Our first 20-20 interviewee is Michelle Kidd a writer based in Bury St Edmunds.
What name do you write under? Michelle Kidd. there is another Michelle Kidd who is an American Christian fiction author, so important not to confuse us! I think we write different enough genres to be individual
Where are you from, live or work? I am originally from Cambridge in the UK. I now live and work in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. I currently work for the NHS at my local hospital.
Tell me two things that people may not know about you. I have five A Levels and I once turned down a blind date with jockey Frankie Dettori (he probably wont remember!)
Do you have any hobbies? Writing (!). Gardening. I also like reading, wine and cats – although not necessarily in that order…..
What is your favourite book(s) and why? I have so many books that I love. The ones that I could read again and again without getting bored are all the Harry Potters (yes, I am a self-confessed Harry Potter fan), anything by Stephen King – he is the ultimate storyteller – and also The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings. As a crime fiction writer I like Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly and Peter James – plus I enjoy any real crime/true crime/miscarriage of justice type books. One of my firm favourites is Murder at the Farm by Paul Foot, analysing the case of the murder of Carl Bridgewater.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer? I always wanted to be a writer from a very young age, but I’m not sure what inspired me. I always had my head in a book as a child, starting with Enid Blyton. I started bashing my own stories out on my mum’s old fashioned typewriter (no such things as computers in those days…) when I was about twelve years old. But being a writer isn’t an option when you discuss your future with the school careers adviser, so I opted for something more sensible. I ended up qualifying as a lawyer in the early 1990s.
What type of books/genre do you write? Crime fiction/thrillers.
How would you describe your writing style? I tend to write quite fast paced books – when I am writing I write very ‘visually’, as if I am watching my plot in a film. I write in ‘scenes’, not necessarily in strict chronological order, and move them about into the correct order as the story progresses.
What comes first for you – character, plot or setting? The general plot idea comes to me first – as I am writing in a series at the moment, the main characters are already established, but then I will flesh out some new ones to accompany the new storyline. The plot will change as I write – with other interconnecting plot ideas forming as the story gets written.
Do you have a writing routine? As I work full time for the NHS, my writing has to be squeezed into time off or at the weekend. I would love to be able to write every day. I write longhand – which I find works really well for me. The words tumble out of my brain quite quickly, and I find that I can scribble faster than I can type. When I then type the scribbles up (assuming I can read them) the story gets its first unofficial edit, which I find works well.
Do you become a ‘method’ writer? I get quite involved in my characters – I think characterisation is so important in a good book. You want believable characters, and characters that readers can identify with. I try to feel how my character would feel during a certain scene.
What are you currently working on? I am working on the fourth book in my DI Jack MacIntosh series. I also have a couple of other ideas bubbling away for some standalone books.
What has been the most fulfilling part of your writing career?
I think publishing my first book. As I self-publish, it is very satisfying to see how all the efforts made have come together.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given? Be the best you can be, and don’t give up.
What piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to become a writer? Write. Don’t think too much about the method of writing, just get the words flowing on the paper. Your own writing style will then develop.
What have you published recently? My third book in my DI Jack MacIntosh series was published in August 2020
Do you think there’s still some snobbery between commercial and self-publishing? I think there is – but I think self-publishing is getting a much better press. I think there are still people who believe a self-published book will always be of poorer quality, which is not the case. It is often hard to convince a reader to give an unknown self-published author a chance.
How do you market your writing? I find marketing and advertising the hardest part, and I am probably not very good at it. I am only really starting out in my writing career, so I am still testing the waters on marketing. I have dabbled in some Facebook ads, and will get into that more seriously once book four is available. I use my own Facebook pages for advertising and also Twitter. I have a newsletter that readers can subscribe to, which I try to send out once every 3-4 weeks. I have recently appeared in the local newspaper and am due on the local BBC radio shortly.
Where can people find your work? At the moment I am exclusive to Amazon, although I am thinking of branching out into the wider world at some point. I also have my own website www.michellekiddauthor.com where all my books are available to click through to Amazon.
My books links are:
The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh book 1) https://books2read.com/u/bW1Np1
Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh book 2) https://books2read.com/u/bMp5zX
The Fifteen (DI Jack MacIntosh book 3) https://books2read.com/u/bMP00A
Where can people find you on social media and online?
I have my own website www.michellekiddauthor.com
I also have a Facebook page www.facebook.com/michellekiddauthor
Thank you Michelle for answering the 20 questions, I wish you all the very best with book number four in the series.