Denise Mina is a writer from Glasgow, Scotland, well-known for her series of crime novels including the Garnethill trilogy featuring Maureen O'Donnell, the Paddy Meehan series and the Alex Morrow series. She also writes graphic novels, short stories and plays.
Denise's latest book is The Less Dead which is published by Harvill Secker and is also available through Suffolk Libraries.
- Who were your literary heroes as you were growing up and when did you first realise that you wanted to write?
I didn't read when I was a child. It took a really long time for me to learn how to read because we moved around a lot, lived in France and Holland and Norway, so we weren't always at English speaking schools. As I got older my heroes were Harper Lee and Orwell, Zola and Balzac.
I remember being nineteen, reading Dickens' Tale of Two Cities in bed in a damp bedsit in south London, heart racing, hearing the pigeons coo under the eves and thinking writing would be an amazing thing to do with your life. I hardly dared hope. I thought you'd have to be male and born in 1832 to be a writer.
- You have been a published author since the 1990s. How has the crime genre changed since you started out? Do you feel more pressure now with social media and everyone instantly expressing an opinion?
Crime is taken much more seriously than it used to be. I think the standard is amazing as well, a lot of people who would have written literary fiction write crime now. Its great.
It does feel more public but I don't read loads of reviews, the first few are so uncomfortable and finding out what people hate or love can shape and blunt your work. Also, to be honest, I don't necessarily care what everyone in the world thinks.
- Do you enjoy the research phase of the writing process? The Long Drop for example was factually based so presumably that required more research?
I LOVE doing research. It's delicious getting maps of an area, reading old newspapers to get the favour of the time or find out specifics, imagining another world.
- Your latest book is The Less Dead. can you give us a flavour of it?
A GP goes to an adoption agency to meet her birth family and finds that her birth mother was a murdered street sex worker in Glasgow in the 1980s. It's based on a string of murders that happen in Glasgow during the heroin epidemic and looks at why some victims matter more than others.
- Is there anything you can share about your latest project?
It's a follow up to Conviction, features Fin and Anna/ Sophie and proof of the crucifixion of Christ.
- I've just finished watching your Sky Arts Boswell/Johnson programmes you made with Frank Skinner. Were they as much fun to make as they looked and will there be any more travels in future?
We had an absolute hoot making that. The whole team was just great and I think I ate my body weight in scampi #LifeGoal. We're talking about doing another series so we'll see.
- Can you recommend one book that people really should read and why?
I always recommend the last book I read and loved. The Maamtrasna Murders : Language, Life and Death in Nineteeth Century Ireland by Margaret Kelleher is brilliant.
- Do you have a message for your many readers in Suffolk?
I'm coming to yours Friday and will be staying until Monday at 10am - keep them on their toes.
Can you tell us one thing about yourself that your readers may not know?
I can only do one stitch in crochet but in the last decade I have used it to make twenty three lumpy blankets.