Monday, July 16, 2012

Scene of the Crime with Author Denise Mina!

Denise Mina has been one of my favorite authors since I lost myself in reading Garnethill. Her sense of place (Glasgow, Scotland), her characters, her sheer skill in storytelling is incredible. In her Garnethill trilogy, she takes Maureen O'Donnell, a woman who's a substance abuser, who's definitely what today's society would call "marginalized" and shows us how resilient, how brave and how honest she can really be. The same can be said of Paddy Meehan, the young Catholic girl in her next trilogy, who has a dream of becoming a reporter. Paddy is an unlikely heroine with an unlikely dream in that day and age, but Mina brings her to life and has us rooting for Paddy with every turn of the page. Now she's got me following the career of Alex Morrow, a detective sergeant in Glasgow, with the same absorbed interest.

If you stop by tomorrow, you'll be able to read my review of one of Mina's standalone novels, Sanctum (published in the US as Deception). Denise Mina is definitely a go-to writer for me. I always have one of her books on standby on my to-be-read shelves. I know that, if none of the books I'm reading agrees with me, I can pick up that book and lose myself in it quite happily. If you've never read any of this award-winning author's books, I sincerely hope you'll find one and read it. I'm certain you'll be adding her to your list of favorite authors!

Denise Mina

Before we get to the interview, I have some links to share so you can get to know more about this author and her books:

More on Denise Mina's books

Now let's get to that interview, shall we?

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

To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved Scout as a character and identified with her completely as a tomboy who feels she doesn't really cut it as a girl. I've felt that all my life. I think I also fell in love with Atticus. My partner is, basically, Atticus.

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

I cycle every where and make Beyblades out of plasticine. I also draw Beyblades and play Beyblades and look at adverts for Beyblades on Youtube. I have two sons.

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

Danny DeVito
Danny DeVito. He has such range!

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

Sherlock Holmes. He's so gay at a time when no one really knew what that was. He didn't apologise or come to terms with it. He was just convinced of his own importance. I love him. I'd be a sidekick to him.

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?

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I've read it five times, enjoyed it every time and I still don't know what he's on about.

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 celebrated by developing insomnia and indigestion and then slept for a week. Seriously, I bought a bicycle with my advance.

The first time I saw a book of mine on a book shelf I stood next to it and my mum took a picture of me.

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?

Very like Parnell Hall: no one coming, being next to far more famous/ serious/ not covered in gravy (long story) writers is awful. I left my previous publisher in the UK but just before I did, when they knew I was leaving, they sent me on a 'punishment reading' in Darlington. It was for World Book Day and I only realised when I got there that they had asked eight local authors who all refused. They obviously couldn't get anyone else to go. A fight broke out between two people in the front row while I was reading - they were fighting about the author evaluation form. Actually, it was great fun and there was a good crowd there. You just can't tell how it's going to go.

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

Best thing: weight.

Worst thing: nothing to clean your finger nails on, nothing to smell, no spine to break, no corners to fold over, nothing physical.

On Sale Now!

Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Denise. We appreciate the opportunity to get to know you a little better.

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for my review of Sanctum!


  1. I remember Paddy Meehan very well, and I've wanted to read more of Mina's books but haven't had a chance yet. What a character Mina is! I love it that she would choose Danny Devito to play her. :D I must remember her when I get back to the library.

    1. Yes, you must, Barbara!

      (And is it too simplistic to say that anyone who writes characters as beautifully as she does must be a character herself?)

  2. I want to read the end of the Wasp season so much, and am waiting for it to come out is smaller softcover so I can carry it around to read. It looks so very intriguing. I have one of the Paddy Meehan books as well, which is on my - you guessed it - to be read book shelf. I think I need a holiday just to read mysteries and catch up with all the ones I want to read.

    I enjoyed reading this interview, thanks for doing it, Cathy. I liked how she had her picture taken with her newly published book on the bookshelf.

    1. I know what you mean-- no chores, no responsibilities... nothing to do but read, read, read. Sounds heavenly!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. This is such a fun series to do!


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