Kelly Creighton is the author of The Sleeping Season. The second DI Harriet Sloane book, Problems With Girls, was published by Friday Press on 20 November 2020.
Kelly kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about Problems With Girls.
Problems with Girls is book 2 in the DI Harriet Sloane series. It is set in East Belfast and starts with the murder of a young female political activist. Book 1 was called The Sleeping Season. This second instalment sees big changes in Harriet’s personal life as well as a Belfast that is looking at young women, for once.
2. What inspired the book?
I knew that I wanted to write a book about someone targeting young women and that I wanted to try to do it in a way that felt different than much detective fiction that has gone before, taking a more feminist slant. I plotted the storyline earlier than it was actually set (May 2018) and then I looked at what was happening in Belfast during that time. The Belfast Rape Trial happened and the #ibelieveher rallies, the result of the Repeal referendum vote was revealed during the book. So while these issues could not have inspired the book, they felt poignant and they became part of the backdrop.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
When I am writing short stories I will generally have an idea, an image in my head, and will see where it takes me. With crime fiction though, especially the police series, I do plan. I write an outline for each chapter. It keeps me on the right path, but I do veer off now and then. I think it’s good to surprise yourself.
4. Having been through the publishing process, is there anything about the process of creating a novel that surprised you?
I edited a literary journal, The Incubator, for five years, so I was pretty used to editing short stories. A novel is a bigger thing (I mean, obviously) with so many layers and threads. I suppose I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the ‘puzzle’ of writing a detective book. It is great when you have your plot sorted and you can start to write.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I wish I could say that I do something interesting. If I travel or go to a retreat it is usually writing-related. I do love to go for walks, and window shop, or visit book shops. Unfortunately the shopping part is not so enjoyable right now. You can’t lift and sniff scented candles – and books – like I would like to.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
What a great question! I could read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee forever and keep getting new insights from it, and be blown away by how great the writing is.
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
I have never been asked who my favourite fictional character is. I loved Marie in Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky. I enjoy badly-behaved female characters so much. In that respect, Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird always stands out for her tomboyishness and feisty responses.
About the Book
Where are the young women here? Can you even see them?
After taking some leave, DI Harriet Sloane comes back to work at Strandtown PSNI station, East Belfast, to be faced with murder case. A young political activist has been stabbed to death in the office of a progressive political party where she works as an intern. The killer seems to have a problem with girls, and is about to strike again.
Set in 2018, a month after the Belfast Rape Trial and the #ibelieveher rallies that took place throughout Ireland, this novel asks questions about cyberbullying, mental health and consent.
About the Author
Kelly Creighton is a creative writing teacher and the author of the DI Sloane novels, as well as the psychological thriller ‘The Bones of It’. She also writes short stories, having edited short story journal The Incubator for years. Creighton published her first short story collection ‘Bank Holiday Hurricane’ to critical acclaim. She lives in Co Down, Northern Ireland.