Monday, March 26, 2012

Scene of the Crime with Author A.D. Scott!

One of the best books I read last year was A Small Death in the Great Glen by A.D. Scott, so you know I've been wanting to interview her for Scene of the Crime. What I didn't anticipate was that it would take a little more effort to track this talented writer down.

A.D. Scott
A.D. Scott lives quite simply in a small fishing village in Vietnam. She's a bit off the grid-- she's not on Twitter, and she's not on Facebook. She does have a website, and she has a blog that hasn't been updated for a while, but track her down I did. What a delight she is-- and you'll be finding this out for yourself as you read the interview!

Deborah was born and raised in the area about which she writes, the Highlands of Scotland in the 1950s. A Small Death in the Great Glen was published when she was sixty-four, and she now has A Double Death on the Black Isle available for us to read. I just finished it, and you'll be able to read my review of it tomorrow.  Deborah's hard at work on the next books in the series, and I can't wait to read them. If you'd like to know more about the interesting life of this author, I recommend reading her bio section on her website.

Now let's get to that interview!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

I started reading Enid Blyton as I suppose every child did in Britain at that time – loved the Famous Five. But the first real book was a school prize when I was nine. It was by Alan Burgess, the story of Gladys Aylward, The Small Woman, later made into a film ‘The Inn of the Sixth Happiness’.

The book was far too grow-up for me and I remember struggling with it whilst being absolutely enthralled by the setting of the story – China in the 1930s and I have been curious about Asia ever since.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

I ride a motorbike. I love getting out into the mountains along the Chinese border. I love riding around the little villages and through the rice paddies, stopping at tea stalls, just sitting with a glass of sugarcane juice with limes in it, chatting with the locals, taking time out to do very little. (I live in Vietnam.)

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

Rosemarkie North beach on the Black Isle
So difficult to choose – hire a bicycle and just catch ferries across the big river to the small islands – never mind where the boat is going, just let go and trust that wherever you land it will be interesting.

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren – absolutely wonderful actor. Plus she is good looking – always a help.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction? 

Now that is an impossible question – so many to choose from; Jackson Brodie in Kate Atkinson’s novels. The policewoman [Hazel Micallef] in Inger Ash Wolfe’s Canadian series. Inspector Vera Stanhope from Ann Cleeves. Joe Faraday from English writer Graham Hurley, and I am a passionate reader of Donna Leon so her Italian police inspector [Guido Brunetti] is definitely one of my heroes, and he sounds very dishy.  [Something tells me we share a lot of the same reading DNA because these are all some of my favorites, too!]

Name one book that you've read that you wish you had written. What is it about that book that made it come to mind?

I am a huge fan of writers who can transport you to a time and place where you feel you know a landscape intimately from the author’s description – even if it is landscape completely foreign to you.

My all time favourite in that area is A Summer of Drowning by John Burnside, published by Jonathon Cape.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

I did what I always do when I receive momentous news, I make a cup of tea. As I live quite remotely I receive all momentous information via email. As for seeing my books in a shop or library – I would love that. I’ve never seen my book in a shop, I’ve never met a reader I didn’t know, I’ve never met my editor or all those lovely people at Simon & Schuster, nor my agent in New York…oh dear, now I’m sounding totally reclusive – which I’m not, I’m just tucked away in a tiny fishing village that had no name, in a very basic cottage in the one street with no name, but a very nice river with lovely fishing boats at the bottom of my garden.

I don't know if you've seen it, but I love Parnell Hall's video about book signings. What is the most unusual experience you've had at a book signing or author event?

See above – I don’t know what I’d do at a book signing but I know I’d be a nervous wreck.

What's the best thing about eBooks? What's the worst?

For me – isolated author – see above – eBooks are a huge blessing. My alternative is book shops in the nearest small town that stocks books sold lost left behind by tourists and backpackers – not a great selection.

However, when I travel I can only buy a limited number of real books (weight considerations) so I will only buy a book I can read and re-read. And yes, the experience is quite different.

I liken it to going to hear live music or downloading into my iPod. Not at all comparable experiences – but how many of us can get the real thing? And I love my iPod and my eBooks; I just don’t compare apples with oranges.

What’s the worst thing? eBooks don’t smell fresh, new, no one has read this yet, when you download them.

I’m on the final edit of book three and about to embark on book four in the Highland Gazette series, and I’m sending out wishes and dreams that I eventually get to America to meet some of readers and say thank you in person --  and hopefully walk into a bookstore and behave badly by telling everyone, "Hey, that’s mine-- I wrote that!"

On Sale Now!
Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Deborah. We appreciate the chance to get to know you a little better.

It would be wonderful if you could come here to America to see your books on the shelves and to meet some of your readers, and I have to admit that I would hope that trip includes a stop in Scottsdale, Arizona, at my favorite mystery bookshop, The Poisoned Pen. No one would be able to keep me away!

I also must thank you for the suggestion on where to stay when Denis and I stay in the Inverness area next year. I'm longing to get back to the Highlands.

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


  1. How very interesting. I'm glad you tracked Deborah down, Cathy. I want to read her books and this was a reminder about that. Looking forward to hearing what you think about the new one.

    1. Kay, I'm glad I was able to remind you-- you're missing out on some excellent reading!

  2. Fascinating woman. I must keep my eyes open for her books.

  3. I'm so glad you did an interview with Deborah! She is one of my favorite authors and I can't wait for the third book to come out in Nov.!

  4. When I finished A Small Death in a Great Glen, I felt as if I was leaving behind a new group of good friends. How charming to meet the woman behind the book!

    This past weekend, I finished The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe and really enjoyed meeting Hazel Micallef - what a surprise to see her mentioned by Deborah.

    1. When she mentioned some of her favorite characters, I wondered if she'd taken a look at my bookshelves here in the house!

      I had the same feeling when I finished A Small Death in the Great Glen. It was wonderful to be amongst them all again as I read the second book in the series.


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