I was fortunate to have met with Victoria thanks to an interview at CrimeTime FM about the Gwyl CRIME CYMRU Festival, and again at CrimeFest this year. I’m very pleased to bring you an interview with Victoria about her latest release.
Twelve-year-old Sophie and her mother, Amelia-Rose, move to London from Massachusetts where they meet the charismatic Matty Melgren, who quickly becomes an intrinsic part of their lives. But as the relationship between the two adults fractures, a serial killer begins targeting young women with a striking resemblance to Amelia-Rose.
When Matty is eventually sent down for multiple murders, questions remain as to his guilt – questions that ultimately destroy both women. Nearly 20 years later, Sophie receives a letter from Battlemouth Prison informing her Matty is dying and wants to meet. It looks like Sophie might finally get the answers she craves. But will the truth set her free – or bury her deeper?
©2022 Victoria Selman (P)2022 Quercus Editions Limited
Clearly “Truly Darkly Deeply” is a dark and psychological thriller that is going to take the reader through some intense emotions. And there’s a sense of uncertainty throughout the book as to what really happened. What took you to the place from which this story developed?
Those familiar with my work, will know all about my fascination with true crime and the criminal psyche- though what intrigues me just as much as the mentality of evil is how serialists are able to dupe those close to them. That it’s possible to share your life with one without ever suspecting it.
So, it’s fair to say I’m more than a little bit obsessed with serial killers! However, I was keen to approach what can feel like a well-worn genre from a fresh perspective.
Much has been written from the viewpoint of the serial killer’s wife, but it struck me that very little has been penned from the viewpoint of a child. I wanted to explore that relationship and its legacy whilst also as looking at what it means to be a monster – and to love one.
The book is told in dual timelines, the stories unfolding in parallel, what did you do to ensure it was clear to both yourself and the readers which timeline they are in at any one point? Were there any tools you used to take you to the right timeframe, e.g. music or imagery?
Music, fashion references and nods to current events were all ways of signposting to the reader when we were in the past.
I grew up in the 80’s and so one of the highlights of writing Truly Darkly Deeply was tapping into my childhood memories and bringing them back to life on the page. Like Sophie, I listened to Madonna (who didn’t back then?!) made a Royal Wedding scrapbook and still remember vividly coming home from school to be told we were at war with Argentina.
The book remains in the first person throughout, so the reader can only know what Sophie knows. While first person is one of the most intimate ways to write, drawing the reading up close and personal, for many writers it’s also one of the hardest stand points to do well. Why did you feel that this story was best told in this way, and were there stumbling blocks were you desperately wanted to show something Sophie couldn’t know?
The first person is actually the viewpoint I’m most comfortable with since it enables you to literally step inside your character’s skin. In this instance, it was the natural choice because of the personal nature of the narrative- particularly its reflective tone and retrospective elements. The fun part was allowing the reader glimpses of what ‘child’ Sophie couldn’t possibly know but what ‘adult’ Sophie had come to suspect!
Given the levels of uncertainty that are examined in the book, do you know the truth about Matty’s guilty or innocence? (Yes or No is a sufficient answer if you want it to be.)
We do find out in the end, yes! I couldn’t leave that question unanswered!!
Without spoilers, because we don’t want to harm a good read, what is the overriding message or emotion that you want your readers to take away from the read? What do you think they’ll be thinking about in the years after they’ve read Truly Darkly Deeply?
There are two sides to Truly, Darkly, Deeply: a coming of age narrative and a serial killer thriller. A tale of the triumph of hope over despair; of losing everything only to find what you really need is inside you all along.
You are a busy mum of two, you work on the Crime Time FM podcast, and now your second novel is out. What’s next for you?
Writing is both my career and my passion so I’ll be writing until I’m told, ‘No more, thank you!’ As well as writing though, I’m also very much involved in building up Crime Time FM with my co-hosts, Paul Burke and Barry Forshaw and by the time Truly, Darkly, Deeply comes out, I’ll have just MC’d the Daggers and be getting ready for my book tour.
If there is anything else you want to highlight or let the readers know, feel free to add it here.
I have a newsletter in which I offer sneak previews of upcoming titles, run giveaways and give an insight into my life as an author. If you’re interested, you can sign up here: http://www.victoriaselmanauthor.com/
You can also follow me on Twitter @VictoriaSelman
To purchase the book, here’s the link “Truly Darkly Deeply”
Victoria Selman Biography
Victoria Selman is the author of the critically acclaimed Ziba MacKenzie series. Her debut novel, Blood for Blood, was shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger and an Amazon Charts #1 bestseller for five weeks, selling over half a million copies.
Victoria has written for the Independent, co-hosts Crime Time FM with critics, Barry Forshaw and Paul Burke, compiles the Afraid of the Light charity anthology series and was shortlisted for the 2021 CWA Short Story Dagger.
Her first standalone thriller, Truly, Darkly, Deeply, is being published as Quercus’ flagship crime thriller title on July 7th 2022 and has been receiving praise from household names such as Patricia Cornwell, S.J. Watson and Alex Michaelides.