Today I’m delighted to feature psychological suspense writer, Elle Croft. Elle was born in South Africa, grew up in Australia and moved to the UK in 2010 after travelling around the world with her husband. She works as a freelance social media specialist and also blogs about travel, food and life in London.
Her debut novel, The Guilty Wife, is a top 10 Kindle Bestseller.
Over to Elle,
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
I’d start the soundtrack to my life with Hero by Mariah Carey, which is the first song I remember falling deeply in love with. I was eight when it came out, and because I didn’t have my own cassette player (and because there’s no way my parents would have encouraged the playing of it on the communal stereo system by buying me the tape) I only heard it when it came on the radio in the car. Still, I learned the lyrics and belted that ballad out every chance I got, which I’m sure my family was thrilled about.
Next up would be Say My Name by Destiny’s Child. When I was thirteen, I got my own CD player (after a few years of shared custody of a cassette player with my sister – we alternated weeks), and purchased my first ever CD: The Writing’s on the Wall by Destiny’s Child. It’s still one of my favourite albums of all time, and I remain a hardcore Beyoncé fan to this day.
I’m not just about pop and R&B, though — my next song would be Drive by Incubus, which I pretty much played on repeat throughout my late teens and early twenties.
Following that would be Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, because it’s been blasted, and unashamedly sung along to, during every road trip I’ve ever taken, from outback Australia to the mountains of Canada, and from motorways in England to treacherous French country lanes. It’s probably my ultimate feel-good song — it’s impossible not to smile and sing along when it’s playing.
My soundtrack would finish with Current Location by LANY. They have a really retro sound that I love, but their songs also remind me of being in my favourite place in the world: California.
What 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
My passport (although it’s currently languishing at the back of my cupboard, sadly).
Coconut oil (I use it as a moisturiser, makeup remover, for cooking, baking… I can’t live without it!).
My running shoes and …
of course, books!
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
This is such a great question, but such a difficult one. I tend to believe that all experiences and choices make us who we are, so I’m not certain that, even if I had the chance, I’d go back and tell myself anything, for fear it would change the course of my life. But I’d certainly be tempted, and if I did decide to go for it, here’s what I’d say:
Don’t be so afraid of making mistakes. I was such a stickler for rules (still am, to be honest) that I never even got so much as a detention at school! I now know that being a bit more impulsive wouldn’t have had the horrifying consequences I envisioned, and I probably would have benefited from loosening up a little.
Just because people act like they know what they’re talking about, doesn’t always mean that they do. I wish I’d known this one before entering the workforce. I went straight from high school into an office job, and I was so intimidated by my colleagues, who all seemed to know exactly what they were doing, that I never spoke up or offered my own opinions.
Don’t touch the flipping python! I grew up in Australia, where it was normal for wildlife handlers to visit schools and introduce students to some of the country’s weird and wonderful creatures. When I was eight, our class was shown a huge carpet python, which we were told not to touch. I, believing I was some kind of animal whisperer, decided that it would be OK (ah, maybe this is when the rule-following began!) and was promptly bitten by the poor snake. That was an awkward phone call for the school to make to my parents…!
Read books you want to read. I used to read classics, simply because I thought I had to. I also never stopped reading a book, no matter how much I was hating it. I remember a particularly miserable Christmas of slogging through The Iliad, and then swearing off books altogether for a while after that.
If it looks like a bed bug, it is a bed bug. As an eighteen-year-old backpacker, I foolishly believed the hostel manager’s assurances that what I saw was just a ‘tree bug’. The pain! The itching! Ugh.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I never went to university.
I once won an award for being ‘The most valuable Pig Club member’.
I can’t stick my tongue out.
Before I turned to writing crime fiction, I was a travel blogger, and got to see some incredible places and have money-can’t-buy experiences, like following the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge around the Yukon Territory, Canada.
I absolutely love ice hockey – watching it, not playing.
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do or achieve.
I’ve always wanted to go on an epic rail journey, like the Trans-Siberian Railway or The Ghan.
I’m gluten intolerant and any attempt I’ve ever made at homemade bread has been an abject failure. One day, I will master the recipe for perfect gluten free bread!
Running is one of my favourite things to do, and half marathons are a good way for me to work towards a goal. I’ve done a few of them now, but the one I really want to run is the Paris Half.
I’d really like to write a screenplay, or have one of my books adapted for screen.
My parents gave me a guitar for my eighteenth birthday. It’s sitting in my living room, taunting me every single day. One of these days, I’d love to be able to play it!
Thanks so much for joining us today Elle, and personally, it’s lovely to catch up again after our brief meeting at Harrogate last year. Thanks for the nostalgic trip back to the 70’s with Queen, reminds of my time in the Sixth year. I’m afraid I laughed at the python incident, I suspect your parents didn’t find it funny at the time, I can see how that might make you stick to rules from thereon in! Thankfully never seen a bedbug so I might have been naive too. Love the idea of being a travel blogger, but I think that ship might have sailed (excuse the pun) so I’ll continue to do what I can and read about the rest. You do realise that everyone will want to know about the Pig Club? – be prepared to reveal more! Hope you get to achieve the desires on your list, while I’d happily undertake the Trans-Siberian Railway, you’re on your own with the running.
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‘A dark, delicious triumph’ Niki Mackay
If what they said was true, then the grotesque and the monstrous ran in her blood. It was imprinted within her very core, her DNA, a part of every cell in her body.
Kat’s children are both smart and well-adjusted. On the outside.
Kat has always tried to treat Imogen and Jemima equally, but she struggles with one of her daughters more than the other.
Because Imogen’s birth mother is a serial killer. And Imogen doesn’t know.
They say you can’t choose your family, but what if your family chooses you?
What would you do for a moment in the spotlight?
Gina Mills is desperate to be a newsreader, but her boss just won’t help.
Walking home one night, Gina stumbles upon a dead body, and after calling the police, she makes the split-second decision to report the murder live.
When questioned by the police, Gina can’t remember specific details about her discovery, but these memory gaps are explained away as shock.
But when Gina finds a second body, it’s clear she’s being targeted. But why?
And exactly how far will she go to keep her 15 minutes of fame?
I’m guilty of many things.
Bethany Reston is happily married. But she’s also having an affair with a famous client.
And no one can ever know.
But I’m innocent of murder.
When Bethany’s lover is brutally murdered, she has to hide her grief from everyone.
But someone knows her secret. And then one day the threats begin.
With an ever-growing pile of evidence pointing to her as the murderer, the only way she can protect her secrets is to prove her innocence. And that means tracking down a killer.
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.
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