Today I’m thrilled to have Mel Sherratt pop by and answer some questions about her new psychological thriller She Did It, which is published tomorrow and it’s a book I would highly recommend. So without further ado here’s my interview with the awesome Mel Sherratt……
Hi Mel and welcome back to the book review cafe I’m thrilled to have you here, and can I just say how much I enjoyed She Did It.
For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book She Did It can you provide us with an introduction.
Hi Lorraine – great to be back. Thanks for having me. I write novels that take you to the heart of the crime. I write psychological suspense, and crime dramas – fiction with a punch.
She Did It is my eleventh crime book, but my second straight psychological thriller. In a nutshell, it’s about two women – one is a murderer and the other one knows. It’s about whose blames who.
Where did the idea for She Did It come from?
I had an idea back in 2014 but was already contracted to write other books so it had to go on the backburner for a while. It started off around the idea of two couples – one of the four is murdered and the other three are all lying to cover everything up. From this it became two women. I do have a strong urge to write that first idea now though.
What was the hardest part of writing She Did It?
It’s the same with every book. When I am drafting out a book, I want to be editing and when I am editing, I want to be working on something new. It’s all hard work – I procrastinate terribly at times. I just have to sit down and do it. There is something great about getting to end of that first messy draft though.
Oh, actually there is a hard part – trying to keep everything in my head, say, when I am 60% through a rewrite and can’t remember everything I have changed.
In She Did It you mention book bloggers and social media. How important do you think both are for authors?
For me personally, having been a book blogger for four years before being published, I think they are a crucial part of the industry. Book bloggers are so passionate and give up their free time for no more than their love of books. They share their own work, as well as their fellow bloggers, and push awareness about a book around publication time, and afterwards too. I’ve had some fantastic reviews from lots of them. I love the crowd of book bloggers I know and have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of them too.
Why did you decide to write a psychological thriller, rather than “grit lit”?
As I’ve now written fourteen books, my writing style has inevitably changed as I’ve grown. I really enjoyed writing Watching over You – it’s my most controversial book – and for a long time, I wanted to write something different again. One of the characters in She Did It, Esther, wouldn’t leave me alone. When I finally got the chance to sit down and write, her story poured out of me.
I also wanted to write something that was based in a place where most people would know (it’s set in London.) Don’t worry, though, as my love of grit lit will never go. I have the first in a new police procedural series coming out next year. It’s set in my hometown of Stoke-on-Trent and has a serial killer in it. So, there will be plenty of the dark stuff.
Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?
Only that I have to have new notepad for each book. It’s more about stationery porn really. I can’t walk past a stationer’s without going in and buying at least one notepad. I have a lot of them that I will never use as they are too nice to spoil! (They aren’t really.) One can never have enough notepads, I say.
Have you always wanted to be an author, and when did you first realise you wanted to write?
Yes, for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write books. I moved house last year and my mum’s best friend came to see us and as I showed her my office, she said she remembered when I was 9 and she had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said an author then. It took me a fair few years to realize my childhood dream!
Do you write an outline before you start writing?
Yes, I write a brief story arc for each main character, and then I marry them all together and start writing. I write a very quick and dirty draft (I call it draft zero) of around 50,000 words to get to know the story and the characters and then I do several more drafts to add words, fill in the gaps etc. Things always evolve and the middle might change, but the beginning and endings tend to stay pretty much the same.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Gosh, writing gritty realism gets me a lot of poor reviews. I am used to them now, and think of them as only one person’s point of view. I have over 2000 reviews on Amazon – 85% are 5 star and 4 star but it’s the one star vindictive ones that get to me, especially when a new book goes out. When The Girls Next Door was published last year, one reader who had the book for free gave me a one star on publication day because she hadn’t liked it. It was like someone blowing candles out on my birthday cake! I know I can’t please all of the people all of the time, so now I let it ride over me.
My best compliment is when a reader says they don’t want the book to end as there will be a wait for my next one, and also that they can see it as a TV program as my characters seems so real. That’s awesome for me.
Can you describe yourself in five words?
Sincere, sensitive, driven, friendly, Northerner.
Peach schnapps and vodka.
Kefalos, Kos. My home from home, I’ve been there so many times.
Misery, Stephen King.
Thank you Mel for answering my questions and good luck with She Did It, although not that you need it I’m sure it’s going to do really well.
About the author
My novels take you to the heart of the crime. I write police procedurals, psychological suspense and crime dramas – fiction with a punch. Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014, my inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes.
Since 2012, all ten of my crime novels have been bestsellers, each one climbing into the kindle UK top 20 and I’ve had several number ones. I’ve also had numerous Kindle All-star awards, for best read author and best titles.
DETECTIVE EDEN BERRISFORD works in a community intelligence team and helps to gather information and intel for investigations. THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR is the first book, followed by DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU.
TAUNTING THE DEAD is part police procedural/part psychological thriller. It was a standalone for two years but I have now written two more books with Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton as a main character to create a trilogy. FOLLOW THE LEADER is book two and ONLY THE BRAVE is book three.
THE ESTATE SERIES are a mix of psychological suspense and family life with a sprinkling of grit and a dash of menace – where drama meets crime. There are four at the moment, available individually or you can read the first three as a box set. WRITTEN IN THE SCARS, is the latest in the series to be published.
WATCHING OVER YOU is a standalone psychological thriller. It’s dark in places, light in places, disturbing in places too – where obsession and friendship turn into murder.
I also write women’s fiction under the pen name of Marcie Steele. Stirred with Love, The Little Market Stall of Hope and Heartbreak and The Second Chance Shoe Shop are out now.
I live in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with my husband and terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer) and make liberal use of my hometown as a backdrop for some of my books. You can find out more at my website http://www.melsherratt.co.uk or I’m on Twitter at @writermels
Work colleague. Friend. Killer.
A successful businesswoman, Tamara enjoys her champagne lifestyle to the full. At least, that is the front she displays to the world. As well as being lonely, she’s running out of money. A promising new member of staff brings the injection of fresh blood needed to win the contract that will turn things around.
Working for Tamara is a perfect ruse for Esther. But, along with fake references and qualifications, she also has a plan for revenge.
Sensing Tamara’s vulnerability, Esther uses their acquaintance as a way of getting close to someone who hurt her in the past.
Tamara is keeping things secret. Esther has a dark side she is trying to hide. For both of them, lying is a habit.
But when mistakes begin to catch up with Esther, and people start dying, Tamara realises she’s chosen the wrong person to trust as a friend.
I’m a huge fan of Mel Sherratt’s and love her style of writing, She Did It is very much a psychological thriller and errs away from the “grit lit” I’m used to reading by this author, but OMG I’m not going to beat about the bush and it’s going to sound cliched but this is definitely her best book yet. She Did It has all the elements I look for in a psychological thriller, unreliable characters, a plot that messes with the head, and a constant sense of intrigue and malice that keeps the reader on their toes.
From the beginning I became very suspicious of the two main characters Tamara and Esther, different as chalk and cheese they come together to launch and promote a novel for Dulston publishing. It soon becomes apparent Esther is using the work as a ploy to get close to someone who hurt her in the past. On first appearances both women appear vulnerable and fragile, their friendship appears to thrive, unfortunately it’s a friendship based on lies and manipulation, never a good thing in my opinion. Whilst reading She Did It I couldn’t help but thinking there was something sinister a foot and I questioned which of the two women were the more reliable, although at time I must admit I was convinced neither were to be trusted.
Like any good psychological thriller this isn’t a fast paced read, instead the author spends the time enticing the reader with her unreliable characters and slow revealing plot, I found myself constantly wondering where the plot was leading but Mel Sherratt plays her cards close to her chest and reveals just enough to maintain the suspense throughout this gripping book. She Did it is a tale of lies, deceit and misdirection, a constant sense of foreboding makes this an impossible book to put down. Would I recommend this book? You bet I would and I’m already waiting for Mel Sherratt’s next book with baited breath.
Print Length: 162 pages
Publisher: Blood Red Books (19 Sept. 2017)