Ngaio Marsh Awards Blog Tour – CJ Carver Q&A

Hi everyone,

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for the Ngaio Marsh Awards, and I’m super excited to have the lovely CJ Carver answering some questions. Caroline’s book, Spare Me The Truth is up for Best Crime Novel!

The Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel (popularly called the Ngaio) is a literary award presented annually in New Zealand to recognise excellence in crime fiction, mystery, and thriller writing. The Award was established by journalist and crime fiction reviewer Craig Sisterson in 2010, and is named after Dame Ngaio Marsh, one of the four Queens for Crime of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. The Award has traditionally been presented each year in Christchurch, the hometown of Dame Ngaio.

About CJ Carver:

CJ Carver is a half-English, half-kiwi, author living just outside Bath. She lived in Australia for ten years before taking up long-distance rally driving – she has driven London to Saigon, London to Cape Town, and completed 14,500 miles on the Inca Trail. Since then she has written nine novels which have been published in the UK, USA and translated throughout Europe. CJ’s first novel Blood Junction, won the CWA Debut Dagger Award. CJ is a co-founder and one of the first judges for the Women’s World Car of The Year Award.


Spare Me The Truth
THE SPY. In the grip of amnesia, Dan Forrester believes he’s just an ordinary man. Until a stranger approaches him with a startling revelation – and an explosive request . . .

THE COP. Banished from the Met in disgrace, Lucy Davies’ life is falling apart. But when a serial killer strikes in her new provincial posting, might it be her chance of redemption?

THE DAUGHTER. Stunned by her mother’s sudden death, Grace Reavey’s grief is interrupted by a staggering act of blackmail – one that challenges everything she knew about her mother.

Three Strangers. Countless secrets.

One deadly truth.

CJ Carver.jpg

Ngaio Marsh Awards judges comments about Spare Me The Truth

“A fast paced high-end thriller that doesn’t let up from the start. Intriguing characters, twists that keep you guessing and at the heart a complex tale of betrayal and deception. A brilliant read and page-turner.”

“The three main characters, Dan, Dr Grace and Lucy are each unique and intriguing, provided with plausible depth so that they come across as credible. The book has thriller aspects that the author uses quite masterfully and the coming together of the strands is very well done indeed. The author’s writing style suits the fast paced narrative and while reading one increasingly urgently wants to know the secret behind it all.”

“This is one of those un-put-downable crime novels which hook you in from the first pages. Slick, clever and totally engaging.”




Can you tell us a little about yourself, outside of being an author?


I’m an obsessive traveller, not just because I love exploring new places, but I find other people and cultures fascinating.  Since I got a campervan last year, however, I’ve been exploring closer to home – Wales, Suffolk, Scotland, the Jurassic Coast – and have fallen in love with the UK all over again.  I can’t believe I live somewhere so incredibly rich in history or tradition.


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


I’d always kept a diary but It didn’t cross my mind to write anything for publication until I’d returned from a long-distance car rally London to Saigon, and Car magazine asked me to write an article for them.  I went to my local Waterstones and bought a book called “How to write and sell Travel Articles” as I hadn’t a clue how to go about it!  The article was published, and since I enjoyed writing it so much (and the money was pretty good too!) I approached other outlets with my story, which is how I ended up becoming a travel writer.


Where do you get your inspiration from?


Anywhere, everywhere.  At the moment, I’m looking for a storyline for the next Dan Forrester book and am scouring newspapers and magazines, and also personal experiences.  With Spare Me The Truth, it was reading an article by the Telegraph’s science correspondent Richard Gray, that inspired the book.  Gray stated, ‘Researchers have found they can use drugs to wipe away single, specific memories while leaving other memories intact.’  Brilliant! I thought.  A memory-erasing drug!  But when I looked closer it wasn’t quite as clear-cut, but who am I to split hairs when creating a story?


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


Exciting, page-turning thrillers with heart.


What are your favourite and least favourite things about being an author?


I love creating a story.  I love starting a book and watching it take shape, growing in complexity as the characters come alive, the twists and turns that end up coming thick and fast, surprising even myself.


Least favourite?  Hmmm.  I think it’s the copy edit.  It’s picky and feels miniscule, irritating, especially after the broad brush strokes of a sweeping story.


What are you working on right now, and where do you see your writing career five years from now?


I’m working on the final edit of KNOW ME NOW, the third in the Dan Forrester series.  I’ve started writing the fourth, but am also working on finding ideas for a stand-alone story too.  Lots of creative plates are spinning in the air at the moment!


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


Reading is one of my favourite pastimes.  I like nothing more than parking the camper somewhere quiet with a view, and picking up one of my books from my mobile library.  I love thrillers, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Chris Pavone, but I also love real-life adventure stories like “Lost in the Jungle” by Yossi Ghinsberg, a harrowing true story of survival in Bolivia.  Unless I’m in the middle of writing a book, you’ll always find me with my nose buried in one.


Can you tell me your all time favourite book and why, or if you have to, your top five?


Yikes!  How can you do this to me?!  I guess I’d have to say Tracks by Robyn Davidson – a woman’s solo trek across 1700 miles of Australian desert to the sea with just four camels and a dog for company.  She helped inspire me to travel far more adventurously and she writes like a dream.  She’s fantastic.


When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time? What are your non-book hobbies?


Campervanning!  Seriously, I love hitting the road and heading off somewhere new.  It’s exciting as well as inspiring.  I’ve never met so many brilliant people or found so many amazing places and I don’t even have to go abroad.


What’s your favourite holiday destination?


Oooer.  That’s a tricky one.  If I’m after kicking back and relaxing, then it would have to be a beach somewhere delicious like Thailand or Mexico.  Otherwise, I’d head to Scotland and go fishing (I love fishing).


What is your favourite food, and your favourite drink?


Anything with chilli in it.  I love caipirinhas (a Brazilian cocktail of sugar lime and Cachaça) but it’s far too exotic to have daily, so I’ll say a really good glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc.


Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?


I’ve been a farmer, a secretary, a book keeper.  I’ve worked in the KFC’s complaints department, in hospitals, in every kind of office you can imagine, and writing comes out tops.  I get to meet incredible people in the name of research, from Alaskan State Troopers to members of the SAS, and I learn so much fascinating stuff that some days, my mind feels as though it might pop.


Huge thanks to Craig Sisterson for letting me be a part of this blog tour and to CJ Carver for answering my questions!

Make sure to check out these fab blogs for more on the Ngaio Marsh Awards and its finalists:

Blog Tour calendar & logo 2.jpg

3 thoughts on “Ngaio Marsh Awards Blog Tour – CJ Carver Q&A

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.