Oo I love a thriller and am delighted to be featuring London Noir by Ann Girdharry today. Even better, Ann has agreed to write a guest post for Linda’s Book Bag all about how writers switch off from the writing process.
London Noir is available for purchase here.
Memory loss, nightmares, the urge to kill – Sophie has it all. Is it really Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Or something more sinister? Kal is about to find out…
After a near-fatal road accident, Kal helps a young girl in trouble.
The girl’s friends are being murdered one by one. Why? And who by? Kal must kick start herself out of her downward spiral to save the young stranger. But Kal is in the grip of the London Cartel and is someone after the girl, or is the girl after someone?
Turning Off the Killer Thoughts
A Guest Post by Ann Girdharry
Do writers of suspense thrillers have to cut themselves off? How do they switch off from their noir creations?
Linda had a great idea for this guest post. She wondered if I could write about switching off from writing.
I’m going to give you an eyeball on how I do that, but first, it got me thinking about a couple of famous authors who are a lot more interesting than me.
Have you heard of Thomas Harris?
He’s a famous author – creator of the serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, (made into the film The Silence of the Lambs). Harris avoids publicity and hasn’t given an interview since 1976 (according to Wikipedia). Little is known about his private life, because it’s, well – private.
Is he a recluse? Harris’ agent says, “(Harris is)… reclusive, but is seldom morose, even though he is so often alone, working in an office separate from his house, in quite an isolated setting.”
Well, I can tell you that’s quite normal.
I sometimes can’t wait for the kids and my husband to quit the house in the morning. I have the whole day. Just me and my writing. And the cats. Yippee.
Harris is lucky – if I could have an isolated writing hut in some remote setting, believe me, I would.
Then, the late and wonderful Terry Pratchett. One of my favourite authors. He had an eccentric side to his personality. Later in life, he was out-spoken, for instance on Alzheimer’s disease and assisted death.
How did he switch off?
Apparently, Pratchett had a fascination with natural history and he owned a greenhouse full of carnivorous plants. (I think that must have been a lot of fun).
Pratchett was also a keen astronomer and had an observatory in his back garden.
These seem absorbing leisure activities. And ones that he did alone. Quite fitting for a man with such an extraordinary imagination.
And how about little me? I trained in psychotherapy. In direct client work, I learned how important it is to keep a professional distance.
The same is true with my writing. I write crime suspense thrillers. I delve into the minds of perpetrators and murderers. I talk about their motivations, their sadistic impulses. Gruesome stuff. But it’s only half the story, because the second part of the story is the person who’s going to track them, outwit them, and take them down.
To switch off, my favourite way is to go rollerblading. An hour rollerblading on a nice cycle path – surrounded by nature, working up a sweat. It clears my mind. Or swimming, that’s a good one too.
Sports get me out of my head and back into my body.
I also enjoy gardening.
Since we moved to France, I’ve had to adapt my gardening knowledge to the Mediterranean climate. Many of the plants and flowers I loved in England would die here. Gone are the days of my allotment in Brighton. I’ve come to know the native plants that thrive in this climate, where it’s so hot and dry during the summer. An hour weeding, pruning, or generally pottering amongst the flowers, clears my head like magic.
For me, the dark must always be balanced by the light, and by the mundane and the beautiful. That way, I can keep on writing and keep on delving deep into my fictional characters. And hopefully, spinning stories for many years to come.
(We hope so too Ann! And I’m with you all the way with gardening. I love it as a way to relax.)
About Ann Girdharry
Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.
She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK.