Bloody Scotland is almost upon us, and they wanted me to ask founder Lin Anderson a few questions. It feels almost like being asked to hang out with the head teacher… I’ve certainly learned a few new things about Lin, who recently upped her level of scariness by getting a Harley Davidson, which is so cool.
I give you the Boss:
How many books did you write before the one that was your first published book?
One, a drama set in Northern Nigeria entitled Every Secret Thing. It featured a young married couple, who have recently lost their young son and who go to work in the African Bush on an irrigation project to try and escape from their loss and save their marriage.
However before Driftnet, the first of the Rhona books was published, I had already been working on the following two in the series, Torch and Deadly Code.
Best place for inspiration?
A walk in the pinewoods close to home in Carrbridge. Also standing under the shower.
Would you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Perhaps you already do?
I became Lin Anderson instead of Linda Anderson when Driftnet was published. There was another writer called Linda Anderson and it was to avoid confusion. I didn’t like it at first since I’d been avoiding a shortened version of my name forever. It was a little confusing too and the first copy I ever signed of Driftnet, I signed Linda!
What would you never write about?
I don’t have a subject or a list I wouldn’t tackle. I usually write about things that scare me. If you read my openings you’ll see what they are. I find tackling my fears through fiction is a good way of facing up to them.
Through your writing: the most unexpected person you’ve met, or the most unexpected place you’ve ended up in?
When researching Follow the Dead in Stavanger Norway I met Mohammad Habib, a Syrian translator and author who had, with his family been rescued from imprisonment in Syria by ICORN (8 years for writing about human rights). His story was remarkable and informed Follow the Dead.
The other and more recent event was my taking part in the mass ride out of Harley Davidsons at Thunder in the Glens, Aviemore. Sins of the Dead features four Harley Lady riders and the Dunedin Chapter of Harley Davidson helped me extensively with my research. I loved the ride out so much, I purchased a Black Harley Custom 1200.
Which of your characters would you most like to be?
None of them… I put them through hell!
I wouldn’t mind some of their finer qualities though. Rhona’s passion and determination. Chrissy’s humour. McNab’s loyalty. Magnus’s kindness.
Do you think that having a film made of one of your books would be a good or a bad thing?
I’m about to find out with Sins of the Dead, although I’m writing the script so the characters are unlikely to change. I’m a screenwriter as well and am aware the two mediums for telling the same story demand different outcomes. The book will always win in the space you have to give layers to the character. A film tells a story visually and has less time to do it in. And you can’t always pop into someone’s head to learn what they’re thinking. You have to show it.
What is the strangest question you’ve been asked at an event?
How do you get the sex so right?
Do you have any unexpected skills?
Not sure what is regarded as unexpected these days, although when Peter James asked me something similar in a TV interview, I told him I was a wild swimmer, which certainly surprised him!
The Famous Five or Narnia?
Even stevens… Although The Famous Five probably made me want to be a writer.
Who is your most favourite Swede?
Peter Hoeg for writing Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Since then I’ve learned that Scots have over 400 words to describe snow. Who told you that in school?
How do you arrange your books at home? In a Billy? By colour, or alphabetically?
Books on Scottish History all together, the rest higgledy-piggledy.
Which book would you put in the hands of an unwilling eight-year-old boy reader?
Okay I would have to do some research on that. For my son at that age, he liked anything adventurous where children outwit adults, and anything on ‘how things work’.
If you have to choose between reading or writing, which would it be?
Writers must always read, so they go hand in hand, although it’s easier to read than to write, for me anyway.
I will allow the Peter Hoeg comment. At least he’s not from Norway. And, erm, I’d have been interested in Lin’s response to the sex question. Maybe she will share, for those of us who make it to Bloody Scotland next week. It’s on from September 21st for three days. Don’t miss it!