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Wednesday 20 July 2016

ℚ♫Blood Symmetry: Alice Quentin [5] - Kate Rhodes

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Blood Symmetry (12 July 2016, Witness Impulse, 353 pages), a Crime Thriller, book five of the Alice Quentin series.

"Rhodes goes from strength to strength with this acute reminder of how bureaucratic neglect produced mass tragedy. A fast-paced, riveting read." - Alex Marwood

"Alice is a vividly realised protagonist whose complex and harrowing history rivals the central crime storyline"
- Sophie Hannah Daily Express

A fast-moving, entertaining mix of sex, suspense and serial killings" - Washington Post

"Quentin is one of a cast of really believable and entertaining characters and both the plot and the writing keep one thoroughly engaged throughout"
 - Daily Mail

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Kate Rhodes; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Blood Symmetry, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"I don’t often listen to music while I write, but I love listening to it when I go for my daily walk/jog.  I’m a big Motown and soul fan so my IPod is full of Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince.

I also love great lyrics, so if I’m in the mood for thoughtful ballads I’ll switch to someone like Scott Matthews.  I try to mention him in all of my novels: he’s got a haunting voice, and deserves more success."
You can't but love those artists. I have put together a tiny compilation - I hope you enjoy it.

What was the inspiration for Blood Symmetry?
"First of all, thanks so much for inviting me to chat.  Writing can be a lonely business, so it’s always a pleasure to connect with people.

My latest book, BLOOD SYMMETRY, was inspired by a real life medical scandal, which claimed thousands of lives worldwide.  The tainted blood scandal began in the 1980s when viruses including HIV and Hepatitis C entered the blood supply chain and left thousands of patients with life threatening illnesses."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"BLOOD SYMMETRY is my most personal book yet.  It features forensic psychologist Dr Alice Quentin, who has appeared in all of my crime novels, but its central issue affected my own family deeply.

My husband received tainted blood in the 1980s and became dangerously ill with Hepatitis C. It took twenty years for him to receive an apology, and even longer for a woefully small amount of compensation to be paid.  It came too late for many sufferers: over 5000 people were infected in the UK alone, and over a thousand had died before getting reparation."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Blood Symmetry - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I really like the cover created by the excellent design team at Witness Impulse.  It fits the opening scenes of the book perfectly, showing an autumnal path leading into a dark wood.

The story begins with a hospital consultant being abducted when she is running near her home in London with her ten year old son.  I think the cover conveys the sense of danger just around the corner very well."
Why should we read Blood Symmetry and what sets it apart from the rest? 
"That’s a tough question!  You’re asking me to boast about what I do, which never feels comfortable, so let me just give you some background to my approach instead.

One of the things that make my books distinctive, is that they’re set in the part of London where I grew up.  I know the locations featured in my books intimately, and can visualise every landmark.  I want readers to feel like they’re walking the city’s streets as each story unfolds.

I also do a great deal of research by talking to experts and police officers.  I like every book to feel as real as possible; it always pleases me when a reader tells me they feel immersed in my books.  It’s my ambition to give readers that experience with every book I write."
Can you tell us something quirky about Blood Symmetry, its story and characters?
"I called my central character Alice, partly because I loved ALICE IN WONDERLAND as a child.  I loved the idea of taking a relatively naive character and plunging them into a strange world of intrigue and danger, which they have to learn to navigate."
Who would you recommend Blood Symmetry to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"My books often get compared to Nicci French, and other British writers of psychological crime.  They often have a historical theme, with the complex past of London featuring strongly in each book.

Some readers tell me that they also enjoy the ongoing relationship between Alice and DCI Burns, which began as a professional friendship, but deepens with each book in the series.

Some of my books do contain scenes of physical violence, but these are never gratuitous.  I include them because I have to show the full picture of the work done by the police team during a murder case."
If you could / wished to turn Blood Symmetry and the Alice Quentin series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"You’ve stumped me there!  The characters live in my head, so it’s hard to imagine which actors could step into their shoes.

Whoever plays Alice will need to be tiny: she’s five foot tall, with a delicate build, while DCI Burns is a huge Scottish former rugby player.

If the books ever do become a TV series, I’ll be happy to let the casting director make the choices for me.  It would be fascinating to see how someone else interpreted my books."
What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I wrote two books of poetry before becoming a crime writer.  I also love writing short stories; they’re great testing grounds for future novels.  You can play around with characters and themes before you have to commit yourself."
What is your writing process?
"I tend to plot my novels by hand in a notebook first.  Then I’ll write a one or two page synopsis and brief character outlines.  After that I begin my first draft, which takes 3 or 4 months.

Redrafting takes longer, I always think that it’s where the real work lies.  It requires real patience and a commitment to polish your story until it shines.  I work 5 or six days a week for around 6 hours per day. "
What is in store next?
"I have just finished the first book in a new series, called HELL BAY.  It’s set in a small island, in a village community, so it’s been a real departure from my previous books which are all set in London.  It was fun to imagine a completely different landscape!"
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"No pets, but I do have a favourite object.  I was lucky enough to win the Ruth Rendell prize in 2014, (Here’s a picture of me, receiving it from Ruth.)  It takes pride of place in my office, because I was a huge fan of Ruth Rendell’s tremendous writing.  It meant a great deal to meet one of my heroes!"

Brilliant memory and a great achievement! Thank you for sharing. We hope you have a great tour.

Blood Symmetry
Available NOW!

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1 comment:

CMash said...

Your interview has piqued my curiousity about this book and now it is on my TBR list. Thank you for sharing.