The audio book version of Bad Press, fifth in Maureen Carter's Bev Morriss series, publishes today. She joins us today to talk about what led her from news reporting to crime writing....
Like Matt Snow in Bad Press, I’m an old-school journalist who learned the ‘proper’ way. I cut my cub reporter teeth on a weekly newspaper in my home town, moved south to work on a daily broadsheet then back to the Midlands to join the news team on one of the first commercial radio stations in the UK. (A clue to how long ago that was? The job description was newswoman.) Anyway, I then spent nearly twenty years working in BBC TV newsrooms as reporter, editor, producer and sometime presenter.
Being a reporter, especially with the Beeb, opened countless doors, helped me gain access to all kinds of people from all walks of life. I’ve interviewed everyone from pop stars to princes, prostitutes to police officers plus lots more non-alliterative professionals and personalities.
Of course in news – as in fiction – crime sells. The cliché is true: if it bleeds, it leads. And it led me into a new career writing crime fiction. How so . . .?
I covered more crime stories than I care to remember but a number were impossible to forget. Especially the people involved: the victims, the grieving parents, police officers fighting back tears at a particularly poignant crime scene. I touched on issues that I found fascinating: how society treats the elderly (Dead Old): teenage sex workers (Working Girls); child abduction (Baby Love).
As a TV reporter, I had maybe a minute and a half – that’s just two hundred and forty words – to tell these complex and amazing stories. Some I longed to explore further, venture far below the surface. Is it any wonder I decided to become a full time writer? And the news career undoubtedly helped make me the kind of author I am.
I write spare but visual prose, come up with stories that are topical and fast-paced, create varied and, I hope, credible characters. Oh, and I set a daily word count, never miss a deadline and drink far too much coffee.
As for my reporter in Bad Press, I’ve worked with many a Matt Snow in my time: dogged, persistent, cocky, massively competitive. He’s a hack who acts like a terrier – he never lets go until he has the story. I hope his story holds you captive, too.
Personally, I’m never less than spellbound by the wonderful Clare Corbett whose narration brings all my characters to such vivid vocal life.- Maureen Carter