Today we’re finding out about Anne Coates and her investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge
Which do you like to write, series or standalones? If you write both, what do you find the difference?
In terms of fiction I’ve only written the four books in my Hannah Weybridge series other than a novella and short stories. I love writing a series as I can explore the lives of characters who have played a smaller part in an earlier book. I’m currently writing book five and am enjoying being with “old friends” as well as meeting new ones. On the back burner is a standalone psychological thriller and it feels good to wrap up the story in one volume. In contrast short stories really appeal to – a snapshot rather than the whole album.
Is there anything you wouldn’t write about?
I don’t think so. Difficult subjects written with sensitivity can and should be addressed. Each of my books has at its heart terrible situations: child abuse leading to prostitution, trafficking and corruption with a charity; forced marriage; stolen children. There are some scenes, which are distressing but nothing gratuitous, I hope.
What do you like to do to relax when not writing?
I read a lot especially as I’m now reviewing for The Arbuturian. While I am in the middle of writing a book, I try to read different genres or reread a favourite classic. Pre-pandemic I regularly went to the theatre and cinema, which I miss immensely. I have been watching a lot of films on TV and live streaming of new theatre productions especially from The Old Vic. I miss socialising with friends although during the first lockdown I did organise some murder mystery evenings on Zoom to raise money for Macmillan Uk and I regularly join friends for drinks on WhatsApp and FaceTime.
Who are your favourite and least favourite of your characters, why and in which books do they appear?
I’ve grown to love Mike Benton who first appears in book two of my Hannah Weybridge series, Death’s Silent Judgement. As a Detective Sergeant he interviews Hannah when she finds her best friend murdered in St John’s Waterloo. He is unpleasant and rude but as his character evolves over the next two books, Songs of Innocence and Perdition’s Child, we see a kinder man emerge who often comes to Hannah’s rescue.
My least favourite character is Judy Burton who again appears in the last three books. A journalist at The News, she’s jealous of Hannah and is manipulative and malicious. She epitomises some of the traits of female journalists I’ve worked with over the years and I’ve enjoyed making sure she gets her comeuppance.
Tell us about your books:
My Hannah Weybridge crime thriller series is published by Urbane Publications. Hannah is a freelance journalist and single parent with the series beginning in 1993. Each book stands alone but there are threads running through as well as characters who reappear: Dancers in the Wind (2016) Death’s Silent Judgement (2017) Songs of Innocence (2018) and Perdition’s Child was published in February 2020 – early enough to have a launch a couple of weeks later at my local bookshop but sadly I only had a couple of events with readers before the pandemic took hold.
What’s coming next?
As I mentioned I’m currently working on the fifth book in my Hannah Weybridge series plus a standalone psychological thriller and I have an idea that I’ve sketched out for a new, more contemporary series.
Where to find Anne Coates
Anne Coates has worked as an editor and writer on magazines and newspapers and abridged books for Reader’s Digest. As a journalist, she interviewed people from prostitutes and police officers to someone accused of rape and men who worked on the gas rigs which involved a helicopter flight and some of their situations made her think “What if…” And so, investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge was born… Anne has also written seven nonfiction books, a novella and a collection of short stories. She lives in London with three unimpressed cats and enjoys reading, going to the theatre and cinema, wining and dining.
Thanks Anne, here’s to Hannah going from strength to strength.
Tomorrows guest will be Paula Harmon