Colette McBeth may be familiar to readers, not as an author, but as a crime correspondent for BBC News, where she worked for 10 years. She has obviously used this time to work on some great storylines, judging from her debut novel ‘Precious Thing’.
The book has been described as the British version of ‘Gone Girl’, which Colette is really pleased about “I know that ‘Gone Girl’ is one of those marmite books, but I loved it, there are parts of the plot lines that are similar, but it’s completely different in atmosphere and in the conclusion.”
It is however a good reference point when trying to describe the book, which is about the story of a journalist, Rachel who attends a press conference in Brighton where she discovers that her best friend Clara has disappeared. Rachel tries to find out what has happened to Clara, has she disappeared, committed suicide or been murdered?
Colette initially started to think about the main characters fifteen years ago, and found that her career helped her to develop the plot and her writing. Unsurprisingly she found the journalistic part of the story easy to write about “I haven’t based it all on the BBC newsroom, I worked for Sky News as well and what I’ve done is taken what I’ve known to the extreme.”
The book is a dark psychological thriller, although there’s very little actual violence within the story, “weirdly for someone who is writing crime fiction I’m not comfortable with reading or writing about really violent things.” There has been some interest in the television rights, but for now Colette is concentrating on the book itself and will let the rest take care of itself.
Despite the fact that Colette is caught up in a whirlwind of marketing and publicity for ‘Precious Thing’ she is currently working on her second novel, which she is hoping to finish in January. She has still found time to visit Harrogate for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, where she is appearing on the New Blood panel for new writers, which is being chaired by Val McDermid.
At the end of the interview I asked Colette what one question would she ask herself, “I don’t know I haven’t prepped my questions for myself,” she replied, and from reading her debut novel I think that it could be a long time before she needs to prepare questions to interview someone else again.
During the interview we had a really interesting discussion about the book, before we both agreed how difficult it is to talk about anything else without giving the whole story away. So if you want to know any more about ‘Precious Things’, you are just going to have to read it yourself.
This interview first appeared on the Yorkshire Times website on 25 June 2013 and can be seen online here. Paul Morrison is the author of The White Swan, for more details go to www.paulmorrison.co.uk.