First Monday Crime Spotlight on: Julia Crouch

Hello fellow crime lovers,

It’s nearly time for the monthly First Monday Crime event run by Goldsboro Books, and I get to share my Q&A with one of the panelists, Julia Crouch. You can catch that further down in the post.

Here’s all of the information on website for the panelists for the forthcoming First Monday Crime event taking place on March 6th:

The brilliant Erin Kelly will be telling us all about her belter of a novel He Said/She Said and then former RSPCA officer Daniel Cole – who has well and truly let the dogs out with Ragdoll, a novel so enticing it’s being published in 35 countries – will be revealing all. Did we mention the wonderful Julia Crouch and her chilling new novel: Her Husband’s Lover? She’ll be with us and you won’t want to miss her, nor MJ Arlidge who will be in one of our hot seats, talking about Hide and Seek – the sixth in the awesome DI Helen Grace series. It’s going to be a tough job to keep that lot in line but Barry Forshaw – aka “Mister Noir” – will be making sure our fabulous four sparkle and entertain.

First Monday Crime will be taking place in Browns – The Judges Court (82-84 St Martins Lane London, WC2n 4AG United Kingdom) from 6.30-7.30pm.

Buy your First Monday Crime tickets by clicking HERE!

About Julia Crouch:

Julia Crouch grew up in Cambridge and studied Drama at Bristol University. She spent ten years working as a theatre director and playwright, then, after a spell of teaching, she somehow became a successful graphic and website designer, a career she followed for another decade while raising her three children. An MA in sequential illustration re-awoke her love of narrative and a couple of Open University creative writing courses brought it to the fore.

Cuckoo, her first novel, emerged as a very rough draft during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2008. A year’s editing got it ready for submission to an agent and within a couple of months she had a book deal with Headline and had given up the day job.

Every Vow You Break, her second novel, was published in March 2012, Tarnished, her third, came out in 2013, followed by Every Vow You Break in 2014 and Her Husband’s Lover in 2017. She is also published in Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Brazil and China.

Unable to find a sub-genre of crime writing that neatly described her work, she came up with the term Domestic Noir, which is now widely accepted as the label for one of the most popular crime genres today. She has even written a foreword to a book of academic essays on the subject.

She works in a shed at the bottom of the Brighton house she shares with her husband, the actor and playwright Tim Crouch, their three children, two cats called Keith and Sandra, and about twelve guitars (you can find #Keith, who has his own hashtag, on twitter). She is a self-confessed geek and fights a daily battle to resist tinkering with the code on her website, which can be found at http://www.juliacrouch.co.uk.

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Q&A with Julia Crouch:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Brighton with my husband and seventeen-year-old son, Joey. Owen, our twenty-five-year-old musician son spends about half the week with us, and Nel, our twenty-seven-year-old theatre director daughter lives in Cambridge (which is, weirdly, where I grew up). We have two cats – Keith and Sandra – who provide comfort to me as my nest empties. I have a degree in Drama and an MA in Sequential Illustration. I was once on MasterChef.

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I always rather fancied the idea of being a writer, but I didn’t really think I had it in me to actually write. In my twenties I wrote plays, but these were mostly devised in rehearsal with actors – I was more a director/editor, really. When I had the children, I retrained and worked as a graphic/website designer for many years, until my youngest started school and I had a bit more free time. Just out of interest, I took on a couple of OU creative writing courses, and it just sort of grew from there. When I got my first book deal, I was the first published novelist I knew.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

It takes a while! I’ve always got my eyes and ears open for odd stories, events, characters and places. So many details go into a novel – everything is useful. When I’m getting more specific about pinning a project down, I start with a ‘what if?’ question, then turn it over for a while. If I decide it has legs, a setting and characters will emerge, and then I’ll start thinking the story over

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

Dark, twisted and twisting, with a strong sense of place.

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Most definitely. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook are great at getting stuff out there; if you are one of those writers who refuse to engage, then you will lose out. But you won’t get far if you only use the platforms to sell your books. People suss that one out very quickly and turn off. The key is to engage and connect with others, let your personality out a bit. Loads of writers do this very well – we sit on our own most of the time, and words are our chosen form of communication, so it kind of follows. Social media can also be a great source of support. I’m a member of a couple of closed writers’ groups, where we can let off steam, share concerns, knowledge, contacts and networks. Of course, it’s entirely possible to spend far too much time on the online engaging and connecting, so I do employ an internet blocker when I need to actually get some proper work done.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Writing

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Writing

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

I don’t want to sound churlish, but I truly believe in just concentrating on making the book I’m working on the best it possibly can be. Who knows what the future holds? If I can still be making a reasonable living from writing, I’ll be really, really happy. Of course, a massive blockbuster and a Hollywood movie wouldn’t go amiss…

What’s next for you?

I’m have several projects in various stages of development: a Young Adult trilogy about a young woman looking for goodness in a fractured world, an international thriller with a kick-ass 45-year-old mother looking for her disappeared grown up son, and two domestic noir novels – one, about a group of friends renovating an old building in Puglia, Italy that may or may not be haunted, the other about an online community network page that gets out of hand and spills over into real life.

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I read all the time. I don’t think you can be any kind of writer unless you do so. Apart from writing, the best thing about being an author is all the free books that are sent to me. I am seriously considering building some more walls in my house because I have run out of shelf space. I love psychological thrillers by people like Erin Kelly, Sabine Durrant, Alex Marwood; modern American novels by people like A M Homes, Anita Shreve, Donna Tartt and Jonathan Franzen. I have read great swathes through the Victorians like the Brontes, Hardy, Dickens and George Eliot

Can you tell me your all-time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

It really depends what mood I’m in, and what I’m thinking about for my current work in progress, but my top five right now are:

The Secret History (Donna Tartt),

Notes on a Scandal (Zoe Heller)

Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

The Prodigal Summer (Barbara Kingsolver)

Station Eleven (Emily St John Mandel

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Loads! Most recently, Lie with Me by Sabine Durrant. I read Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson a long time ago, before I wrote Cuckoo, and I remember feeling really strongly that I wanted to write a book just like it – that was what me really going as a writer, I think.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Reading, cooking, running Brighton Half Marathon next weekend – eek!), walking, mountain biking and yoga. Hanging out with friends and family – my favourite thing is wine and Doritos round the kitchen table with my husband and kids.  I love the cinema and theatre – I go quite a lot because of it being, almost disease-like, in the family.

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

Apart from the above, I love to travel. My husband is a playwright and actor who tours his work all over the world. Due to the children growing up, I increasingly get chances to go with him. Wife on tour is the most fantastic job in the world, particularly as I can combine it with my day job, and write while he is on stage/doing interviews etc.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Greece. If the blockbuster ever happened, I’d buy a little house by the sea on a quiet island and spend as much time there as possible, with everyone coming to visit. I have family there, and my middle son’s girlfriend is Greek, so it’s not an entirely impossible ambition.

Favourite food?

A really good plate of spicy Mexican taquitos including fresh and zingy guacamole. Or, when I need comfort, a really good pizza, ideally eaten in Naples.

Favourite drink?

Our corner shop does this amazing organic Cabernet Sauvignon that tastes like chocolate (we live in Brighton, so corner shops are like that). That, please. Or, before 6pm, my constant companion is a giant Sports Direct mug full of tea. I’m dead classy, me.


About Her Husband’s Lover:

She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start.
Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died.
Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.
But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.
And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.
Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?

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Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch is out now and you can get your copy by clicking HERE!

Huge thanks to Julia Crouch for answering my questions! 🙂

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