#AyeWrite: Clare Mackintosh, Sarah Vaughan & Fiona Cummins: Unputdownable Thrillers @AyeWrite @claremackint0sh ‏@SVaughanAuthor @FionaAnnCummins @michaelJmalone1

Clare Mackintosh, Sarah Vaughan & Fiona Cummins: Unputdownable Thrillers

The past few years has seen the unstoppable rise of a certain kind of crime novel, whether you call them, ‘Domestic noir’ or ‘Grip-lit’ or the old favourite ‘Psychological Thriller’ the three authors appearing together here certainly know a thing or two about the genre! Clare Mackintosh’s Let Me Lie finds a young woman struggling to come to terms with the apparent suicide of both her parents. Sarah Vaughan’s Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Fiona Cummins The Collector sees DS Etta Fitzroy hunt down a twisted, obsessive criminal.

Back in the Mitchell Library, my first event of the night was this deadly trio of authors, Clare Mackintosh, Sarah Vaughan and Fiona Cummins and what a deadly delight they were! Chaired by Michael J Malone this was a spellbinding event!

Fiona, a former journalist firmly believes in writing the book that you want to write! She was working as a journalist interviewing stars of showbiz when real life intervened and made her stop and think about what she really wanted to do and what she really wanted to do was write a book! Thank goodness she followed through on that decision! Fiona introduced us to a new character with the most remarkable name, Sol Anguish! Sol has a harrowing background and the conflicted youngster finds himself vulnerable to those wishing to influence him and not always in a positive manner…


Clare spent 12 years in the police force before leaving as her personal priorities had changed; she still needed to earn a living and so done the one other thing that she knew how to do and that was to write. She wrote anything and everything that earned her money and at the same time began writing her first novel. She is fascinated by the lives  ordinary people who draw upon great reserves of strength that they never believed themselves to have when faced with adversity. Clare’s latest character, retired Detective Murray McKenzie is the one character that she has written that has made her think of writing a series, ohhhhh watch this space folks!


Sarah spent 11 years working as a journalist for the Guardian where she was latterly a Political Correspondent  before she turned to writing her novel. She was with friends discussing a high-profile rape case and was dismayed at the judgemental attitude towards the victim; she had a vivid dream about a political scandal based around the accusation of rape and from this her plot was born. Making a very public statement on her 40th birthday that she would write and publish a book within a year she had no choice but to go with it! Sarah’s novel could have been “ripped from the headlines” although it was sold a whole year before the Harvey Weinstein and high-profile cases we are now hearing about. It is an exploration of consent and distortion of the truth and is told from the POV of the prosecutor and the wife of the accused.


Michael asked how helpful genre labels are to authors; while there was a general consensus that they served a purpose in terms of signposting readers when looking for books,  they could also be considered as a constraint as their books can cross many genre boundaries.  There are also so many subgenres that there is a danger this funnels readers down one route and runs the  risk that they may miss out on some fantastic books because they are not marketed as one particular genre.

On the Staunch Prize all three authors were clear on their position; while there was an acknowledgement that the idea may have come from a good place it has not been properly thought out: it does a great disservice to talented writers who cover sexual violence in a non-gratuitous manner; sexual violence against women is unfortunately a fact of life and we must write about the things that include our fears and our realities and until women stop being abused and attacked then writers must continue to address it.

Sadly the hour was over way too soon as I really could have listened to all three authors for way longer than an hour. If you ever get the chance to see any of these authors at an event then I’d highly recommend going along!



To find out what else is happening in the last few days of Aye Write then click on the link below:

Aye Write Programme


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