When I tell people I work from home, they often ask me how I have the discipline to sit at my desk all day. I always answer the same way: sitting at my desk is easy, stepping away is what’s difficult. Because of all the jobs I’ve done over the years, making things up for a living is definitely the most fun I’ve ever had.
I wrote my first novel aged seven, holed up in my bedroom one hot summer, resisting my mother’s best efforts to herd me outside into the garden. 30 years later, I took up my pen again when my youngest started pre-school; diving into other worlds while he squabbled at the sand table and learned to share.
Inventing stories that had nothing to do with flying elephants or talking dogs felt like taking a holiday. And although I was always pleased to see my little one at the end of the morning, a part of me struggled to tear myself away from the keyboard.
Probably because I had to cram my writing into such a tiny window, I focused on short fiction which I published through lit mags, anthologies and newspapers. Looking back, there’s definitely a common theme; women weighted down by family life struggling to remember who they used to be. Rather different to the serial killer thrillers I write now!
These days, both my children are at ‘proper’ school so I have time to write the books I’ve always loved to read, psychological crime.
The hero of my series is Ziba MacKenzie, an ex Special Forces criminal profiler. Her job is hunting killers, her talent is thinking like them.
Gutsy, fierce and in your face, Ziba is confronting her own demons as well as society’s most dangerous minds, dealing with her husband’s premature death while fighting her feelings for his best friend
As a North London soccer mum, she and I couldn’t be more different which is possibly why she’s so much fun to write. From the moment I drop the kids off in the morning, I’m at my computer seeing the world through her eyes, breaking only for my Pilates class, to walk the dog or forage for chocolate and crisps.
On the days I’m not writing, I’m researching or recording for the new podcast I’ve launched with two other writers. Crime Girl Gang is a true crime series in which we analyse cold cases and then ‘solve’ from a fictional perspective. Think Serial meets Castle with a friends on the sofa feel and surprisingly, plenty of lols.
At three o’clock (or fifteen hundred hours, to use Ziba-speak) my work day comes to an end and I go and collect the boys from school.
Sometimes I go to writer talks in the evening (First Monday Crime and the Rif Raf events are favourites) but usually it’s the grind of homework, cooking and getting the boys to bed before the next day starts and I can become Ziba again; bringing the bad guys to heel and setting the world to rights.
Blood For Blood by Victoria Selman is published by Thomas & Mercer and is available now in ebook and paperback original.
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