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Interviews

Why I Moved Over to the Dark Side: Hush Hush by Mel Sherratt

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Mel Sherratt © 18 October 2018.
Posted in the Magazine ( · Crime · Interviews ).

It might come as a shock to some people when they read my gritty books that I actually started out writing women’s fiction. Back then, my inspiration came from authors such as Adele Parks, Lisa Jewell, Marian Keyes and JoJo Moyes and it gives me immense pleasure to see them still writing huge bestsellers and enjoying international success.

When I wrote The Estate Series, as well as then working as a housing officer for the local authority, I had started to read more crime. Hence my next books began to get a little darker, becoming a cross between women’s fiction and crime thrillers.

You see, I like to write about fear and emotion. I like to write whydunnits, and I like to be with victims of crime as they go through their fall-outs or comebacks, whatever the outcome. I’m not afraid to touch on strong topics that some people might not be comfortable with, so there’s an element of psychological thriller in some of them too.  But by using a female main character, DS Grace Allendale, in my new book Hush Hush, I can show her often getting too emotional as she seeks justice in her role in the police service. Plus having a police officer’s point of view as well as victims and suspects gives me a great way to work in some twisty-turny plots.

There’s a lot of advice out there for writers, one in particular is write what you know. Well… don’t tell anyone but I’ve never actually committed murder… I just write what excites me and that’s rooting for an underdog. When I’m watching television, I like being scared to the point that I’m hiding behind a cushion, or looking through my hands or even, on the odd occasion, shouting ‘don’t go into the basement or if you do at least turn the light on!’

I like getting involved with everyday stories, those situations that spiral out of control and before he or she knows it, they’re in a whole heap of trouble. It makes for some interesting reviews though, as often my characters get under people’s skin a little too much.

Writing what excites me can be done with research but books also have to stay real. So who do I read to inspire me? I started with Ian Rankin, (Rebus), Peter James (Roy Grace) and Mark Billingham (Tom Thorne) to study not only the police procedural elements, but also how to hook, set scenes, work in red herrings and give out subtle clues. As well as these authors, I read Martina Cole, Elizabeth Haynes, Mandasue Heller and Lynda la Plante. I found amongst their pages women of courage – strong women who were often knocked down but would rally to get back up again. More recently writers such as Clare Mackintosh, Caroline Mitchell, Angela Marsons, Mark Edwards and C.L. Talyor have given me hours of pleasure.

So, through reading all these genres, I found that I liked to write a mixture – a mash-up of genres, if you like. I hope that readers will feel empathy for some of my characters… and not necessarily just the victims.

(c) Mel Sherratt

About Hush Hush:

A gripping new series from million-copy bestseller Mel Sherratt

‘An absolute masterpiece. Twisty, turny and full of surprises!’ ANGELA MARSONS

‘Mel Sherratt’s books are as smart and edgy as her heroines’ CARA HUNTER

‘Twists and turns and delivers a satisfying shot of tension’ RACHEL ABBOTT

A killer is on the loose, attacking people in places they feel most safe: their workplaces, their homes. It’s up to DS Grace Allendale to stop the murders, and prove herself to her new team.

All clues lead to local crime family the Steeles, but that’s where things get complicated. Because the Steeles aren’t just any family, they’re Grace’s family. Two brothers and two sisters, connected by the violent father only Grace and her mother escaped.

To catch the killer, Grace will have to choose between her team and her blood. But who do you trust, when both sides are out to get you?

An unforgettable thriller that fans of MARTINA COLE and CARA HUNTER won’t be able to put down.

Order your copy online here.


My novels take you to the heart of the crime. I write police procedurals, psychological suspense and crime dramas - fiction with a punch. Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer's Association) Dagger in Library Award, my inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes. Since 2012, I’ve sold over one million books. All eleven of my crime novels have been bestsellers, each one climbing into the Kindle UK top 10 and I've had several number ones. I've also had numerous Kindle All-star awards, for best read author and best titles. I also write women's fiction under the pen name of Marcie Steele. Stirred with Love, The Little Market Stall of Hope and Heartbreak and The Second Chance Shoe Shop are out now. I live in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with my husband and terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer) and make liberal use of my hometown as a backdrop for some of my books. You can find out more at my website www.melsherratt.co.uk or I'm on Twitter at @writermels
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