Best-selling author and Blackpool Libraries’ Crime Reading Group favourite Elly Griffiths has quite a history with the town – she’s even featured one of her books here. Elly’s award-winning novels feature a forensic archaeologist called Ruth Galloway – who is inspired by her husband, an archaeologist.

Not content with the Galloway series, Elly has begun a new series set in 1950s Brighton. The first book is The Zig Zag Girl and both series are keeping her busy, but she took time out of her schedule to chat to Sandra Mangan ahead of her visit for Wordpool 2015.

Tell me a little about your books?

They feature a forensic archaeologist called Ruth Galloway. In the first book ‘The Crossing Places’ Ruth is consulted by the police when they find bones buried on deserted Norfolk marshland. The bones turn out to be over two-thousand years old but they lead Ruth into the case of a missing child and into a very complicated relationship with the policeman, DCI Harry Nelson. I’ve also started a new series set in 1950s Brighton. The first book in that series is ‘The Zig Zag Girl’.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve written as long as I can remember. My dad used to make me little books and when I was about six I wrote a story called ‘The Shig of Mystery’ (I often got my ps and gs muddled). When I was 11 I wrote a full-length murder mystery called ‘The Hair of the Dog’.  My first published novel was ‘The Italian Quarter’, published about fifteen years ago under my real name Domenica de Rosa.

What inspires the ideas for your novels?

The Ruth books are often inspired by my husband, who is an archaeologist. He’ll let fall a little snippet (bodies buried in marshes or under doorways) and the book will grow from that.

How do you go about researching them?

I do a lot of research and like to get the archaeology as accurate as I can. However, there comes a point when you just have to stop researching and start writing.

How do you go about plotting a story?

I write a brief chapter-by-chapter plan in my notebook and then start from there. The details change as I go on but the basic structure is usually there from the beginning.

Are you a crime fiction reader? Who are the writers you admire?

I love crime fiction. My favourite author of all time is Wilkie Collins, arguably the father of detective fiction. I also like Ian Rankin, CJ Sansom, Kate Atkinson and Lesley Thomson.

Are you a disciplined, nine-to-five writer, or do you prefer to go with the creative flow?

I’m pretty disciplined, partly because I have two children and I teach part-time. If I’m not teaching I write every day from about 8 until midday. I always try to write at least a thousand words a day.

Do you have any advice for would-be writers?

Three things: 1. Try to write every day. 2. Finish something as this teaches you more than any creative writing course could. 3. Don’t show your writing to your family and friends.

Have you visited Blackpool before?

Yes! My granddad was an actor and he often appeared in Blackpool. We spent a couple of happy Christmases watching him in panto. More recently I came to Blackpool to research ‘Dying Fall’ which is set in Blackpool, Lytham and the Pendle Hills.

What’s next for you?

I’m halfway through writing Ruth book 8. It’s called ‘The Woman in Blue’ and is set in Walsingam, the so-called English Nazareth. I’ve also just finished the sequel to ‘The Zig Zag Girl’ which is called ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ and is set in the world of panto (partly inspired by my grandfather). ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ will be out in November 2015, ‘The Woman in Blue’ in early 2016.

ELLY GRIFFITHS, Brunswick Room, Blackpool Central Library, July 2, 2.30pm

For more information about Wordpool or to book visit https://blackpoolwordpool.wordpress.com. You can also like Wordpool on Facebook or follow on Twitter @WordpoolFest.

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