Today I’m delighted to feature crime author Victoria Selman. Her first novel, Blood for Blood was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, is a number one bestseller and has had over half a million downloads. It’s the first of a series of books featuring ex-Special Forces profiler, Ziba MacKenzie.
Victoria studied History at Oxford University and holds certificates in Criminal Psychology and Criminal Profiling. She has written for the Independent and Daily Express and co-hosts a true crime podcast called, Crime Girl Gang with two other authors.
Over to Victoria
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Given I write about serial killers, I guess a song like Killing for a Living (by Overkill) would have to be on my playlist (even though I’m not much of a metal fan).
Ready to Go, by Republica would also be on there. It’s the song I played before each of my Finals exam. I was nervous as hell but the song gave me courage. Even now, when I’m feeling low or unsettled, I blast it out and it makes me feel better.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (by Cyndi Lauper), would be on there too as a throwback to my twenties and as an homage to all my fantastic female friends.
We are Family (by Sister Sledge) is a little corny, but it reflects how I feel about my parents, siblings, husband and kids. As someone says in a movie I watched recently, ‘There are times I want to kill them. But I’d kill for them EVERY time.’
And finally, River of Dreams mostly because no playlist would be complete without the awesome Billy Joel, but also because it reflects how I felt when I got my first publishing deal; the feeling it would never happen and then the burst its banks river of dreams when it did.
What 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
The first one is a no brainer. I couldn’t live without books. A friend once told me ‘you’re never alone if you’ve got a good book.’ I couldn’t agree more.
Chocolate and red wine are also pretty high up my list.
And green tea. Unlike my character, Ziba, I’m not a coffee drinker/snob. But my brain literally doesn’t wake up without a morning dose of jasmine tea.
It’s the same with exercise. I love working out, especially outdoors- which is obviously hard at the moment. Still, there’s always something you can do to keep fit. During lockdown, I’ve been doing a lot of Pilates and also Joe Wicks workouts with my kids.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Never give up. The road is often bumpy but that’s not a reason to turn back.
Believe in yourself, if you don’t then why should anyone else?
Success is all about persistence and focus.
Keep a journal
And, note to self, Forensic Profiling would have been a much more interesting degree course than History…
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I’ve abseiled down the Shard
I’ve boxed for England
I used to be a stand-up comedian
Like Ziba, I can take out a man twice my size with a double palm strike through the centre line
….and I tell stories for a living
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do or achieve.
Ziba and I couldn’t be more different. She’s an ex special forces criminal profiler who can take one look at a person and tell whether they’re lying. She’s gutsy, fierce and in your face. And she knows how to get what she wants- usually without asking nicely.
Meanwhile, I’m a North London soccer mum who can’t even get my kids to tidy their rooms. I don’t much fancy Ziba’s backstory, but I would love a few of her skills.
Thanks for sharing with us today Victoria, very much appreciated. This post also marks a change, going forward, of including the music links – I certainly needed it for your first one! I’m sure you won’t find anybody arguing with not being able to live without books, I’d also concur with chocolate and tea – albeit in the case of the latter of the black variety. I love the did she or didn’t she re the things you’ve done – always a good strategy for a crime writer to keep them guessing. Here’s to acquiring a few more of Ziba’s skills.
Ziba Mackenzie profiles killers. Now one is profiling her.
Rush hour, London. A packed commuter train is torn apart in a collision. Picking through the carnage, ex-special forces profiler Ziba MacKenzie helps a dying woman who passes on a cryptic message: He did it. You have to tell someone.
When a corpse is found bearing the gruesome signature of a serial killer dormant for twenty-five years, Ziba is pulled into the hunt for the perpetrator. As the body count rises it becomes clear he’s on a new spree. But what’s brought the London Lacerator back after such a long hiatus? And does his sudden return have anything to do with the woman on the train?
Ziba scrambles to profile the killer in the hope of predicting his next move. But time is running out. And the closer she gets to uncovering his identity, the closer he gets to destroying hers.
He’s looking for his next victim. She looks just like his last.
Primrose Hill, London. Offender Profiler Ziba MacKenzie arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder with a disturbing sense of déjà vu. Nine days earlier, another woman’s body was found: same location, same MO, same physical appearance. For the police, it’s clear a new serial killer is on the loose. But for Ziba, it’s even more sinister—because the victims look just like her.
Ziba has been the focus of a killer’s interest before, and knows that if she gets too close again this case could be her last. Still, she’s not one to play by the rules—especially when her secret investigation into her husband’s murder begins to attract unwanted attention.
With someone watching her every step, can Ziba uncover what connects the two victims before she becomes one herself?
One killer on the loose. Another setting the rules. A profiler caught in the middle.
A serial killer is terrorising London, removing a body part from each victim and leaving in its place a single pink rose.
Dr Vernon Sange, a multiple murderer awaiting extradition, seems to know the culprit’s identity—but he’ll only talk to profiler Ziba MacKenzie, the woman responsible for putting him away. Though there’s something he wants in return from her. And time is running out.
With one killer whispering in her ear and another running rings around the police, Ziba must play a game in which only her opponent knows the rules, and the forfeit is death.
From 14 bestselling authors comes a new crime thriller anthology guaranteed to keep you up all night.
Some people are scared of the dark. But it’s the light that exposes the secrets.
A young boy with nightmares faces up to his demons. A deathbed confession turns the world on its axis. A five-year-old watches his parents bury a body in the garden. A soldier returns from the war to find the horror isn’t yet over.
Afraid Of The Light brings the imagination of fourteen bestselling crime writers together in a collection that will keep you up all night. From a deadly campfire game to a holiday gone wrong, to an AI assistant with a motive and a love affair that can only end in murder, this is a gripping, twisty set of stories to send a shiver down your spine.
All author royalties from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Samaritans.
You can keep in touch with Victoria via:-
She also co-hosts the true crime podcast, CRIME GIRL GANG in which three crime writers examine real life cold cases then solve them from a fictional perspective: itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/crime-girl-gang/id1447814645?mt=2 …