Author Interviews

Question Time with Author Mel Sherratt

Today I’m so excited to share with you a Q&A with Mel. I was lucky enough to review Watching Over You here, and was desperate to ask Mel some questions. Here it is….

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Mel Sherratt has been a self-described “meddler of words” ever since she can remember. She lives in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with her husband and her terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer, with some help from her Twitter fans), and makes liberal use of her hometown as a backdrop for her writing. You can find her website here, and you can also find her on Twitter at @writermels

1. Most important question first, if you was a stalker who would be you chosen “victim”? (Obviously I mean in the Pervy sense, not the psychotic sense).

That would have to be Tom Hardy. Without a doubt.

2. My favourite parts of the book were when Ella desperately just tried to be a friend to Charley. You could see how much it meant to her, see how desperate she was to be “normal”. What was your favourite part?

I think for me it was trying to get the balance right between the two main characters’ stories. I wanted to portray a woman falling in love beside a woman falling apart because she wanted their friendship to be the more important one. So it was great to explore those first exciting feelings with Charley and her new man and mirror them against the sheer desperation for attention that Ella wants from her one-night stands.

3. No matter what Ella did, how erratic her behaviour got or how nasty she became I couldn’t help but feel so sorry for her. How do you feel about Ella?

That was exactly what I wanted you to feel, phew! I hoped that you would empathise with Ella, because ultimately her life made her what she was. Damaged as a child, she wanted a friend but always went about it all wrong. And the more she clung to people, the more they pushed her away, so the more she felt abandoned every time. When I reread the finished version, I was shocked at how wary I was of Ella and I had created her!

4. Poor Charley never stood a chance against Ella. If you were Charley do you think there was anything you would have done differently?

I have to say no, because I try to give the plots in my books the sense of ‘this could happen to me.’ I try hard to keep my plots and subplots realistic in all I write – I still get readers who think some of the situations are unbelievable but, really, you just have to listen to the strange reports of crimes that happen in the news to realise there is nothing as strange as folk.

I think if anything, Charley was frustrated because she couldn’t get through to Ella to help her. But equally she didn’t want to get too close as this might have encouraged her possessive nature.

5. Where did the inspiration of Watching Over You come from?

I enjoy the building trepidation set-up in films from the eighties – movies such as Single White Female, Fatal Attraction, Sleeping with the Enemy and The Hand That Rocked the Cradle. And as stalkers are often men stalking women in fiction, I thought why not do something different. But the main idea was to create a sense of fear as well as an emotional tie to a character who maybe you don’t really want to like.

6. What did you edit out?

In the first draft, some of the scenes with Ella and what she went through as a child went a bit too far, but I had to do that to understand her. So I toned those down. I like readers to read between the lines. I’m a short, sharp sentence writer, which creates vivid images. Some of these can become too vivid.

7. If you could chose one person to read your book, who would you chose and why?

Suranne Jones. I think she would make a great Charley Belington. I also think she would make a great DS Allie Shenton in Taunting the Dead too. A girl can dream about a book being made into a television drama…

8. What are your 3 most favourite books and why?

Argh – these change so much so can I tell you my favourite from 2013?

Precious Thing – Colette McBeth. I loved the feeling of never quite knowing who to trust. Superb twist on the final page too.

Close my Eyes – Sophie McKenzie. It was the same with this book – it could happen to anyone and I enjoyed the sense of apprehension that build up. When I read it, I remember thinking I hope people get that feeling when they read Watching over You.

Dead Gone – Luca Veste. A police procedural with a psychological element. For me, books are all about characters and I really enjoyed reading about Murphy and Rossi. Plus the psychology experiments were something different. Great debut.

9. What is your least favourite part of writing?

Always the part that I am working on! When I am drafting, I long to have something to edit. When I am editing, I long to be writing something new. There’s always an idea for a new book that comes to light when I’m feeling that I can’t write the book I am doing too. It’s as if the brain wants you to do the nice bits all the time. But I’d never get anything finished if that was the case.

10. What is your most favourite part of writing?

Twisting plots. I love to write ‘what if’ and see where it leads me. I also enjoy chatting things through with my fella and he is great at keeping it real – and suggesting things that I hadn’t thought of too.

11. What authors inspire you?

So many, especially since the world of social media exploded and I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of them. Personally, Ian Rankin, Peter James and Elizabeth Haynes inspire me because they have all been so helpful and encouraging. Reading wise, I like so many but at the moment, I’m into all the dark psychological thrillers from people like Gillian Flynn and Alex Marwood. And I love women’s fiction when I’m not writing – Adele Parks inspires me so much. Her books are just so incredible.

Thank you so Mel for taking the time to answer my questions I really appreciate it.

To get your own copy of the BRILLIANT Watching Over you click here.

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