Friday, 1 July 2011

Actress & crime writer Linda Regan talks about strippers, G-strings - and fear of the dark!

Why did you become a writer?

I became a writer because I couldn’t stop writing. As a child I wrote a secret diary, and then short stories, and then gradually a novel evolved. That didn’t get published though, and hardly surprising; it was dreadful. None of my early attempts got published, but when you can’t stop writing, and you keep on doing it, and then sooner or later something happens - like you teach yourself to write and then a publisher wants to publish you. 

What inspired you to write Passion Killers?

I was inspired to write Passion Killers because my father worked in strip clubs; he was a comic. As a child, I used to sit backstage. I was fascinated by these ladies wearing absolutely nothing except bright red lipstick (I think that’s why I used bright red g-strings in the murders). I was intrigued by the bond they shared, and how they would stick together if a man hassled one of them. Personally, I enjoy women’s company. I love going out with my girlfriends for a fun night without our husbands. I still see all the girls I went to school with; I couldn’t live without their support in my life.  I wanted to write a book about that friendship and trust between women, and of course as murder is my subject - along with sex- a murder in a strip-club evolved. 

There’s no denying that Passion Killers has some pretty X-rated scenes in it – what are the challenges of writing sex scenes?

I think you either write violence and sex, or you don’t. I don’t have barriers and I don’t think, oh this is a sex scene, I just think this is what happens now, and this is how the character feels and out comes the sex and violence. I suppose I dig into my subconscious and go for it. That’s partly to do with my acting training too, which brings us onto your next question…

Both Behind You and and Passion Killers are set (at least partly) in the world of theatre and television. How does your experience as an actress influence your writing?

Personally, I believe everything we know and have done in our lives affects our writing. Certainly my experience as an actress has an enormous effect on my writing. I grew up in show-business. I have worked extensively in film and television and everyone says my books are very filmic. So I think that has to be the answer. As an actress, I love to exaggerate my imagination - and that spills over into my writing.

What is your routine when you’re writing? Take us through a typical day.

I have no typical day - except I panic a lot, and that happens every day. I spend hours sharpening pencils and tidying paper work and wondering if I’ll ever write another word; then I panic again and write like a lunatic. I’m like that as an actress too - I get sick with nerves before I have to go on stage, and wonder why I do it, and then after I come off stage I am so glad I did.

“Behind You” and “Passion Killers” have already been published in eBook format, and “Dead Like Her” is coming out next month. What do you think of the digital revolution in publishing?

I think the digital revolution is great. We can take more books on holidays, and train journeys because of it, and leave more room in our case for shoes!

What advice do you have for someone who wants to try their hand at writing crime fiction?

If you want to write crime fiction, then my advice is to write. Just go for it. Everyone starts somewhere, so don’t let anyone put you off, just write.

Is there anything that your readers would be surprised to know about you?

I’m sure there are loads of things my readers would be surprised to know about me. I think the most interesting bit, as a crime writer is…..I am totally terrified of the dark! I guess that’s why I write crime. I write about everything that I am afraid of - then I feel it has been exorcised, until the dark creeps in the next day…….and then I have to start writing about what I’m afraid of again!

What are you working on now?

I am working on a new book. I have one called Brotherhood of Blades out next. That one is set on a high rise estate where a young boy wants to leave the world of gang-crime behind him and become a street-dancer…but he witnesses a murder and finds he has to make major choices, and a lot is at stake… including the life of the only person who has ever really loved him. And then I am working on the sequel to that, which will be out in 2012.

"Passion Killers" by Linda Regan was published in eBook format on June 30th.

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