Angela is an author, playwright, columnist and professional speaker. Her debut crime thriller ‘Follow Me’ was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month January 2016, long listed for the Crime Writer’s Association Dagger in the Library 2016, and short listed for the ‘Good Reader Page Turner’ Award 2016. ‘Follow Me’ has now been optioned by a TV production company. The second instalment in the ‘Social Media Murder’ Series, ‘Watch Me’ is out January 2017. And the third ‘Trust Me’ is out now.
- To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
My name is Angela Clarke and I’m a chocoholic. I also write the ‘Social Media Murder’ Series, including CWA Dagger in the Library long listed and Dead Good Reader Page Turner short listed ‘Follow Me’, which has been option by a TV production company, and Sunday Times bestseller ‘Watch Me’. I got into this by accident, I set out to write about the internet and how we use our new found online power for good and bad, but the body count was so high it had to be crime, baby.
- Your successful social media series is all about social media, why did you decide to use this topic?
So many crime novels are based in a community, with that location shaping both the characters and the story. With 15 million people in the UK on Twitter, and 24 million Brits using Facebook every day, social media is our newest, biggest and fastest growing community. It links people who might otherwise never have interacted or met, opening us up, and influencing us in ways we’re only just starting to appreciate. It’s fresh and fertile ground to explore the darker side of humanity.
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
Oh! So many! Like most writers, I was a reader first and I love books. I’ve just finished Luca Veste’s ‘Blood Stream’, which was dark and disturbing, and delved into reality TV, online interaction, love and other themes close to my heart, so I definitely want him in. I’ve also just read Steve Cavanagh’s ‘The Liar’ which was a rip-roaring legal thriller with a former con artist turned lawyer at its heart: his Eddie Flynn is an amazing character. So he’s in! And then we need some ladies to even out the testosterone; I’d go for Claire McGowan, Steph Broadribb, SJI Holliday, Jane Casey and Sarah Hilary, because I love their characters and their work, and I know I can get pissed with them. Wine is an important part of a book club, right?
- What’s your favourite form of social media to communicate on?
It changes daily, and for different reasons. I like Twitter for jokes, Facebook for secret clubs, Snapchat for filters, and Instagram for making me feel calm. I’m having a hectic day today, so Instagram it is. Excuse me while I go meditate over a shot of some beautifully lit, artfully arranged books and a cup of coffee.
- What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
Either the bit at the very beginning, when you have this idea you can barely contain, and it’s bubbling out of you at every opportunity. (Not to be confused with the bit where you actually start typing). Or the bit at the end when you’ve redrafted, and what was as unwieldy word monster has taken shape and looks like a real book. And you give a big sigh of relief because you can still do it (and you feared you couldn’t).
- What do you think makes a good crime book?
A killer hook. A pacey read. And enough tension you need a massage while reading it.
- If Freddie and Nas were to be adapted for screen, who do you imagine playing the ladies?
Freddie and Nas are quite young, only 24 in ‘Trust Me’, which makes it hard to pick. For Freddie, you want someone like Pheobe Waller-Bridge or Lena Dunham five years ago. Bel Powley from ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ would be great. For Nas, perhaps Amber Rose Revah or Aysha Kala, who were both great in ‘Indian Summers’. It speaks volumes of the media industry, that there aren’t a huge number of young, female, mixed heritage or British Asian actresses getting screen time at the moment.
- From books and films, who has been your favourite bad guy?
The unnamed serial killer in Graeme Cameron’s ‘Normal’. He’s a deliciously darkly comic creation, you find yourself rooting for him. He’s a brilliant character!
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
Does my Kindle count as one? If not, could I just take my current TBR (to be read) pile with me? I have so many I want to get through it’d be really handy.
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
Make sure that you have a strong hooky plot that can be condensed (and sold) on one or two snappy sentences. If those sentences reel people in and make them want to hear more, you know you’ve got a strong idea.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
Water. I drink gallons of the stuff. It powers me, like other people use coffee. I can’t function without it. Unless I spill it over my keyboard, then I can’t function at all.
- And finally Angela do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
I’m so excited that the third in the ‘Social Media Murder’ Series, ‘Trust Me’, is out June 15th. It’s inspired by a real-life case, and centres on a head teacher who sees a serious assault live streamed over the internet, but when she reports it she discovers the account it streamed from has been closed, and she has no idea who the victim, or the perpetrator is. No one believes that what she saw is real, and she has to find a way to track down the girl in the live stream who needs her help. It’s an exploration into how the internet has opened a window into strangers lives, and sometimes you see things you shouldn’t have. Things that could put you in danger.
You can buy the ebook and paperback from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.