Please welcome Anne Buist, author of the Natalie King Forensic Psychiatrist Series.
Anne Buist is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and has over 25 years clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry. She works with Protective Services and the legal system in cases of abuse, kidnapping, infanticide and murder. Medea’s Curse is her first mainstream psychological thriller. Professor Buist is married to novelist Graeme Simsion and has two children.
Living Dangerously: get closer to crime-thriller author Frank Westworth
While readers get to grips with his new collection of quick thrillers, author Frank Westworth pauses in between projects to chat about what he writes, and why. And what he reads, and where his characters come from, and which kinds of Kevlar can actually stop bullets…
How Can It Be Real?
As an author of supernatural thrillers, it’s a question I’ve heard a time or two before.
In my experience, the single most important aspect of good storytelling is what I call the “Reality Factor.” We’ve all read a book, seen a movie, that should have worked but didn’t. There are a ton of factors that may contribute to its failure, but at the core, I’m confident you’ll find a lack of reality as the main culprit.
To increase suspense in a scene where a dangerous person is about to do something nasty, slow down the pace and describe their hands. This is perfect for when the evil overlord signs the order to exterminate the children, or when the torturer readies his instruments.
This technique works especially well in thrillers. Show the killer’s (or the suspect’s) hands, especially when the point-of-view character is helpless to do anything. This will send creepy shivers across the reader’s skin.
Before moving to Amsterdam, I knew very little about the restitution of artwork stolen by the Nazis during World War Two, a topic that plays a central role in my novel, The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery. Sure, I’d read about controversial cases in newspapers and wondered why museums didn’t hand over the artwork immediately when legitimate claimants appeared on the scene, but also why it took the relative of the legal owner so long to submit a claim.
There is nothing so annoying as reading a book or watching a movie and finding inaccuracies in things like police and courtroom procedures. I am not a pedant but I prefer accuracy in my own writing and that of others, whether the result is within the pages or up on the screen.
As a former UK detective and a barrister, trial counsel to Americans but we got to wear those wigs and gowns, I have an advantage in my own writing to portray accuracy.
So how does a crime writer without the same advantage set about achieving accuracy?
You introduce yourself as an author. Maybe mention a writing credit or two.
“The third book in my series is being released next week,” you say.
Instead of asking where they can purchase your novel, your new acquaintance hits you with an all-too-familiar line.
“I have this great idea for a book.”
Admit it. You’ve been on the receiving end of this conversation, or perhaps you’ve been the person delivering the germ of an idea destined to become a NYT bestselling novel. Whichever role you played, the end result was Awkward.
Jayne is a voice over artist, actress, avid improviser, and narrator of audiobooks for Random House winning awards for her work on the popular Flavia De Luce series. She gives life to one of my favorite sleuths! Good ol’ Flavia.