We tracked down super crime writer Susan Wilkins, author of The Mourner, to ask for clues about where she gets her inspiration and her tips for aspiring authors. What’s more, you can check out our facebook page on how to win one of five signed copies. Good luck!


Did you write stories when you were a child?

Yes. But I preferred to write stories and draw pictures to go with them. I’m obviously a frustrated comic book writer.

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

As a young child I liked historical fiction – swashbuckling stories like The Children of the New Forest and Beric the Briton.  But then, in my early teens, I moved on to Georgette Heyer. I’ve probably read every book she ever wrote. I adored her. I think she taught me more about writing than the so-called classics.

What helps you come up with plotlines? (eg, hot bath, long walks)

I’m lucky enough to live very close to the sea. Walking the undercliff, in all weathers, is great for coming up with ideas.

What is your writing routine?

When I was a television scriptwriter I learnt to treat it like any other job – get up, have breakfast, go to work, avoid distractions.

What tips would you give to aspiring writers?

To be a writer you first need to be a reader. Read widely, not just in your chosen genre. And read non-fiction as well as fiction.

Do you have an idea for your next novel?

I’m working on my next novel, The Avenger, which will be out next year. I’m also thinking about and doing a bit of research for the one after that.

Do you have a favourite classic novel?

I have a lot of favourites, but the all time classic has to be Middlemarch by George Eliot.

What novels are you reading at the moment?

The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter by Malcolm Mackay and I’ve just finished A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh

What’s your favourite literary quote?

Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very frightening

– Gertrude Stein


Read our review of The Mourner in this week’s issue of Woman magazine, and buy the novel for less than half price when you pick up a copy of the mag in WHSmith!