Today With Sally Spedding

More chatting  with authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair,, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of months. 

So far I’ve interviewed Rebecca Bryn:, Thorne Moore: , Matt Johnson: and Christoph Fischer: . Over the next few weeks I’ll be introducing them all and I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance. There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of who, as usual, will be filming the event.

 Today I’m bringing you …  author Sally Spedding!!! A good friend, a brilliant writer of things “creepy and suspenseful”.

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Hi Sally, welcome. It’s lovely to be her with you today

 Hi Judith, glad to be here.

Let’c start with a question most of the authors like to talk about. What were you like at school?

Old Palace School, Croydon,  a convent secondary school run by High Anglican nuns, was quite a leap from a Porthcawl primary! An incredible old building, whose dark, granite walls still pop up in my writing. Apparently, Elizabeth1 stopped there on her travels, and the place felt steeped in history. My main preoccupation was whether or not the nuns wore any knickers beneath their voluminous robes, and later on at Withington Girls’ School in Manchester, studying the pedigrees of Thoroughbred racehorses evolved from just three Arabian stallions, running a betting ‘ring’ and regularly jumping out of the window during Maths.

Were you good at English?

At Withington, we had an inspiring teacher who did read out my work. You only need one…

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To keep writing what I want to read.

Which writers inspire you?

Too many to list, but  Emile Zola, Thomas Mann, Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Daphne du Maurier whom I’d read before starting out, still inspire me. Currently, Johan Theorin’s crime novels tick a lot of  boxes.

So, what have you written?

Since 2001, eight published noir crime/thriller/supernatural novels beginning with Wringland, set on the haunted Fens.; How to Write a Chiller Thriller; ‘Strangers Waiting’- a collection of short stories (now e-bk only); Crime short stories which are included in many outlets and CWA antholgies. Most recently, ‘Trespass’ in ‘The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories.’ I have also written poetry for the past 20 years, exploring mainly betrayal and injustice. What lies beneath… Although many have won prizes and been widely published, I have yet to organise a collection.











*All my titles and many excerpts can be seen on  and most on Amazon. For earlier books now out of print, Abe Books can supply them.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Delphine Rougier is the young, lead character in my new French crime series set mainly near Le Mans. Despite her impoverished background and a demeaning job, she dreams of becoming a gendarme. However, she must navigate her way through lies, treachery and danger to realise her ambition.

What are you working on at the minute?

This crime series. ‘Footfall’  and ‘Featherblade’ are finished. ‘Fearless’ is still in progress.

What genre are your books?

Like life, which can’t be compartmentalised, they cross genres. Crime is their core, but often involving historical/psychological/supernatural elements.











What draws you to this genre?My family background and ongoing experiences in this world of ours.

How much research do you do?Setting is crucial, and always the start, so I have to be there and bring back visual imagery. Even a shell or  a few leaves…  By the time the book is finished, there will be a thick folder of ‘on the hoof’ information gathered but not necessarily used. It’s there as bedrock.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

In my head, all the time. Part-time and snatched moments. Life is complicated.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

First thing, post-dreaming.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Longhand, with drawings, maps etc. Then editing while typing on to a computer.

Where do  your ideas come from?

Observation. Being far too nosey.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

When the setting’s established, I ask, who’s there? Why? Who’s been there? What’s happened?

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Getting the best words in the right order, and keeping things clear for the reader.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Several characters in ‘The Yellowhammer’s Cradle’ a gothic horror, historical novel, set in Argyll, need to speak in dialect, to varying degrees, without confusing the reader. They had to be consistent.


What is the easiest thing about writing?

Sitting down!

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

At least a year for writing. Another for typing up/editing.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?


What book/s are you reading at present?

Am well into ‘Motherland’ by Thorne Moore, and ‘The Luck of the Weissensteiners’ by Christoph Fischer, and really enjoying them. Will need a complete break to be able to continue and finish.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

Our daughter, Hannah Spedding is a professional proof reader and doesn’t miss a trick.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

No. I do it while it’s fresh in the mind. Editing poetry however, seems never-ending.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

It’s crucial, as is a shout line, blurb, and author information. For an original-looking image, it may pay to look further than the usual internet stockists. With a mainstream publisher, the final choice is usually theirs.

How are you publishing this book and why? e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

‘The Yellowhammer’s Cradle’ will be published under the Death Watch Books imprint by Publish&Print.   Dave Lewis can be relied upon to create a quality product.


Meanwhile, several mainstream publishers are reading my Delphine Rougier series, as my current publisher, Sparkling Books is no longer handling fiction. All part of the publishing roller-coaster that many authors experience.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

It can be very useful indeed, but the danger is to overdo it, which ultimately becomes counter-productive.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

I admit to having a problem with this.

What is your favourite motivational phrase.

KBO  (Thank you, Winston Churchill)

What is your favourite book and why?

‘The Pledge’ by the late Friedrich Duürrenmatt. A study in obsession, in a picture postcard setting which becomes ever more claustrophobic and full of menace.

What is your favourite film and why?

Jeanne de Florette, for its setting and all-too believable character motivations.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Jesus Christ. To find out more about his conception.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be true to yourself, and don’t be tempted jump on current ‘bandwagons.’

How can readers discover more about you and you work?


Everything is on it, including links to Facebook and Twitter.


 Thank you so much, Sally. Time for a cup of tea, I think

Lovely. Thank you, Judith!