Lesley Thomson

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Lesley Thomson

Lesley Thomson was born in 1958 and brought up in Hammersmith. She graduated from Brighton University in 1981 and moved to Sydney, Australia the year after. When she returned to London, she did several jobs to support writing. This included working for one of the first Internet companies in the UK.

Her first novel, Seven Miles From Sydney, came out in 1987 and made the City Limits top ten best books for that year. In 1990 she worked with actor Sue Johnston on her semi-autobiographical book, Hold onto the Messy Times. While completing an MA in English Literature at Sussex University Lesley wrote A Kind of Vanishing.

Lesley is a guest tutor on the Creative Writing and Publishing MA at West Dean. With Elly Griffiths, she runs a crime-writing short course there, and also leads workshops and takes master classes on writing crime novels.

She is writing The Detective’s Daughter series, featuring Stella Darnell (MD of Clean Slate Cleaning Services) and Jack Darnell, a driver on London Underground’s District Line.

Lesley lives in East Sussex with her partner and a raggedy poodle both of whom are treated to blow-by-blow accounts of scenes and twists in plot at any given time. She doesn’t know how they sleep at night.


Interviewed 18 February 2017

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

1. Exciting
2. Tortuous
3. Challenging
4. Scary
5. Fantastic
6. Sublime
7. Adventurous
8. Intriguing
9. Fortunate
10. Perfect

NB: These words are sometimes my favourite.

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

1. Sunlight fading from the Downs.
2. A tarnished plastic Buddha smothered in ivy.
3. A home-made climbing frame two gardens down.
4. A map for my novel in progress, The Dogwalker, stuck on the side with heavy-duty magnets to remind me where everyone lives.
5. Writing notebook holding scraps of paper with post-office elastic bands.
6. Stapler with my name on it (From a long ago office where my working life was tortuous and tiny things mattered too much).
7. Receipt for Specsavers.
8. Packet of fruit and nut mix from Waitrose.
9. Gray’s Anatomy.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Frozen shepherd’s pie and frozen broad beans from the minimart below Stella’s Clean Slate office to get into her character. When being myself it’s pasta with black olives, sun-dried tomatoes and onions, sprinkled with parmesan and pine nuts.

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

I’m quite shy so whether alive or dead, that rules out Barbara Pym, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, CJ Sansom, Michael Connelly and Ngaio Marsh.

Six things you can't live without ...

1. Happy times with my partner, my dog and my good mates (over a drink)
2. Tarnished plastic Buddha
3. My novel in progress
4. No Name by Wilkie Collins (at the moment)
5. My walking shoes
6. Solitude

Five favourite words ...

1. Contentment, for the mood it expresses. When I read these words in novels they give me pleasure. I allow myself to use them sparingly.
2. Peevish
3. Timorous
4. Temerity
5. Cheerful

Four places you'd run away to ...

1. A cottage in Sussex where we had holidays when I was young (No idea where it was so I’d be running in circles)
2. Winchcombe (I do go there, but travel at a normal pace)
3. Chiswick House grounds under the fir trees.
4. My own home because it’s a great place to run to.

Three books you've bought recently ...

Scales of Justice by Ngaio Marsh Encyclopaedia of Death and Dying, edited by Glennys Howarth The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
(Seeing this, would seven people want a drink with me?)

Two things that make you rant ...

Bad parking, when one car takes up two spaces
Dishonesty

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

‘Listen kiddo, you’re just fine as you are.’