I’ve loved crime fiction since I could read. I learnt about the different police ranks from Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven books and then moved on to Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew. I was shocked to hear at a recent event that Keene wasn’t a real person but a stable of writers. I’m gutted although I doubt it would have made any difference to me as a child.
I wrote my first book, In Bitter Chill, while living in Greece. It’s feels like a different life now and the only thing I miss are my friends and the food. The heat you can keep. What’s the point of waking up every day and knowing that it’ll be sunny? I love extremes of climate and you get that where I live in the Peak District.
I don’t plot my novels before I begin writing. I decide on a premise and the tone of the narrative. For A Patient Fury, I decided to explore the likelihood of a mother being responsible for the killing of all her family which is usually a male crime.
I went on a ghost tour to research part of the plot. One of my characters runs a ghost walk around my fictional town. I took part in an evening walk and it was great fun. You get a sense of a hidden history of a place even if you don’t seen any evidence of the supernatural.
I love being in the Peak District which has got to be the most atmospheric place I’ve ever lived. It can be very eerie at night and during the inclement weather which makes it a perfect place for a murder.
I’m addicted to Hammer and folk horror films. My partner writes about TV and film so there’s always plenty to choose from but I particularly like rural folk stories where something is off kilter.
Bookshops and libraries rock! Writing can be an incredibly insular profession and I spend a lot of my time hunched over a computer. Doing events gets you out and about and meeting your readers. The only problem with bookshops is that I invariably ending bringing home a bagful of books. I can’t resist them.
I’m a big Scandi fan and my favourite country is Iceland which I’ve visited six times. I even met my partner there. I’d struggle to choose my favourite Nordic writer but, at a push it’d have to be Yrsa Sigurdardottir.
I do a bit of choral singing and have recently been preparing for our local wells dressing service. This is an old Derbyshire tradition where a village spring is garlanded with flowers around a theme. The displays are spectacular and I love the meeting of pagan and Christian traditions.
I’m currently imbibed in the 1950s as part of my research for my next book. It’s the first time I’ve written about a period when I wasn’t alive so I can’t rely on my memory but I’ve been looking at old photos and I can sense the decade coming alive through clothes and music.
A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward is out now (Faber & Faber, £12.99)