Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The Darker Side of Crime - Guest Post Lorraine Mace

I first 'met' this week's guest, Lorraine Mace, when I was lucky enough to win the Flash500 Novel Opening and Synopsis competition which she runs. That win helped me to secure my publishing deal with Bookouture and, since that day, Lorraine has been nothing but supportive of my work. Lorraine is a columnist for Writing Magazine and Writers' Forum and is head judge for Writers' Forum's monthly fiction competitions. She writes a series of crime novels featuring D.I. Stirling and I couldn't wait to ask her some questions.

Here are her answers.

You write crime. Have you always written in this genre?

No, my first completed novel was written for children in the 8-12 age range. I thought that was where I wanted to be as a writer, but I used to (still do) read a lot of crime and psychological thrillers and wondered if I could create something others would love to read: the D.I. Sterling series was born. The series is definitely on the darker end of the crime spectrum.

Which writers in your genre inspire you?

I enjoy a few American authors for the way they bring their characters to life on the page, such as Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and John Lescroat. British favourites include Val McDermid, Sheila Bugler and Chris Curran.

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when the idea for your latest novel came to you?

Rage and Retribution came about because I saw a programme covering how few rapes are reported, compared to rapes committed. I wondered what would happen if a vigilante type person had incontrovertible knowledge of rapes committed but never reported and that person decided to carry out a programme of retribution.

Are you a plotter or a pantster and how long does it take you to write your thrillers?

I think I must being a plotting panster! I always know the crime, the villain and how the novel will end. I try to plot each chapter, but all too often characters and subplots appear as I’m writing, which means I have to incorporate issues I hadn’t even considered when I started out.

I can get a first draft down in a few months, but then the real work starts – edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, edit … and so on.

Could you describe your typical writing day?

I try to write between 9 and 11 each morning, but am not always able to stick to it. I am involved in so many different fields of the writing industry that sometimes deadlines for articles or critiques have to take precedence.

I’m sure my readers would love to hear about your road to publication. Was it long and winding or did you take a short cut?

When I moved to France in 1999, I needed something to do and foolishly believed getting short fiction accepted would be easy. After more rejections than I care to think about, I was lucky enough to hit the right note and was paid the grand sum of £300.

I used the money to fund a Writers Bureau course and discovered I had a knack for writing humour pieces. This led to being offered a column in Living France Magazine. I subsequently moved to Spain and wrote a similar humour column for Spanish Magazine. For the last ten years I’ve been the humour columnist for Writing Magazine.

Writing novels came much later. The children’s book, Vlad the Inhaler- Hero in the Making, was written in 2005 and my first crime novel was completed in 2012.

Do you ever struggle to find inspiration?

No! If anything, I struggle to turn off the inspiration gene. I have more ideas in my head (and languishing on my hard drive) than I will ever have time to write.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I live in a small village in Spain and enjoy trying out my appalling Spanish on the locals in tapas bars. My partner and I are both keen joggers and try to run at least five times a week. Apart from that, I spend as much time as I can with my family. I am doing my best to enjoy life, as who knows what is around the corner?

What suggestions do you have to help a writer write better?

Join a good writing group and be open to criticism. You don’t have to follow all the advice you are given, but you should take each piece seriously and ask yourself if there is any merit in what has been said.

What next for Lorraine Mace?

The fifth in the D.I. Sterling series has already been accepted by Headline Accent, so there will be editing and rewrites for that, I’m sure. I am currently writing number six. After that, I have the outline for a standalone psychological thriller.

Born and raised in South East London, Lorraine lived and worked in South Africa, on the Island of Gozo and in France before settling on the Costa del Sol in Spain. She lives with her partner in a traditional Spanish village inland from the coast and enjoys sampling the regional dishes and ever-changing tapas in the local bars. Her knowledge of Spanish is expanding. To stop her waistline from doing the same, she runs five times a week.
When not working on her D.I. Sterling series of crime novels, Lorraine is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers' Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service.

Find her at:

You can buy Lorraine's books here:


  1. Thank you, Lorraine and Wendy, I really enjoyed this interview. I recently finished the first in the DI Sterling series 'Retriever of Souls' which I found compelling and gripping (I will post my reviews soon, I promise!). Now looking forward to reading the rest of the series so far.

    1. Brilliant! Glad you enjoyed Lorraine's first book in the series, Tracy.

  2. "Join a good writing group and be open to criticism."

    Excellent advice.