When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
Quite late. I’d always read a lot, but assumed I wouldn’t be able to write well enough to satisfy myself. Then my teenage daughter suggested we write a fantasy together, and writing turned out to be huge fun.
How long does it take you to write a book?
In total, my production rate averages at slightly over a year. But I tend to have gaps between books, and the last two took six months each once I started writing. It also depends how busy I am with my day job designing and making jewellery and silver.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I keep a log of how much I write each day, with notes either gloating or excusing low productivity, such as: ‘2 words. But they were good words!’ ‘Minty said gun bit implausible. Removed 1,800 words.’ ‘Discouraged. Got boil. Woe.’
How many crime novels have you written?
My novels tend to straddle genres. You could call Remix a crime novel; it’s a mystery with a bit of romance, and the only murder happens three years before the novel opens. My others are more thrillers with romance. With a bit of science fiction. And one’s post-apocalyptic. Oh look, a squirrel!
I like all my books, and tend to prefer whichever is currently selling best. I have a soft spot for Remix, as it’s such a feel good book, and Ice Diaries because for some reason I found it hard to write – though I enjoyed the struggle – and I don’t think any reader would guess that.
Where do you get your ideas?
All over the place. For instance, my most recent, Wolf by the Ears, was inspired by the death of Boris Berezovsky. Anyone reading up on the surprising number of mysterious Russian deaths in London might well conclude as I did that he was murdered by Putin’s agents, and that our government preferred this not to emerge for reasons of self-interest.
I wrote Replica after breaking my shoulder when biking home in the freezing winter of 2010/2011. Unable to bike or drive to work, I did a lot of walking through icy streets. Trudging unhappily along, I started to wonder what it would be like to be hunted through this hostile London with no home, unable to contact friends for help. That collided with persistent fantasies of having a clone to help me get through my workload.
Who is your favourite character from your own work and why?
I’m drawn to my less immediately likeable characters, maybe because they represent parts of me that don’t often get off the leash. An example is Jeff Pike from Remix, drummer in a mega-successful rock band. His fame and wealth let him get away with being rude and obnoxious and a sexual predator. But he’s fuelled by anger from an abusive childhood, has a hopeless love for the (heterosexual) hero, and is oddly likeable.
Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why?
No one writes believable characters like Jane Austen. Which character to choose is the difficulty…Elizabeth Bennett is the obvious choice, so perceptive and witty, but I’m going to go for my favourite Austen hero, Mr Knightley. It’s not easy to make a conventional, principled character interesting – much easier to write a flawed hero, or a bad boy redeemed by love for the heroine. Jane Austen effortlessly pulls it off with Mr Knightley.
If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why?
Here we run up against my deplorable ignorance of history, plus my ingrained lack of criminality. So…um…
I’d be Ken Perenyi, a self-taught American art forger who lived in London for thirty years. He was investigated in 2003, but never charged, in his opinion because the art world was keen to prevent the exposure of multiple forgeries. The modern art business deserves to be taken advantage of; it’s all about money, and many experts can’t tell the difference between a fake and the real thing.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing notes for a time travelling novel, and hoping it doesn’t totally scramble my brain. I’ve written a short story in this genre, Time Child, and know how confusing it can be. Also, the audio version of Remix is currently being recorded by Anne Day-Jones, and will be available in a couple of months on Audible. I’m excited about this.
I live and work in London - Islington and Hoxton, where my novels are set. I started writing in 2006, have been unable to stop, and have so far written six novels and a collection of short stories. I decided to self-publish in 2010, and have sold 65,000+ books so far.
I make jewellery and silver under my real name, Lexi Dick. I am a liveryman of the Goldsmiths’ Company, and have made pieces for 10 Downing Street, Her Majesty the Queen and Lady Thatcher.