Today on Love Books Group Blog, I have a natter with Marie Riches. Marnie’s new book The Cover Up is available now in paperback, eBook and audiobook.
How far would you go to protect your empire?
Manchester’s criminal underworld is reeling from the loss of its leader, Paddy O’Brien. In the wake of her husband’s death, Sheila O’Brien takes charge of the city, and for once, she’s doing things her way.
But she hasn’t reckoned with the fearsome Nigel Bancroft, a threat from Birmingham who is determined to conquer Manchester next.
As a power tussle begins, Sheila is determined to keep control of the empire she has won – even if it means she has to die trying…
Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester. She learned her way out of the ghetto, all the way to Cambridge University, where she gained a Masters degree in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser. Previously a children’s author, now, she writes crime and contemporary women’s fiction.
What book first ignited your love of reading?
My mother encouraged me to read from a very young age and I was an avid library-goer. I guess the first books to really capture my imagination were the Enid Blyton books. It’s telling that my favourite collections of her stories were her Mystery of… books and her Adventure of… books. Both series features groups of children who either had crimes to solve or embarked on thrilling adventures. As an adult, I have an abiding love of both crime-fiction and thrillers –, especially of an international nature.
If your current book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
The Cover-Up’s theme song would have to be something by a Manchester band, since it’s set in Manchester and concerned with goings-on on its mean urban streets. Perhaps the Perfect Kiss by New Order, which is a song about friendship and the pain that lies beneath people’s superficial veneers. That, and the mention of a gun in the song seem very apt in light of the latest drama involving the O’Briens, the Bells and the Khans.
Which book have you read more than once?
I’ve read The Silence of the Lambs several times – both for enjoyment and in an analytical way to see how the story was put together. I’ve read the CS Lewis Narnia books many, many times (and have an abiding love of fantasy and children’s fiction). I’d like to re-read The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. I haven’t read that in a long while and it’s one of my favourite ever reads.
Do you plan your writing or go with the flow?
I do both. I start with a synopsis, several pages long, and then I weave a little magic into the remaining 300+ pages!
Do you enjoy the editing process?
No way! I absolutely hate editing with a passion, but I do it with great diligence as I know a good, hard edit will make a novel far, far better. I’m a great believer in killing your darlings. It’s an act of mercy!
If you could what advice would you give your sixteen year old self?
I’d definitely drum into younger me that I should follow my gut instincts more and be less reasonable and unquestioning about being steam-rollered into following other people’s advice and dreams. I’ve ended up taking a very circuitous path to publication because for many years, I felt the pressure was on to hold down a respectable day job. I had the opportunity to become an entertainment lawyer and was persuaded to ditch that by a friend. What a bloody fool! If I’d have had a 20 year long legal career and then turned to fiction writing, at least I’d have made a pile of cash in the interim!!
Do you read your book reviews?
Yes. I thoroughly agree with the good ones and ignore the bad. Often, the most vitriolic reviews are left for a 99p e-book that simply wasn’t to someone’s taste. Who the hell leaves hundreds of words of scathing comment for something that cost less than a tube of toothpaste? Really!
What is your opinion on social media and it’s unique gift of connecting writer and reader instantly?
I do love that I can connect with readers. There’s no point writing without having the aim of your story being read, and to get that feedback directly can be very, very rewarding. My readers are an excellent bunch.
If you could give one literary villain a happier ending, who would you pick and why?
I’d always opt for Hannibal Lecter to clean up his act and rise above his murderous impulses. He’s so intelligent and debonair and of course, he had such a tragic childhood. I want better for him, but he’s his own worst enemy.
If your book could come with a preemptive message for the reader, what would yours say?
Are you ready to postpone judgement and venture into the morally grey zone?
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste, which was creepy, sinister and thoroughly enjoyable. I’m also part-way through the very amusing The Art of Failing by Anthony McGowan and I’ve just started The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday.
Where did you get the inspiration for your current novel?
I got the inspiration for The Cover-Up from things I see around me in my everyday life and stories of gang warfare that I see on the news. Most of all, however, my stories come from my lurid imagination and are informed by feelings I’m experiencing at the time – loss, ambition, regret, desire.
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