A Quickie with Mel McGrath

Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?

My latest is Give Me The Child. It’s the story of Cat and Tom and their daughter Freya who are living in South London when there comes a knock on the door in the middle of the night and there, beside a policewoman, is a little girl claiming to be Tom’s love child from a one night stand. Her mother has died in an accident. Tom and Cat feel they have no choice but to let Ruby come to live with them, even though they know nothing about her. Or do they? It’s a fast-paced , twisty, psychological thriller which the Financial Times called ‘A triumph.’ It’s been a UK and US bestseller.

If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?

Life: Another Fine Mess I’ve Got Myself Into

What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?

A bloke once asked me to send him my toenail clippings. If only he’d sent me a stamped addressed envelope I ‘d have obliged. I’ve got no use for them.

If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?

Patricia Highsmith for the frenemy element, Megan Abbot for the sly laughs

Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).

I’m a (nearly) qualified dog behaviourist

Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy. A great mid-life memoir. Beautifully observed and written.

Snap by Belinda Bauer. So glad to see crime writers, and Bauer in particular, being long listed for the Booker Prize. There’s still a bit of snobbery in the literary world about genre novels and writers like Bauer, with her incredible gift for language, suspense and narrative, show that snobbery up for what it is.

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys. I love the languid summery and slightly sinister glamour of the Med which Tammy Cohen, writing as Rachel Rhys, manages to encapsulate in her historical series.

Who is Mel McGrath? Melanie McGrath is a Romford-born English non-fiction writer and crime novelist.
Born in Romford, McGrath’s parents moved several times during her childhood; to Basildon in Essex, then to a village in Germany, to Kent, then north to Lancashire, and south again to Buckinghamshire. She studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University.
She won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1995 for her non fiction book Motel Nirvana , which examined the New Age movement, and detailed McGrath’s travels around the American states of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
In recent years McGrath has written crime novels, including a trilogy set in the Arctic with Inuit detective Edie Kiglatuk, and the standalone thriller Give Me the Child . As a book reviewer and travel writer, she has written for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent among other publications.
McGrath has taught creative writing at the universities of Roehampton University and North Carolina as well as at The Arvon Foundation. McGrath lives in London and on the Kent coast.

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