I loved reading Enid Blyton as a child – but as a teenager really got into Stephen King and James Herbert. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I began reading in the crime genre. Patricia Cornwell’s book Postmortem began my love of crime and she inspired my writing.

Sam Carrington

Sam Carrington

I trained as a nurse, and during the training had the opportunity to watch some post-mortems. This, together with my love of Patricia Cornwell’s books and her main character, Kay Scarpetta being a medical examiner, ensured my slightly macabre side came out. When I realised I wasn’t ever going to be chief medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, I began contemplating a career within the criminal justice system.

Although I had inside knowledge of many crimes and I worked with numerous violent offenders in my role as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator, I don’t write about these offences in a direct way. I use elements of them, and the men who committed them, to inform my writing. My writing is more psychological than straightforward crime, and although a crime is central to the story it is more about how it affects the characters.

I’m an edit-as-you-go writer. This can mean the process is slower – it takes me quite a long time to complete my first draft. Many, many authors advise against this way of writing but I can’t help myself. A first draft usually comes in at around 85,000 words.

I love watching crime and psychological dramas. If something is available as a box-set that’ll be me done-for – I’ll watch back-to-back episodes for hours and achieve nothing else that day! I also look out for the true-crime documentaries, as I think they are fascinating and can be a great source of inspiration for storylines.

One of my favourite novels isn’t a crime book! It’s The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. I had never really read outside of the crime genre (apart from the horror in my teens) until I joined my local book club. I was encouraged to read a wider range of books, even historical (which I would never have picked up before!) The latest book club pick that I enjoyed outside of my genre was Anna Mazzola’s The Unseeing.

I am obsessed with quiz shows. I used to laugh at my mum when she’d have to go home in time to see TV programmes – now I’m just as bad! My favourites are Pointless, The Chase and Eggheads. I was so excited when crime writers Mark Billingham and Val McDermid were on two of these shows! I’m always impressed if I get a string of right answers – but my knowledge of geography and politics is appalling so I’d never be able to apply to go on any of them!

I love being by the sea. Since a child, I’ve always been drawn to water and now find it to be a great stress-reliever. Maybe it’s the noise, or perhaps the power of the sea that fascinates me, either way, my life-long dream is to live as close to it as I can! Growing up I went on numerous day trips via coach with my mum and dad to Cornwall, so I think this also impacted on my love of it.

Leading on from that, I suffer from car sickness. On those long coach journeys, I have many memories of my mum having to stop the coach for me to be sick. It got better as I grew up, but there was a time when I couldn’t even go one minute in a car without needing a sick bag. I was such fun to take out! Weirdly, I was, and am, fine on boats and planes.

I have a plane phobia. Or rather, a things-that-fly-that-shouldn’t phobia. In my mind, it isn’t right that something so huge can stay in the air (I don’t care about the actual physics). I get a strong urge to hit the deck if a plane flies low, particularly jets. The red arrows flew over my house last year and I happened to be in the garden. I stood still and screamed until they’d gone. However, I love being IN a plane – flying is exhilarating. For my 34th birthday I had a flying lesson and I thoroughly enjoyed it.