anncleevesWe caught up with the Queen of Crime Ann Cleeves to find out about her early writing influences, how she comes up with plot lines and her tips for budding authors.

Did you write stories when you were a child?

All the time! I made them up in my head before I was old enough to write them down. And I wrote seriously dreadful poetry.

What books and authors did you read when you were young?

My favourites were always mysteries. I started off with Enid Blyton and moved on to the Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown short stories. But I would read anything. I don’t think you read with the same hunger or greed as an adult.

What helps you come up with plot lines?

I live near the sea so a walk along the beach does help. And I’m not a great sleeper so I worry away at the story in the middle of the night.

What is your writing routine?

I write best early in the morning. I always sit at the kitchen table with a laptop. The kitchen’s the warmest room in the house. My husband gets banished to the study upstairs.

What tips would you give to aspiring writers?

Get to the end before you start editing too much. And read a lot. That’s the most important.

Do you have an idea for your next novel? 

My head’s full of ideas. Ideas are easy. Turning them into a 100K word novel that people would want to read is more tricky!

What novels are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading the Theakston’s Old Peculier Novel of the Year shortlist. As programming chair of the Theakston’s Crime-writing Festival I’m one of the judges. It’s a brilliant shortlist and I’m enjoying every book. I’m not sure yet which one I’ll vote for.

What’s your favourite literary quote? 

‘Only connect’ from E M Forster’s Howard’s End. I love the idea of bringing people, and the different parts of ourselves, together to make a harmonious whole.