Heleen’s life of crime started when she was 8 in Mexico (a cigarette from her mother, if you must know). Several decades and continents later, she’s still not confessed and choses to incriminate other people in her novels.
A Dutch immigrant living with her husband and two kids in Glasgow, she was selected as a Crime in the Spotlight author at Bloody Scotland 2018 for her suspense debut ‘In Servitude’, which won the silver medal for best European fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies at London Book Fair.
Her feminist corporate thriller ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ was published by Red Dog Press. It was a finalist in the USA’s Next Generation Indie Books Awards 2020 and came third in the inaugural Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year award.
Read Heleen’s exclusive poem for Friends of the Bay members here.
Rob Parker is a married father of three, who lives in Warrington, UK. The author of the Ben Bracken thrillers and Crook’s Hollow, he enjoys a rural life on an old pig farm (now minus pigs), writing horrible things between school runs. Rob writes full time, attends various author events across the UK, and boxes regularly for charity.
He spends a lot of time in schools across the North, encouraging literacy, story-telling and creative-writing, and somehow squeezes in time to co-host the For Your Reconsideration film podcast, appear regularly on The Blood Brothers Crime Podcast, and is a member of the Northern Crime Syndicate.
Lesley Kara is the Sunday Times bestselling author of standalone psychological thrillers: The Rumour, Who Did You Tell and The Dare.
The Rumour was the highest selling crime fiction debut of 2019 and a Kindle No.1 bestseller. It has sold in over 18 countries and been optioned for TV by Cuba Pictures.
Alongside fellow author, Lauren North, Lesley is the co-host of In Suspense, a pod/vodcast for fans and writers of crime fiction. Born in Chelmsford, Essex, Lesley worked for many years as a lecturer and manager in a large college of further education in south east London.
Lesley is also an alumna of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. She now lives on the North Essex coast and writes full-time.
Brian was born in Glasgow and brought up in Grangemouth. After attending Glasgow University enough of the time to get a degree, he taught maths in Edinburgh for a couple of years before moving to Nairn in the Scottish Highlands, where he stayed for over forty years bringing up his family. His wife passed away in 2010. Brian has since remarried, and in 2017 they relocated to the Dundee area to be nearer his grown-up children and grandchildren.
Brian is retired from a life in education, both working and learning, and now focuses on his life-long passion – writing. He has published four books in the ‘Digital’ series, featuring computer entrepreneur Martin McGregor and DS Amanda Pitt (now invalided out) and an ensemble cast that includes young hacker Michael, Amanda’s colleague Pete McLeod, and PI Grant Cairns. The latest, ‘The CalDat Investigation’, has just been released in ebook format, with print to follow. He occasionally writes short fiction and a travel blog.
Brian’s interests are reading, tech, music, golf, and travel. He is an active member of his local Rotary, and also the Angus Writers’ Circle.
Nikki Smith studied English Literature at Birmingham University, before pursuing a career in finance. Following a ‘now or never’ moment, she applied for a Curtis Brown Creative course where she started writing her debut novel, All In Her Head which was longlisted for the Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ prize and was described by Lesley Kara as ‘A clever and emotionally charged debut,’ and TM Logan as ‘Brilliantly written with plenty of surprises along the way.’
She lives near Guildford with her husband and two daughters and a cat called Saffi who thinks she’s a dog. Her second novel, Look What You Made Me Dowill be published in hardback by Orion on 1 April 2021.
You can read about the inspiration behind Nikki’s first novel All In Her Headhere
AND as a bonus, you can find a sneak peak preview of the prologue and the first two chapters of Look What You Made Me Dohere (PDF reader required)
James Burnett has been a professional writer all his life, the majority of it as a journalist. He worked for the BBC for 30 years as a documentary maker and news correspondent. Three years ago he took a sabbatical and cycled solo across the United States, sleeping each night in a tent, mostly in the Rocky Mountains.
He has always written fiction and while in America he decided to stop pretending to be a writer and be one.
He has recently started a novel writing course with Curtis Brown literary agency.
South Shields born Suzy Aspley began writing her first book after a prompt at a writing retreat in the Scottish Highlands, six human teeth in a matchbox, reminded her of a story she once covered as a newspaper reporter. After pitching successfully at Dragon’s Pen in summer 2019, she won Bloody Scotland’s Pitch Perfect competition in September 2019 and a month later was shortlisted in the DHH Literary Agency New Voices Award at the first Capital Crime festival in London.
She’s now working with an editor on her spooky debut novel One for Sorrow.
She lives in Scotland with her family and when she’s not writing can be found walking in the woods with kids, dogs and horses.
If you’re a member of Friends of the Bay you can read Suzy’s short story Derry Lodgehere and see her read her short story at our Virtual Noir at the Bar Halloween Specialhere
Cath Staincliffe is a best-selling, award-winning novelist, radio playwright and creator of ITV’s hit series Blue Murder. She also writes the Scott & Bailey tie-in books. Cath has been shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger and the Dagger in the Library.
She won the Short Story Dagger in 2012 and the Writers Guild of Great Britain’s Best Radio Drama Award in 2019. Her debut series, the Sal Kilkenny mysteries launched single-parent PI Sal onto Manchester’s mean streets. Her latest features detectives Donna Bell and Jade Bradshaw, dubbed ‘strong, damaged, lippy northern female police officers’ by the Sunday Times Crime Club. The Girl in the Green Dress, their first outing, has been optioned for TV.
Cath’s standalone novels examine the human impact of crime on ordinary families, giving a voice to victims, the bereaved, survivors and witnesses.
If you’re a member of Friends of the Bay you can see Cath, with Ann Cleeves, in interview with Vic Watson at Bay Tales Live #3 here.
As Ann told us on her appearance on Bay Tales Live #3, her first novel was published in 1986. In 2016 she celebrated the publication of 30 novels in 30 years.
35 years after the publication of her first novel, Ann is one of the nation’s favourite crime novelists, and we were thrilled to have her on the show.
In 2006, Ann was the first winner of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award of the Crime Writers’ Association for Raven Black – the first of the eight (so far) Shetland novels. Ann has also been shortlisted for numerous CWA ‘Daggers’ and in 2017 was presented with the Diamond Dagger – the highest honour in British Crime Writing. Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA, described Ann’s contribution to the crime writing world as ‘magnificent’.
Now living in Whitley Bay, Ann has, of course, put her surroundings to great use through the nine volume Vera series, and been a strong supporter of local causes – ourselves included.
An international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister. Every book in the Callanach series has claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag. The last book in the series, ‘Perfect Kill‘ was longlisted for the Crime Writers Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2020, and others have been longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, Scottish crime novel of the year. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and has released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt‘. Her audio book ‘Perfect Crime‘ knocked Michelle Obama off the #1 spot. In 2020 Perfect Remains was shortlisted for the Bronze Bat, Dutch debut crime novel of the year. Now translated into 16 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition. Her historical thriller ‘These Lost & Broken Things‘ came out in May 2020. Her first standalone thriller – The Shadow Man – from HarperColllins was published on February 4, 2021. She currently commutes between West Sussex, Scotland and California. She lives with her husband and three children.
The Shadow Man
Want to know more about Helen and her new stand-alone chiller The Shadow Man? You can see the launch of the book in the video below where Helen talks about the inspiration and process of writing it – with questions from Bay Tales’ very own Vic Watson as well as some special guest authors putting their own queries to her…