely convinced for a long time that you had to be somehow ‘in the know’ to write within the genre (ex-police, married to a criminal lawyer, etc.) Eventually, after years of stopping and starting various non-mystery projects, I pushed through the self-doubt, contacted a detective who was a friend of a friend, bought myself a copy of the Murder Investigation Manual (yes, this exists on Amazon!) and the rest is history…
What essentials do you make sure to bring with you during book tour/book events?
Everything but the kitchen sink – seriously, I’m not good at traveling light! Books are my main essential though. When you’re on tour and talking about your own novels every day, other people’s stories are your relaxation, your switch-off point. One of the perks of being a published author is that you get sent so many advance copies of great books, and while I’m certainly not complaining, it does mean that you get out of the habit of going into bookstores and selecting your next read. So before going on tour, I always make a point of buying a couple of books that I’ve been meaning to read forever, but never quite got around to.
I also always carry a red lipstick as it gives me confidence. The longer I’m in this game, the less nervous I get about events, but I think anything that gives an author more confidence to share openly with the audience is a good thing. For me, that’s red lipstick – fire-engine red, preferably!