Cara Hunter is the author of the brilliant DI Fawley series. No Way Out was one of our Book Club picks and was an extremely popular choice, and we had so much fun chatting about it. The fifth instalment in the series, The Whole Truth is due to be released next year, and Cara has kindly spoken with us to share more about herself and her writing…
- Was writing something you always wanted to do?
At some deep level, yes. I did English at university, so I’ve always had a passion for words, but I went into the City after that, and then did various other finance and PR jobs, so it wasn’t until I went freelance as a copywriter that the idea of actually writing something of my own started to form as a realistic ambition.
2. What inspired the Fawley series?
Well, the first thing to say is that it wasn’t a series at all, at the start! It all began with me getting the idea for The Big Twist in Close to Home (if you’ve read it you’ll know exactly what I mean! ), and after that it was about creating the story that would lead up to that. A police investigation was an inevitable part of that, so I developed Adam and the rest, with no clue whether the book would ever be published, never mind turn into a series. But then it got submitted to publishers, and went to auction (truly wildest dreams territory) and the first thing Penguin said was ‘We want three of these….’
3. What’s your writing process? How do you research the police procedural element of the books?
I have a fabulous team of ‘pro advisers’, the most important of whom is DI Andy Thompson, who’s also at Thames Valley. He makes sure I get all my procedural processes right, which is fiendishly complicated for anyone who’s outside the police force. The trickiest thing for me is always to work out when a witness turns into a suspect and has to be arrested. It always turns out to be earlier than I would have assumed, so that’s been an eye-opener. I also have a cracking forensic adviser, Joey Giddings. Given how important forensics are now I usually talk to him at the planning stage – there’s no point building a book on something that would be demolished in five minutes by a CSI!
4. The series is hugely popular, what’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The top four would definitely be getting Richard and Judy for Close to Home (and meeting them!), being nominated for Crime Book of the Year at the British Book Awards, having No Way Out in the Sunday Times list of the best crime novels since 1945, and securing the TV deal with Castlefield. I’m not sure if I can choose between them!
5. Are you planning to continue the DI Fawley series, or would you do some standalone novels?
The answer to the first question is a resounding YES! I love the Fawley series and I will keep on writing them as long as people want to read them. But I’d love to do a standalone too. Assuming I get a good idea, of course…
6. When you aren’t writing, what’s your favourite thing to do?
Reading, and watching true crime!
7.What are your top five favourite reads?
This is such a difficult question, and the answer changes a bit over time, as well. But today my answer would be The Lord of the Rings, Still Life by AS Byatt, The Magus by John Fowles, Pride & Prejudice, and Statues in a Garden, by Isabel Colegate.
Thank you so much to Cara for taking the time to answer our questions!