Who doesn’t love a cracking crime story, full of twists? I’m A.A. Abbott – known to friends as Helen – and I believe a good read is one of life’s greatest pleasures. As well as writing thrillers, I read lots of them, and you’ll find them reviewed in my blog.
My latest book, psychological thriller Bright Lies, has been described as “deliciously dark”. It begins as domestic noir, revealing evil below the surface of an apparently happy family. When teenager Emily escapes her toxic home life in Bath, she ends up living in a squat and working in a sleazy Birmingham nightclub. I had a lot of help with the book from clubbers, police detectives, abuse survivors and DJs. Read on to find out more about my approach to research…
Meanwhile, indulge yourself with “5 minute crime thriller” The Gap, a short story prequel to the Trail series of full-length books. Jeb Bryant believes there’s a gap in everybody’s lives, and it’s his business to make money filling it, no matter what the law says. He hasn’t bargained on beautiful Kat White’s approach to life, though. The Trail series continues with full-length crime thriller The Bride’s Trail, as Kat vanishes, with Jeb’s psychopathic boss desperate to find her.
You’ll enjoy Something In The City, too. It’s an e-book of short stories, completely free when you sign up for my newsletter. Not every tale is a crime story – there’s a dash of romance and horror too – but they’re all a good read. You can dip into the book for a treat to savour when you only have a few minutes to spare.
Love losing yourself in a book?
If you love losing yourself in a book, you’ve found a kindred spirit here. As a child, I learned to read in the blink of an eye (my dyslexic friends and relatives were less lucky, and I publish special large print editions to help those who struggle with a traditional paperback). The eldest in a large family, I had huge fun dreaming up tales for my younger siblings – one woodland saga lasted for two years, with weekly updates. I was brought up near Whipsnade Zoo, and couldn’t resist mentioning the wild wallabies in the woods in The Grass Trail, third crime story in my Trail series of thrillers.
City life and the business world seep into my books too. After all, everyone says, “Write about what you know,” and I’m very familiar with cities and the corporate world. Although I’m now based in Bristol in the English West Country, my career in finance also took me to buzzy Birmingham and the City of London. They’re both places to which I often return, especially vibrant Birmingham with its friendly folk and independent coffee shops. It has fantastic real ale pubs and cocktail bars too. Strangely enough, the characters in my crime thrillers seem to like drinking there as much as I do!
Research is vital when I’m writing about something I don’t know. The Grass Trail and The Revenge Trail both feature an obsessive killer desperate to escape from prison. Luckily, although I’ve never been jailed (that would be taking research too far!), I’ve had help with my books from prison officers and policemen. I also saw a TV film about HMP Belmarsh and read autobiographies by prisoners who had served time there, including three former MPs. Researching vodka manufacture was more fun, involving a trip to the Chase distillery in the deepest Herefordshire countryside. Both their vodka, and the distillery tour, are highly recommended!
Of course, it’s not just about getting facts right – you deserve to read crime thrillers that are well-written and exciting. So that mine really hit the spot, twenty readers and a professional editor help me perfect each book before it’s released.
I also asked readers, “What Am I Like?” – in other words, did my crime fiction remind them of anyone else? Writers they mentioned included John Grisham, Robert Galbraith, Ruth Rendell and Jeffrey Archer, so I’m in good company. Take a look yourself – don’t forget, you can download samples of crime thrillers like The Bride’s Trail from Amazon. (I’ve given you the link for Amazon UK, but my books are also available on all other Amazon sites across the globe, and to order from bookshops in many countries.)
Stay in touch!
Do stay in touch with my newsletter and check the News page on this website for details of book launches, offers and events. I love reading my stories in public, talking to book groups and business networks and joining in the fun at literature festivals (I’ll be thrilled when it’s safe to run real-life events again. In the meantime, I’ve taken part in online litfests in Bristol, Tamworth and Crediton in the past year). Do drop me a line at aaabbottATaaabbott.co.uk if you need a speaker at your event. I’m also on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn, so feel free to connect with me there. I look forward to meeting you – and chatting about books!