Erin Kelly is the author of two acclaimed psychological thrillers, The Poison Tree and The Sick Rose. She has just finished her third novel, which is due for publication by Hodder & Stoughton in early 2013 and has started her fourth. She has worked as a journalist since 1998, writing for newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Express and The Mirror, and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire and Elle. She writes about health, lifestyle, women’s issues and parenting, and is a columnist at Mother and Baby magazine.
Erin lives in north London with her husband and daughter.
Her website is here
Which 3 writers, living or dead, would you invite to dinner?
Michael Frayn, Jilly Cooper and Jake Arnott.
What's your favourite writing snack?
Does coffee count?
Longhand or computer?
Every day I’m grateful to be writing in the age of the word processor, a magic typewriter that can keep up with my brain and lets me move text around with a couple of clicks. That said, I do turn to pen and paper when I need to work my way out of a plot hole.
Win Booker prize or land Hollywood film deal?
Booker, just to wind up the establishment
Tabloid or broadsheet?
Broadsheets at the weekend, but I avoid newspapers if I can help it. They make me anxious.
Independent bookshop or Amazon?
My new year’s resolution was to boycott Amazon unless the book I needed was very old or out of print. I don’t live within easy travelling distance of an indie, so I shop at Waterstone’s which is the next best thing, and go to West End Lane books or Muswell Hill when time allows.
Hacker or adder?
Adder. I’ve never written a book that got shorter during the editing process.
Plotter or panter?
A little of both. I have a skeleton plot in my head before I sit down to write, but the finer details and the twists don’t come until I’m familiar with my characters, and the only way to get to know them is to write them. That said, I’m currently working on my fourth novel and experimenting with a chapter plan for the first time. If you see me on Twitter freaking out about missing my deadline, you’ll know it didn’t work out.
Leave on a cliffhanger or tell all?
I write psychological thrillers, and part of the deal is that you at least tie up the central mystery that has driven the narrative so far. The first draft of my first novel, The Poison Tree, ended on a cliffhanger that I thought was very clever and bold. All the publishers who rejected it cited that as one of their main reasons for turning it down. I went away and rewrote an ending that felt entirely right for the book, although I didn’t tie up *all* the loose ends. Always leave them wanting more…
You really must read…
Half Broken Things by Morag Joss. Chosen by Lesley Glaister. Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne. Paradoxical Undressing by Kristen Hersh. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith… oh, just come round and look at my bookshelves, it’ll be quicker.
I get most excited by…
Holding my latest book for the first time. I know the future’s digital yada yada yada but there’s nothing like holding the trophy at the end of the race.
If I wasn’t a writer I would be…
Working in television drama. I’d love to be a location scout, driving around the country and persuading people who own interesting and amazing places to let a film crew and a bunch of actors lay waste to their property.
An author should always
Approach the book from the inside.