Kimberley Chambers is a British crime writer known as ‘The Queen of Gangland Crime Fiction’. Kimberley is the author of 13 books. Her latest is Life of Crime.
1. Who were your literary influences as you were growing up?
I was a mad Enid Blyton fan as a child. I read the Famous Five and the Land of the Faraway Tree over and over again.
After that, I didn’t read at all until my later teenage years. It was Jackie Collins who got me back into reading. I loved her Lucky Chances series. I remember being engrossed by them throughout a summer holiday.
Jilly Cooper was my next inspiration. I was totally addicted to Riders, Rivals and Polo. Then Martina Cole came out and I loved her early books. I was also a big fan of Lesley Pearse and Mandasue Heller.
2. You had an unusual path to becoming a bestselling author. What do you remember of that time?
I remember that when I got to chapter 7 of my first book, Billie Jo, I felt that I had found my vocation in life. I was mini-cabbing nights at the time, so I decided to go part-time and work extra hours at the weekend to give me more time to write during the week.
I will never forget sending off the first three chapters to agents. Within 24 hours one rang me up, and more followed.
3. Your latest book is Life of Crime. Can you tell us a little about it?
Life of Crime starts when two teenagers meet at a market. The main character, Jason Rampling, is a bit of a ladies’ man and wheeler-dealer. He’s come from a tough background on the Mardyke Estate, and helps to feed and raise his younger siblings, as his mother is a drunk, whereas Melissa has come from a far more privileged background – her father has money.
Both Melissa and Jason have young children, therefore they bond early on. It follows their relationship but, as usual, nothing tends to run smoothly in my books, and it all goes Pete Tong.
4. I read somewhere that you have a police contact to help with some of the details in your books. How does that relationship work?
It’s a strange relationship – the reason being, the officer in question smashed my door down many years ago! That’s how we met.
He now thoroughly enjoys my books, and is thrilled with the way I turned my life around. I’m now good friends with him and his family, and he’s always on the end of the phone for any police-related questions I need answering.
5. Is there anything you can tell us about your latest ‘work in progress’?
I’ve just finished my latest book. I’m so excited about it, I feel it’s very fresh. It centres around two teenagers who meet in a children’s home. Their paths cross again in later life, when the action begins to unfold.
6. Can you tell us one thing that your readers may not know about you?
I try to portray a hardened crime-writer image, but I cry my eyes out over every episode of Long Lost Family.
As for animals, don’t get me started – I would literally adopt anything. Sometimes I think I prefer animals to people!
7. What would be your perfect day?
Spurs winning the league on the same day as I reach number 1 on the Sunday Times bestseller chart again!