A Crime Novel By Wendy Perriam? No Way!

OK, I’ve written 26 books, but I’ve never dreamed of tackling crime fiction – it just wasn’t my thing, I assumed. So how come I’m now publishing a novel with “murderer” in the title? Well, it came about in a random sort of way, when I was helping my brother write his Memoir. Up to that time, he and I had never been close, living as we did in different parts of the country, and with very different views and

Continue Reading

A Mount Everest Of Research

No doubt writers like Val McDermid and Ian Rankin know all this stuff backwards and don’t have to mug up who’s who in the police hierarchy, or which offenders get bail and why, or what procedures suspects undergo in a police station. And I’m sure they don’t need to pore over sentencing-guidelines, or recent changes to the Probation system, as I was doing, with increasing bafflement. Yet, looking back after three hard-at-it years (the longest it’s ever taken me to

Continue Reading

The Urgent Need For Rehab In Our Prisons

With some 93 thousand inmates in UK gaols – more than any other country in Western Europe – and a re-offending rate that costs our economy somewhere between nine-and-a-half and thirteen billion – it’s clear that things are very wrong. I was personally shocked to find filthy, noisy, unhygienic prisons, sometimes little more than warehouses for criminals, banged up for twenty-two, or more, hours a day. A large proportion of such people are often the most needy in society – illiterate,

Continue Reading

From Single Parent On Benefits To Chauffeur-Driven Rolls

The ever-growing problem of inequality was vividly brought home by a recent item in the News: waiters and waitresses at the prestigious Mayfair restaurant Le Gavroche, where a mere starter can cost more than £60, are paid less than the minimum wage and receive no share of the service charge, despite being the ones delivering that service. Issues of class, privilege and hierarchy have permeated our society since feudal times, and my own family history is certainly one of extremes.

Continue Reading

Is Anthony Unsympathetic

We novelists are frequently told that our characters must be sympathetic, and indeed it’s a risk for any writer to create someone like Anthony, who at the outset is smug and snobbish, with his strong sense of entitlement, if not of superiority. One could easily dislike him, as do some of his fellow-prisoners and – more so – some of the prison staff. But my challenge was to show him changing, broadening his outlook, growing in human sympathy and understanding.

Continue Reading

Fatherhood

This is an important theme in much of my work, although, again, usually unplanned. It just seemed to happen that many of my protagonists had absent or inadequate fathers, perhaps not surprising given my own experience. My father was physically present, but emotionally distant and definitely disapproving – not that I blame him. Having intended to be a priest and spent four years in a Catholic Seminary, where he was taught to shun all worldly pleasures and all intimate relationships,

Continue Reading

The Tender Murderer Examines The Nature Of Love

… how much of love is simple physical lust, or a craving for admiration or security? Can falling in love prove such a heady experience that it blinds us to reality? Was Anthony’s love for his wife Deborah based on a sense of kudos in hooking such an elegant and high-powered woman? Is his love for Mary prompted by his growing sexual frustration, and by his desire to be cherished and esteemed? Mary herself, the romantic interest in the book,

Continue Reading

Sex Scenes

“THERE AREN’T AS MANY SEX-SCENES AS USUAL,” MY BROTHER COMPLAINED. Which is true, compared with many of my books. I’ve always had a reputation for writing explicit sex-scenes, despite my complete sexual ignorance up to age eighteen. At school, the subject was barely mentioned, but we gathered from various hints and prohibitions that sex was for procreation only and our duty as good Catholic wives was to create more souls for God. No details were supplied – not even the

Continue Reading

Mary’s Cats

I must confess I’m a dog-person at heart, preferring the earthy, affectionate exuberance of dogs to the aloofness of fastidious felines. In fact, I never planned to include cats, but somehow they wormed their way into the novel, and even needed researching – not difficult, since cats are everywhere on the Internet. I was amazed by those cat-obsessives who spend a fortune on cat-toys, cat-vitamins, cat-treats, cat-beds, and even cat-therapy, or who devote their lives to cossetting, grooming, or playing

Continue Reading

Our Modern-Day Prison-Reformers

One of the most distinguished of these is Jonathan Aitken, who was kind enough to invite me to his home and share with me his extensive knowledge of prison-reform and prisoner-rehab. We already had a connection in that we’re both clients of the Literary Agency, Curtis Brown, and I’d recently read Porridge and Passion, Jonathan’s account of his own time in custody. Since his release, he has personally mentored fourteen ex-prisoners and is currently trustee, director or patron of eleven

Continue Reading

Site Footer