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The International Writers Magazine: Interview

Linda Regan - Crime Writer
The Aby Davis interview

"Blood and splinters of bone spurted high in the air, the razor
sharp edges ripped into the top of her head..."

So begins my interview with Linda Regan:Crime writer. I didn't actually begin the interview with such an act of gratuitous violence, that would hardly be polite. This is in fact a line taken from her new book Passion Killers, a story of sexy secrets, beautiful women and murder most horrid. Sipping her latte amongst the daytime chit chat of Cafe Parisien, Linda cheerfully admits to being surprised at her own inclinations towards violence. (I should probably mention here that I'm still referring to the book). Sometimes, she admits, violence just seems incredibly appropriate. "I want to tell it like it is" She says earnestly, "and real life is like that."

Passion Killers is published by Crème de la Crime
ISBN 9780955158988

She spent time researching for her book conversing with real life Inspector Banhams, riding in the back of police cars, and knowing the world of crime outside the bright lights and well polished sets of TV drama.

As a well established actress, Linda Regan has had plenty of opportunity to tell stories, and it is something she has always had an interest in. A natural flair for story telling. "Although the first things I wrote were terrible!" she admits, revealing that at first the idea of being published was frightening. "I had no academic qualifications, but I was inspired by Jimmy Perry (writer of hit series Hi Di Hi, in which Linda had a starring role) who always told me to just go for it!"

However, it wasn't until she had a moment to pause from her showbiz life that she had the opportunity to take Perry's advice. During a stint in hospital, away from the stage and screen, the egos jostling for the best part and the lines to learn, she was presented with a challenge. A friend told her about a writing competition. With nothing to lose, and the opportunity to pursue an ongoing interest, she won a contract with crime publishing house Crème De la Crime, and secured herself a future as a writer. With four more books in the series, Regan feels thrilled and daunted with her success.

She compares the release of the second book to the nervous thrill felt on the second night of a successful play. Its exciting and nerve racking, never knowing if the book will meet the standards set by the first.

'Behind You!' The first book in the series received warm reviews. Tangled Web, a website dedicated to crime fiction, particularly likes the burgeoning relationship between Banham and Alison. This has obviously pleased Regan, who talks about these characters fondly, relishing the ongoing ambiguity of their friendship. The chemistry between them is touching, and I ask her if she'd ever consider writing romance.
"Oh no!" she laughs, shaking the idea off quickly. "I would rather write comedy, that's something I've always known."

A reference perhaps to her husband, Brian Murphy, star of seventies sitcom George and Mildred and now Last of the Summer Wine. She tells me it can be quite difficult having a famous husband, it is hard to find your own fame, your own recognition without anyone labelling you as 'the wife'. Linda, however, seems to have achieved it, and its obvious she's very passionate about leaving her own mark.

As a writer, its easy to imprint your footprint in the plot you create, or to give one of your devised characters a familiar personal trait. I ask the author of Passion Killers if she has seen herself in her book, if she has looked too deeply into the mind of her murderer, or plotted a police officer with her own face.

"My dad actually worked as a comic in a strip club once" she tells me, "and I remember being impressed with the women who worked there, they made me feel empowered. Female friendships are so intense, and I wanted to write about that". The women who work in Regan's invented strip club The Scarlet Pussy experience something life changing. Out of necessity and affection, they still remain friends twenty years later. The love and support they have for each other stands firm alongside the more violent parts of the novel. It is in these friendships that Regan casts herself.

The coffee in the cup has gone cold and she cannot express enough to me how important she believes friendship is. I ask if she wrote the book with specific friends in mind, " If it were to be filmed I could cast it tomorrow!"

Passion Killers is certainly exciting enough to be televised, it has the thrills, the spills, and (sorry I can't resist) the kills to keep the reader entertained. Excuse me for using a battered old cliché, but Linda Regan's second book also has a heart. The lead characters are sweet and likeable with their own problems and untold stories (Regan was silent on the matter of D.I. Banhams intriguing past), and a strong theme of loyalty and justice prevails. It is written by someone who wants to convey the gritty realism of true to life crime, whilst still celebrating comedy and romance. Regan has spent much of her life acting out other peoples stories, and now at last she has managed to find the words to tell one. And..... it is rather good.

© Aby Davis November 2007

Behind You! by Linda Regan
Daniel Alves review

Life long feuds, unsolved hatreds, and more than enough lies to twist the plot into a maze. This detective novel boasts all the themes that darken in the eye of betrayal; sex, money, and murder.

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