Happy Birthday, Frances Fyfield, born 18 November 1948
- My reaction? There was nothing cool, calm or collected about it. It made me insanely happy, banished the blues, and I’d just like to say thank you from the bottom of my little black heart. (After winning the 2008 CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger)
- You always learn something from a good novel, because good novels, whatever their genre, are truthful about the human condition, however fantastical the fiction. Reading is a primary source of education: it refines concentration, understanding and compassion, and it underlines all the knowledge gained in so-called real life. You can read a novel about people living at the extreme edge, or about people who live next door, and you’ll still absorb more about humanity than someone who does not read.
- The characters drive the plot, and me. What fascinates me is how the collision of two people can make them both better or worse.
- I wish there were not a division between genre fiction and mainstream. I’m a novelist first and a crime writer second, because all novels, to me, are about relationships and their results. The only difference between a crime novel and a mainstream novel is that death, or the fear of death, is at the heart of it, and it can’t be self indulgent. It must tell a good, strong story, which is all I ever wanted to do, but in excellent, vivid prose. ‘Crime fiction’ is associated with second rate writing. It should not be.
- All an author should do is write to their own strengths and acknowledge their weaknesses.
- Choosing titles is a bugger. They never occur to me until near the end, which is about the time I begin to know what the whole thing is about.
- The only theme I have constantly returned to is how nothing is quite what it seems, and judge not that you may not be judged.
Fyfield is the pseudonym of Frances Hegarty, an English lawyer and crime-writer. Her Helen West series has twice been adapted for television.
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