Author, Book Blog, Crime Fiction Takeover, Exclusive, Interview, Scotland

*Crime Fiction Takeover* ~ Truestory ~ @cath_simpson13 @sandstonepress #Exclusive #Interview

Crime Fiction (1)

We are continuing our successful Crime Fiction theme takeover of the blog. I have lot’s more to share with you this week. 

Today on the blog I have Catherine Simpson, author of Truestory. 

Catherine Simpson ~ Crime Fiction Takeover Interview


Which crime novel stayed with you long after you had finished?

  • I was 24 and training to be a journalist when my lecturer recommended we read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer, both are recountings of real-life murders. They were examples of ‘The New Journalism’ – real-life stories told using fictional devices – and have stayed with me ever since. I probably didn’t have a view on capital punishment when I read these books nearly 30 years ago but I’ve been vehemently against it ever since.

If you had, to sum up, Edinburgh in four words, what would they be?

  • Edinburgh is a seductive, alluring, irresistible show-off.

Who is your favourite fictional crime character and why?

  • I’m a bit in love with Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie – a Yorkshire-born, Edinburgh-dwelling Private Investigator, played rather beautifully by Jason Isaacs in the tv series, Case Histories.

What is your favourite part of Edinburgh and why?

  • This is like asking ‘which part of a Yorkshire pudding is your favourite?’ – All of it! Where ever you look in Edinburgh, at whatever time of day, at whatever time of year, there is the city doing its wonderful stuff. (Although see Q 9)

If you could have dinner with four fictional crime characters who would they be?

  • I would have dinner with Jackson Brodie (for obvious reasons), Sherlock Holmes (for his insight) Stella Moon, of The Confession of Stella Moon, (for atmosphere) and Roddie Macrae, of His Bloody Project, (to ask: What’s the score, Roddy?’)

About your own work, where do you find inspiration for your books?

  • Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere: art, observations, personal experiences, overheard conversations, musings, wonderings, wanderings, anything.

If your current book had a theme song what would it be?

  • I’ve just checked the playlist I put together when writing Truestory ( a novel about a woman struggling to raise her son who has Autism). Kooks by David Bowie is on there – a song Bowie wrote for his son – so that seems about right.

Write the scene of a crime for us, set in Edinburgh, one paragraph long. Include these three items ~ Banana, Greyfriars Bobby and The Wash Bar.

The body lay sprawled in The Wash Bar, clutching a banana etched with the words ‘Greyfriar’s Bobby.’


The body lay sprawled on Greyfriar’s Bobby clutching a wash bar etched with the word ‘banana’.


The body lay sprawled on a banana clutching Greyfriar’s Bobby etched with the words ‘The Wash Bar’.


Do you have any events lined up either online or in person that my readers could attend?

  • I’ve just had a short story included in the ‘Echoes of the City’ Project. This is a lovely idea – you can download the app ‘Podwalk’ and listen to trained actors read you a story set in different parts of Edinburgh as you walk around the city. My story is called ‘Giuseppe and Rosa go up in the World’. It is set on Easter Road and inspired by my in-laws who immigrated to Scotland from Italy in the late 1950s. Echoes Of The City

Could you tell us about your current novel and how you got inspired to write it?

  • I am currently working on a memoir called ‘When I had a Little Sister’. I’ve been lucky enough to receive nine-months’ mentoring from Scottish Book Trust to help me work on it. It’s about loss and grief and mental illness and about how weird and funny-haha and funny-peculiar families are.

How can my readers connect with you?

Scottish Book Trust

Truestory By Catherine Simpson 


On a remote Lancashire farm, eleven year old Sam seeks answers to life’s big questions online. His mother Alice’s life is dictated by Sam’s strange ways and her husband’s fecklessness as their money runs out. When Duncan brings home a stranger to help with his latest scheme, Alice is furious. Sam can’t cope with change. But Larry beguiles Sam with his maps and, as he works his magic, Alice falls for him too.

By turns hilarious and tragic, Truestory examines how we are all trapped in our own lives, yet sometimes have more options than we realise.

Quote from James Robertson: ‘Catherine Simpson does not waste words. She has that rare ability to conjure up people and places, how they look and how they sound, in just a sentence or two. Her writing is vivid perceptive and acute and she deserves a wide readership.’

You can order your copy today ~

Thank you so much for being on my blog today, Catherine, you are so inspiring, genuine and gentle. You have been incredibly supportive of my wee blog and I will always be very grateful.

Kelly xx

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Blogger, Coastword Festival, Event Review, Kelly Talk, Poetry, Written Word

COASTWORD 2017 Dunbar @CoastWordFest @cath_simpson13 @PascaleBientot #Day3

Dunbar © Kelly Lacey

Our final day was my absolute favourite of all three. I was filled with so much excitement of the thought that I would get to meet Shelley Day again, I first met and heard about her novel The Confessions Of Stella Moon earlier this year at the Linlithgow Festival. There is something so very special about Ms Day, she has this unique calming quality. I think she’s amazing!

The Festival events kicked off with the phenomenal Catherine Simpson, Karen Dietz and the Dunbar Writing Mums with The Places Between Them. Reading from their anthology Nourish Me, Sister. Each Mum taking to the stage to read their work, with beautiful accompanying music from Karen Dietz.  One that resonated with me at the time and has stayed with me was Deborah Ritchie’s Reattachment, it was deeply moving and honest.  Up next was Catherine Simpson with readings from her new pamphlet Mrs Carlyle Had Many Lovers when she was asked to be the writer in residence at this year’s festival, she toured Dunbar, absorbing the feeling and core of the town. Catherine did research of the older local records and discovered very little mentions of the woman. This inspired her pamphlet. It’s lovely to add that her daughter designed the cover. Catherine is warm and approachable, it was wonderful to see and hear her read her wonderful work.

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©Catherine Simpson & Joanne Baird (@Portybelle)  Photo By Kelly Lacey

We were then treated to three songs by the Dubar Sings Choir, with Karen Dietz. My favourite was Imagine Me & You. A harmonious delight to my ears.

Now my favourite event of the whole festival was next up, Confessions and True Stories with Shelley Day and Catherine Simpson. 

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©Catherine Simpson ~ Shelley Day By Kelly Lacey 

With the ladies talking about their books The Confessions Of Stella Moon By Shelley Day and True Story By Catherine Simpson. The hour was simply not long enough. It was extremely surprising to hear just how very hard and anxiety filled the publishing and marketing process really is. Catherine is working on her second novel and has a memoir being published very soon. Shelley has a collection of short stories being released in November and although everyone is shouting from the rooftops for more Stella, she is starting something new, however, Shelley does not rule it out more Stella, perhaps even Moira (Stella’s Mum) in the future.

I was star/ author struck, at being sat in the front row watching and listening to these two impressive, inspirational, genuine ladies. Both with hearts of gold.  It was a real honour and a true highlight of my blogging career.

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©Catherine Simpson ~ Shelley Day By Kelly Lacey 
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©Kelly Lacey

You can purchase the books today.

True Story ~ Catherine SimpsonAmazon UK
The Confession Of Stella Moon Shelley Day~ Amazon UK

To end my Festival visit and review I had another luxury of hearing Val McDermid in conversation with Lorna Hill.

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©Val McDermid ~ Lorna Hill By Kelly Lacey 

Val McDermid shocked me by being extremely funny, her anecdotes of her time as a child growing up in Kirkcaldy and running out of children’s books to read in the library and pinching her mother’s library card were just one of the very funny stories she told. Val explained only the previous night she has finished work on her new Tony Hill & Carol Jordan novel ~ Insidious Intent.  It was an interesting hour and a great end to my journey a the CoastWord Festival.

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You can purchase your own copy of Out Of Bounds by Val McDermid here Amazon UK

Huge thanks from me to Catherine Simpson and Hannah Lavery for inviting myself and Joanne ~ Portobello Book Blog to be CoastWord Festival, 2017 Bloggers.  It was a life moment I will cherish forever. What I take away is how brave all the participants were so open, honest with their words and saying “hello world this is me” with love at the core and how being you is enough!  Lovely for the community to come together and celebrate.

Thanks to my other blogging half of this adventure Joanne Portobello Book Blog   it was a delight to learn more about you and spend time with you.  You made the three days extra special. Thank you.


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© @Portybelle & @Lovebooksgroup ~ Kelly Lacey


Much Love CoastWord, see you next year

Kelly xx

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© Dunbar By Kelly Lacey 

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Coastword Festival

Coastword Festival 2017 ~ Bloggers @CoastWordFest @Portybelle & @Lovebooksgroup


Very excited to announce that my friend and fellow blogger Joanne Baird aka @Portybelle along with myself are the bloggers for this year’s fabulous Coastword Festival in Dubar.

Featuring a host of talented folks, from Val McDermid, Shelley Day, Catherine Simpson and Kirsty Law to name just a few.

It takes place on the 19th – 21st of May (2017)

Check out this lovely article about Joanne and me.

You can book your tickets and learn much more by popping over to the website and getting ready for a weekend that will tantalise all your senses and leave an imprint on your heart forever.



Thank you to Hannah @CoastWordFest and @cath_simpson13 for allowing me to be part of something so very special.

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Favourite Five

Truestory By @cath_simpson13 @sandstonepress #FavFiv #RT

About The Book 

Truestory, draft cover

Alice’s life is dictated by her autistic son, Sam, who refuses to leave their remote Lancashire farm. Her only time ‘off’ is two hours in Lancaster on a Tuesday afternoon – and even that doesn’t always pan out to be the break she needs. Husband Duncan brings Larry, a rootless wanderer, to the farm to embark on a money making scheme they’ve dreamed up. Alice is hostile but Larry beguiles Sam with tales of travel in the outside world and, soon, Alice begins to fall for him, too. By turns blackly comic, heart-breaking and heart-warming, Truestory looks at what happens when sacrifice slithers towards martyrdom. By turns happy and sad, ultimately it is a tale of hope.

#FavFive with Catherine Simpson

Fav Book Cover

I do judge a book by its cover. In the 1970s I read the entire works of Agatha Christie because of the fabulous Fontana covers. On my tbr pile at the moment is Wait for Me, Jack, by Addison Jones – it’s there because it sounds intriguing but also because it’s got a beautiful black and white cover with a sexy ‘Mad Men’ vibe.

Agatha Christie

Fav time to read

Anytime, anyplace, anywhere. In the supermarket queue, in a traffic jam, before a meeting, during a meeting (well, perhaps not), on the bus. Whenever I’ve got two minutes. I’m never without a book.

Fav snack to go with a book

Coffee, chocolate and a book; a match made in heaven. I discovered Jane Austen when I was 17 at the same time that my mother bought a catering box of Cadbury’s Caramel. I slowly worked my way through the lot.


A book character that stayed with you long after the book ended

Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. Bad tempered, jealous, passionate, handsome, in love with Cathy and eventually deranged. I first read Wuthering Heights when I was ten and I blame Emily Bronte for giving me the wrong end of the stick as to what to look for in a man.


Fav book quote

‘I have never seen a dead body or a female nipple. This is what comes of living in a cul de sac.’

From The Secret Diary of Adrian Mile, Aged 13 ¾

Sue Townsend was a comic genius and Adrian Mole is one of my best friends.


My own novel Truestory was inspired by raising my daughter who has autism – nevertheless, it contains lots of humour and I hope it makes people laugh.

Truestory By Catherine Simpson is out now.

Buy your copy here ~ AMAZON UK