AUTHOR INTERVIEW with BOOK REVIEWER Lucy V Hay
LUCY HAY AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH CRIMINALLY GOOD
Crime Investigator & Author S C Cunningham
1) So, who are you & what have you written?
Hello there, I’m S C Cunningham. The ‘S’ is for ‘Siobhan’ which is pronounced ‘Shevonne’. I know, I know, it’s a crazy spelling, you try growing up with it! I’m British-born of Irish parents from Wicklow, Dublin. In Irish when the letters ‘B’ and ‘H’ are placed together it is pronounced ‘V’. There you go; you learn a new thing every day.
2) Why do you write crime fiction?
I tend to write about the industries I’ve worked in and personal experiences. I find it easier to write what I know. I’ve worked in a few interesting industries; Fashion Modelling, Music, Film, Football, Sports Celebrity Management, Horseracing, Golf, for Charitable Causes and Crime – Major Crime Team, Intel Analyst, Wanted Unit, Absconder Unit, Crime Investigations.
I have a passion for justice, for helping the underdog, for good winning over evil. Mixed in with dash of laughter, sex, thrills, murder mystery and twists and turns, I find the subject makes for interesting entertainment. Something I would like to read, or watch as a movie (The Penance List has been adapted to screenplay).
The seed for The David Trilogy was sown when one day in my 20’s I didn’t follow my gut and ended up crossing paths with a violent serial attacker, who was haunting single girls living in basement flats in London.
I got away unscathed, but I remember looking at the offender and asking why? He was a nice looking, well dressed, clean, smart kind of guy. I looked into his face and wondered what had happened to him to make him so evil.I wanted to know; how, what, where, when, why, who? Ironically these are the questions I now ask Detained Prisoners in interview when working on investigations. I wrote the trilogy to warn that there can be evil lurking around any corner – so learn to trust and follow your gut!
The seed for The Fallen Angel Series was sown when I was about 4yrs old, I was taken by a man, I got away. The following week another little girl was taken, she didn’t. This had a strong effect on me, coming from an Irish Catholic family I used to say my prayers every night asking God for a deal. That if I was a good girl, when I died before I went to heaven could I sit on a cloud for a while, be invisible and get all the bad guys that slipped through his fingers?
My protagonist in the Angel Series had the same deal, when she mysteriously dies aged 30 and she awakes to find a whole load of MI5 type units in the skies, full of those who have asked for the same deal. A quick warning: these guys are no angels, but they get the job done.
So, in answer to your question, I guess I write crime because of my life experiences. And as with real life, my stories have laughter, steamy romance and murder mystery thrown into the thriller mix.
3) What informs your crime writing?
The real life cases mentioned in the previous answer have led to creating my books. And my day to day crime investigation work, which involves working with other agencies (forensics, social services, prisons, crown prosecution services, courts etc.) also helps. I like to study the psychology of people, source what makes them tick and why? I like to protect the innocent from bullies and build people’s confidence, help them shine. I tend to swear a lot, am working on that!
I’ve found that Crime Writing and Crime Investigating are very similar jobs, just with a reverse order of events:
- Writing – creates the characters, builds the storyline, ends with a crime scene and police sirens.
- Investigating – starts with sirens, assesses a crime scene, unravels the storyline and detects the characters.
4) What’s your usual writing routine?
I find writing makes me a little reclusive, mushroom-like. I tend to try and back out of the world and everything that’s going on around me for days before, emptying my over-zealous mind, to fill it again with another world.
On a writing day, I take the dogs for a beach walk, travelling via the back roads to avoid conversations. Am easily drawn into chatting with folk and dog walkers are a lovely friendly bunch.
On the beach I start the process of thinking about scenes for the day’s writing. My work tends to have complicated spaghetti storylines which I need to be on top of – tough on an old bird like me.
I get home, try to do a few minutes on a rowing machine, then set the scene of my writing room; smelly candles, music, good lighting, warmth, quiet, nibbley easy-to-eat food and plenty of drinks. The dogs, exhausted from their walk, sleep at my feet. It’s nice to have another heart beat in the room, writing can be lonely.
I sit at the computer for between 5 to 8 hours, depending how well it’s going, and then log off with a celebratory glass of vino or cheeky gin and tonic.
5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?
That’s easy. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Series. I adore Reacher, such a wonderful character. If I was a bloke I’d love to live his simple lifestyle – no baggage, traveling with just a toothbrush, credit card, great intelligence and the strength of an ox – awesome!
I can’t quite forgive Child for selling out to Tom Cruise – Mr Cruise is lovely am sure, but he’s no Jack Reacher.