My guest this month expresses a willingness to survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis; in fact the tagline on her website is Murder Down To A Tea. Sounds like the perfect lifestyle for a criminal or a novelist; and Rebecca Bradley is the latter, writing the DI Hannah Robbins novels. I’m delighted to welcome Rebecca to my blog this month.
Hello Rebecca and welcome. Let’s start at the very beginning (as Julie Andrews once sang); what is your earliest memory — and how old were you at the time?
This is an interesting question as I read a book earlier this year about memory and about how unreliable it is and yet my earliest memory is quite young and when I’ve asked my mum about it, it is also correct. My sister is three years younger than I am and I remember my mum going into the hospital (this bit can’t be corroborated) and constantly wanting to help my mum with her at bath time and such like. As though she were a new doll. I think I must have been pretty annoying! Three is quite young for a first memory. I don’t have others from that age though. It is spotted.
If you had to escape from a fire, what three things would you take with you?
I’m presuming I’m at home with my family and they can take themselves out.
I’d take the dogs and there are two of them, but I’m going to class them, for this exercise, as one item. And yes, I would be one of those people who would try desperately hard to get the dogs out of the house with me. I work at home on my own all day – alone but for Alfie and Lola, the dogs (Cockapoos). I adore them. So, I’d definitely get them out with me.
My laptop because, not only does it have all my family photographs and work on, but I’d be unable to continue working until I replaced it, so I’d take it with me.
My phone. I don’t know anyone’s phone number by heart other than my own! We have got so lazy since our phones started storing our numbers for us. I really should learn at least a few of the numbers in my phone…
Talking about yourself, how would you finish the sentence “not a lot of people know…”?
…that I would love to get into extreme sports. I once did a tandem skydive which I absolutely loved. The feeling of freefalling through the sky is amazing, and then the peace, the quiet as the parachute goes up. It’s blissful.
But, then children and work took over and now my health won’t allow me to take extreme sports up. So, instead, I curl up with a book and live through the characters!
Where is your favourite place on earth — and why?
Home. Because it’s filled with my favourite people and my two dogs, and I can relax and work and do whatever I want to do. There’s nowhere else like it. If I’ve been away anywhere, then I love that coming home feeling.
If you could change one thing about yourself or your life so far, what would it be?
It would be too easy to say I would change the fact that I have this genetic condition. If I didn’t have it I wouldn’t have retired from my last job and I wouldn’t be writing “full” time. It restricts me in more ways than you can imagine, but I’m not going to say something so obvious, I’m going to be more frivolous, I’d change my height! I’m only 5ft – nothing. Yes, that short. I’d love to know what it feels like to be naturally taller. Plus, I’d look so much slimmer if I were taller!
What would be in your ‘Room 101’?
Rude people. I see absolutely no point in being rude. You can get what you need without being rude. This is a real bugbear of mine. You’d get a lot further in life if you were politer. Being rude doesn’t get you anywhere.
Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends — which would you prefer?
Read a book. I love spending time with friends, but if we’re talking about something that I could do constantly then it would have to be reading. I’ve cut down on how much TV I watch this year so that I can read more.
If you could take part in one television programme, which one would it be?
Westworld. I think the remake of that has been utterly brilliant. The scriptwriting on that show was just flawless. After crime fiction I do have a bit of thing for science fiction and how this series explores relationships and creates twists to keep the viewer hooked was phenomenal.
What did you do before you started writing crime?
Before I released my first crime novel I was a serving police detective. I worked for 16 years before retiring on medical grounds. I loved the job. I loved that you never knew what you would be dealing with on a day-to-day basis. I loved helping people who needed it and seeing a case through to its conclusion and obtaining that closure for people. It obviously didn’t always happen the way you wanted it to or hoped it would, but you did the best you could with what you had and turned up and put the work it. It is an extremely satisfying role. One I can always look back on with pride. And one I can now use to support my writing by allowing it to add authenticity to my work.