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Guest Author - Anne Cassidy

What inspired you to write ‘The Murder Notebooks’ series?

I had been watching a lot of box sets of American TV series (The Wire, The Shield, Mad Men and The Sopranos). I loved the way the story developed over time with plot twists. I liked to get to know the main characters and stay with them for a while. I decided I would like to write a long twisting story with lots of murder in it.

Is being an author all you expected it to be?

Being an author is a terrific job. I spend my time making up stories and seeing if I can make a book out of them. It has its downsides though. It can be quite lonely and sometimes, because you work alone, it can be hard to motivate yourself.

What advice would you give to a young author?

Write every day, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes. Collect your work in a folder, like a portfolio. Read a lot. Ask friends and relatives to read your work and give you feedback. Try and act on that feedback and improve what you’ve written. Never give up!

Are any of the characters in your series based on anyone you know or have known?

Rose is a little bit like me when I was a teenager. She’s awkward and stroppy and finds it hard to make friends. When she does make a friend she holds onto them tightly and is heartbroken when she is treated badly (like in KILLING RACHEL). When she falls in love (with Joshua) she does it wholeheartedly. She also wears black and white and when I was a teenager I wore a lot of black for a while. When I bought something new my dad would roll his eyes and say, What colour is it? Let me guess, black? Also my mother often appears in my books (she makes a very brief appearance in book four, DEAD AND BURIED, in a school playground).

You have won many awards, which one would you say has the most importance to you?

My book LOOKING FOR JJ won the Teenage Book Award in 2004. This is my most important award because it was the first time my books had been noticed. The thrill it gave me was indescribable.

Are you reading a book at the moment? If so what?

I have just read a book called A COMMONPLACE KILLING by Sian Busby. It’s an adult crime novel set in the year 1946. Terrific stuff, full of period detail and very sad.

You were a teacher for 20 years, what made you leave and become a full time author?

I loved being a teacher and had some of the happiest days of my life working in schools. But twenty years is a long time to do the same thing. I began to write for teens when I’d been a teacher for 10 years. So the last ten years I was writing and teaching at the same time. Then I thought, Why not give writing a go? So I gave up teaching in 2000. Sometimes, when I watch TV programmes like, Educating Yorkshire, I wish I was back in the classroom.

Do you have an all time favourite author and someone you admire?

I like lots of authors. Some of my favourites are Anne Tyler, Kate Atkinson, Maggie O’Farrell, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham and many many more.

Do you have any hobbies that don’t involve reading, writing or drawing?

No. I never was a ‘hobbies’ kind of person although I have, in the past taken up things and dropped them.

What are your plans/hopes for the future in your career as an author?

I hope to be able to write lots more books. I have many more stories up my sleeve.


Find out more about Anne Cassidy's new book Dead And Buried here.