‘I trained as a bounty hunter as research for my debut novel’

Deep Down Dead author Steph Broadribb on what makes her tick as a reader and a writer

What was the first book to make an impression on you?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles (the first Sherlock Holmes book I read) – as a child I sneaked it under the covers and read it by torchlight long after my bedtime. It terrified me and I adored it!

What was your favourite book as a child?

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe by CS Lewis. The world of Narnia is so richly painted I was spellbound by the book from beginning to end.


And what is your favourite book or books now?

State Of Fear by Michael Crichton, Killing Floor by Lee Child, The House On The Strand by Daphne du Maurier, The Good Girl by Mary Kubica.

What is your favourite quotation?

“You weren’t born to just pay bills and die.” – Anon.

Who is your favourite fictional character?

Not sure I can just pick one – it’s a fight between Jack Reacher and Sherlock Holmes!

Who is the most under-rated Irish author?

I’m not sure that he’s under-rated, but I love Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series.

Which do you prefer – ebooks or the traditional print version?

I’m happy reading both, but if I’ve got the choice I go for a traditional print book.

What is the most beautiful book you own?

A 1937 first edition of the illustrated version of Primrose Cumming’s Silver Snaffles. It’s battered and a little tatty, but still beautiful.

Where and how do you write?

On my laptop, anywhere I can snatch a spare moment.

What book changed the way you think about fiction?

Andy Martin’s Reacher Said Nothing. It’s a fascinating study into the writing of a thriller (Make Me), the writer of the thriller (Lee Child), and the writing process as a craft.

What is the most research you have done for a book?

I trained as a bounty hunter in California as research for my debut novel Deep Down Dead so I could make sure my bounty hunter protagonist was as authentic as possible. It was a fascinating and very fun experience.

What book influenced you the most?

Gosh, that’s a hard one! I don’t think I can pinpoint any one book as I think I’m influenced by everything I read in some way or other.

What book would you give to a friend’s child on their 18th birthday?

I don’t have a go-to book for that situation. It’d depend on their interests and reading habits – I always try to match the book to the person.

What book do you wish you had read when you were young?

I don’t regret not having read any book in particular, although I wish I’d read more classics than I did. Still, I guess there’s still time!

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Published writers are the ones who keep writing and sending stuff out. Never give up!

What weight do you give reviews?

As blogger (at crimethrillergirl.com) I review books that I love. I’m only just starting to experience reviews from the other side of the fence – but I do think they’re a great way to connect with readers and discover how they find the book.

Where do you see the publishing industry going?

It’s changing all the time, and there are more options than ever for how to get published – from the traditional bigger publishers, to some super exciting indies, through to self-publishing. What that means in the longer term who can say, but with more digital first and digital only imprints emerging I think things are going to keep changing for a long while yet.

What writing trends have struck you lately?

The trend for psychological thrillers doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down.

What lessons have you learned about life from reading?

Oh gosh, so much. From details of countries I’ve never visited to the atmosphere and tensions of historical periods I’ve never studied, through to the generousity and cruelty of human nature. I think every book you read teaches you something, even if you’re just reading it because it’s a damn good story.

What has being a writer taught you?

If you want to be a writer you need to sit down and write. Novels aren’t written overnight – they’re a marathon rather than a sprint – so the perseverance and determination to keep writing, even on the days you really don’t feel like it, is essential.

Which writers, living or dead, would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Michael Crichton, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Martyn Waites, Jilly Cooper, Charlane Harris, Daphne du Maurier.

What is the funniest scene you’ve read?

I love Jilly Cooper’s humour – her naked tennis scene in Riders was genius.

What is your favourite word?

Wibble. Because it makes me laugh!

If you were to write a historical novel, which event or figure would be your subject?

Marilyn Monroe.

What sentence or passage or book are you proudest of?

As I’ve only had one book published so far, I have to say my debut novel – Deep Down Dead.

What is the most moving book or passage you have read?

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. It’s a page-turning thriller and utterly heartbreaking all at the same time.

Steph Broadribb is a graduate of the MA Creative Writing at City University London, and trained as a bounty hunter in California. Her debut novel, the action thriller Deep Down Dead is just out in paperback