I recently spoke to Ann Cleeves, author of the Vera Stanhope novels, the latest and eighth in the series being ‘The Seagull’. The novel details crime in a close community of family connections. A central focus of which is the former nightclub ‘the Seagull’.
Ann is no stranger to Australia having attended a writer’s festival in Adelaide but she has not as yet visited Tasmania. Her husband, a natural historian is knowledgeable of Tasmania and is keen to visit.
Speaking on the popularity of the crime/thriller genre Ann tells me she believes one of the reasons is the fact that ‘the world can be a confusing place’ and the crime and thriller novel provides in most cases an ending where things are ‘put right ‘and ‘have a resolution’ where order is restored.
Ann is very happy with the screen adaptations of her work that are examples of good script writing and create a sense of place. She is also glad she has been able to create a heroine in Vera Stanhope that does not fit the Hollywood cliché of ‘a tall, willowy, young woman’ but instead is a woman, not so willowy and ‘ of a certain age’. Ann says Vera’s low maintenance, no nonsense approach fits in well with the type of women who were the ones who rolled up their sleeves, and filled the jobs of men folk when they went to war.
Peppered throughout ‘The Seagull; is the charming dialect of the Shetland with a ‘bairn’ here and there.
Ann’s writing is inspired by the variety of careers she has worked in from the public library to bird observation and sometime something as simple as a train journey can put us on the track to creativity. .
‘The Seagull’ is out now published by Pan Macmillan.