Monday, 14 November 2016

Meet the participants of the Llandeilo Book Fair: Sally Spedding

Born in Wales, Sally Spedding’s dark crime fiction, often straying into horror and the paranormal, is a response to people and places which are not what they seem. Where danger lurks. ‘Wringland,’ set on the haunted Fens, was her first published novel in 2001. Her latest, ‘The Yellowhammer’s Cradle’ – her ninth – set in rural Argyll during the Clearances, is out now. Her award-winning short stories and poetry inspired both in Wales and France, have also been widely published.   

Sally has adjudicated national and international writing competitions, and enjoys helping new talent succeed. She is married to the painter Jeffrey Spedding, and they spend part of the year in the eastern Pyrenees where timeslips occur.    

Welcome to my second Welsh Wednesday, a day dedicated to the wonderful writing talent in my adopted new home of Wales.  Today I would like to introduce you to Sally Spedding.
First up, please tell us about your connection to Wales.
Sally Spedding (2)I was born in Porthcawl to a Welsh mother and Dutch father (with German/Spanish origins) Returned to Wales for 18 years and taught at Ysgol Gyfun Tregib in Llandeilo. Back again, to lovely Carmarthenshire in 2007.
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.
I began writing as a 9 year-old during rows and tensions at my Dutch grandparents’ beautiful but spooky house on the Blorenge near Abegavenny. They’d lost so many of their families in Occupied Holland (who’d insisted on staying) they found it hard to cope, especially as suspicion of anyone with a German surname, was still rife. Even the local vicar kept a rifle under his altar. They’d previously had to hide for 2 years in a cottage in the woods, for safety.
Why did you decide to write in your chosen genre(s)?
Perhaps because of the betrayals I’d heard about, and since experienced.  Because I’m fascinated by the duplicity of people and places. Also, that justice is rare.fullcover1_3880_2554 (1)
Tell us about the concept behind your book(s).
My latest psychological crime novel, ‘Cut to the Bone’ deals with the hazards of adoption. Sometimes one doesn’t even fathom one’s own children, never mind someone else’s. When Lionel Shriver was asked why she’d never had children, replied that it was like opening the back door and not knowing who was coming in. Chilling, but it rings true. The book is set near Coventry where a London overspill slum is separated from high-end luxury living by a mere strip pf Tarmac. Rita Martin is my favourite character. She’s brave and determined in the face of huge disadvantage and loss.
What is your life like outside of writing? What makes you laugh and what makes you cry?
My husband, Jeffrey, and artist, makes me laugh, and our lovely granddaughter who can, miraculously, balance a spoon against her face. People who, because of their background and/or religion, are made to feel excluded. Cruelty to animals makes me cry. Ritual slaughter is barbaric and unecessary. As are live animal transports.
Who is your favourite Welsh author?
Picking just one would leave too many out. But they know who they are!
What is the best thing about Wales?
The wild places. The fantastic people I know.
What are you working on now?  
A crime series set in France involving wannabe gendarme Delphine Rougier, who’s had a tough life, but is full of ambition. Sometimes recklesly so. ‘Footfall’ is ready to go, and ‘Featherblade’ is still being edited.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
The best is just doing it.  The worst is not being able to, for whatever reason.
What is your advice to new writers?
Write for yourself, not the perceived ‘market.’ Read your heroes, and get out there and mingle!
What is your favourite book?
‘The Pledge’  by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. A study in obsession set in a claustrophobic part of Switzerland
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
‘A Song for Drowned  Souls’ by Bernard Minier.  Paperback.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
Fine. At least criticism shows interest!
Conect with Sally on
Twitter -  @SallySpedding
or her Website -

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