Davies has been a magazine contributor for more than 20 years, including working at Elle, Heat and Grazia magazine, and she currently writes for a number of women’s magazines and newspapers, including as the crime reviewer for the Books section of the Sunday Express.
Wrong Place is the second book in the DC Maggie Neville series.
Read my review of her first book, Gone Astray, here.
Davies answers 7 questions about DC Maggie Neville, writing and books.
1. How many books do you hope to write about DC Maggie Neville?
As many as they’ll let me! Seriously though, I can’t see an end to Maggie’s story yet. She’s still young – in my third novel, False Witness, we’ll see her turn 30 – so she’s got a lot of career ahead of her yet. I’m also keen to explore her reaction to the life events most women face in their 30s – settling down, deciding whether to have children or not. Maggie’s still got that all to come.
2. What appeals to you about writing this genre?
For me, writing crime novels is a bit like being in charge of a huge jigsaw puzzle. I know what I want the final picture to look like, but I’ve got to get all the pieces to connect – and that’s the bit I really love. I get a real fillip when I’m writing a chapter and suddenly a plot twist comes to me, making everything slot into place.
3. How has being a journalist help you to write these books?
Journalism instills the discipline to write every day (because when I’m not writing my novels I’m working on features for magazines) and it also instills a good understanding of how important editing is. Anyone who wants to write should get in the habit of doing it every day and should also learn to be unafraid of ripping their writing to shreds and starting again when necessary. Editing is where the magic happens.
4. What is your go-to spot (person, source) for research?
Being a journalist, I love research and I’m fortunate that I have a couple of police officers I can speak to for procedural advice, including a former national family liaison advisor for all British police forces. For all other stuff I turn to the Internet. If you’re clever with your search requests you can pretty much find the answer to everything. But – and it’s big but – I don’t accept the first answer Google throws up – I always corroborate by double-sourcing it.
5. What is your favourite type of book to read?
It can’t be a surprise to learn that I’m a massive crime fiction fan. The advice always given to novelists when starting out is to write what you love – there was never any question of me writing anything other than crime!
6. What are you reading right now?
7. All-time favourite book?
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. No, not technically a crime novel, but there is a crime at the heart of it – the alleged rape of Mayella Ewell – and it’s also a mystery novel, too, if you approach it from the angle of what happened to Boo Radley to make him become a recluse. I first read it at school and I’ve probably read it a dozen times since.
When a man fails in his attempt to murder his wife and commit suicide, Neville is assigned to be the surviving woman’s Family Liaison Officer.
As the husband lies in a coma at the hospital, his wife sets about making sure everyone knows he’s guilty. But there’s something about her story that doesn’t ring true for Neville.
Digging deeper, she finds an unexpected link between the couple’s case and a series of burglaries she and her colleagues are investigating in the local area – and the mysterious disappearance of a young woman 20 years ago.