Anne Coates, Crime Thriller Author
Anne Coates has released a crime thriller series series featuring freelance journalist, Hannah Weybridge. All are available to buy now.
Let’s Place Anne Under the Spotlight!
Tell us a little about yourself and your books, including the genre(s) you write in.
Having worked in publishing and journalism most of my adult life, I have had a foot in both the editing and writing camps.
My short stories have been published in various women’s magazines and I have written seven non-fiction books.
However, 2016 saw the realisation of a dream: my crime thriller Dancers in the Wind was published by Urbane Publications, followed in 2017 by Death’s Silent Judgement, Songs of Innocence in 2018, and my latest, Perdition’s Child, was published in February this year.
Set in the 1990s, the series features freelance journalist Hannah Weybridge who lives in my area of South East London.
What project are you working on now?
When I finished Perdition’s Child, I had an idea for another series that is still bubbling away on the back burner.
I also started to write a standalone psychological thriller, inspired by one of my short stories so I have the beginning and the end but I still have a lot to write in the middle.
During lockdown I found it difficult to concentrate but I eventually hit on an idea for the fifth Hannah Weybridge novel and have found writing a book set in the 1990s a reassuring diversion from life in the present.
How do you choose the genre(s) you write in?
I think the crime thriller genre chose me after I wrote a lot of dark tales with a twist for magazines.
The first story I had published was a “confession” which involved a crime – but no murders!
Is there any particular author or book that’s influenced you, either growing up or as an adult?
Everything I’ve read has probably influenced me to a greater or lesser extent, beginning with Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven.
I was intrigued after reading Simone de Beauvoir’s L’Invitée (She Came to Stay) that she’d written it to purge herself of a young woman who had threatened her relationship with Sartre. I loved the idea of ridding myself of people who had hurt or upset me. Strangely in writing the Hannah Weybridge series I haven’t done that – yet.
Is anything in your books based on real life experiences?
Yes. Dancers in the Wind was inspired by interviews I did with a prostitute and a police officer based in Kings Cross for a national newspaper.
My journalism has informed my themes and then I let my imagination wander. There are some experiences told to me by my family many years ago and some narrative non-fiction I have worked on have given me basic ideas for characters and situations which I then fictionalise.
How do you come up with your titles?
From favourite poets: Dancers in the Wind – John Dryden who described a prostitute as “she dances in the wind”: Death’s Silent Judgement – adapted from a line in an Andrew Marvell poem, “Mourning”; Songs of Innocence – Blake who had his “vision” in Peckham Rye, where the first body is found; Perdition’s Child – Othello, Shakespeare and St Luke’s Gospel 17:12.
Do you have any hidden talents?
If I do, they are so well hidden I haven’t discovered them yet.
You’re hosting a literary dinner party, which four authors would you invite (alive or dead)?
This is a challenge.
I’d have to include Charles Dickens for his amazing capacity to eat and drink (and still function!); James Baldwin as I love his books which had a profound effect on me; Muriel Spark for her wit and wisdom and George Elliott whose life was as fascinating as her fiction still is.
What are five words that describe your writing process?
Draft, print, rewrite, print, edit, rewrite – punctuated by sighs.
Which would you rather do: Never write another story or never read another book?
That is such a difficult choice and my answer would probably vary depending on what stage of writing I was at in my WIP.
What is the funniest typo or error you’ve ever written?
My typos are rarely funny just embarrassing. However as an editor of a magazine, I once emailed a doctor asking him to send me a “head shit”. A rather terse reply followed: “I assume you mean a photo.”
How do you come up with names for your characters?
Often a name just comes to me and seems so right for a specific character.
I always check with popular names in the year the character was born. I don’t choose the most popular but fifth or sixth in the chart.
For my Hannah Weybridge series I have to be careful about reusing names as minor characters tend to reappear in a later book.
As I get into writing a book I may change a name. That happened with at least two characters in Perdition’s Child.
With my protagonist, I made a good choice, as if you Google Hannah Weybridge, you get my books!
Who is the most supportive person in your life when it comes to your writing?
I have been so fortunate that my close friends are fabulous in their support. They’re great at keeping me focused when I feel like giving up. However, I don’t show my early drafts to anyone although I do sometimes discuss ideas.
Once I showed some opening chapters to my daughter who pointed out a problem, which I solved by making it crucial to a particular character. I’d love to be able to run lots more chapters by her but she’d an English teacher so doesn’t have much spare time.
What is your most favourite word and why?
I was going to say I don’t have one ¬but then realised I use fabulous a lot ¬– ties in with my love for Ab Fab.
What is your least favourite word and why?
Sweet – as in that’s sweet of you. Always sounds patronising to me.
You can find Anne Coates in the following places:
Facebook: Anne Coates Facebook
Twitter: Anne Coates Twitter
Instagram: Anne Coates Instagram