Interview with Victoria Selman about new release “Truly Darkly Deeply”

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.


Blurb

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

Interview

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.

Author Interview – Ann Bloxwich

I first met Ann at the Bloody Scotland crime festival a number of years ago. A bubbly, popular, confident woman with a dream to chase, and now she’s gaining momentum.

When did you start writing, and why?

It’s a strong desire to prove myself, and to make my family proud of me. I was always told I’d never amount to anything, and for years I believed it. My dream is to see my books in bookshops and on the bestsellers lists, knowing how hard I worked to get there and so I can say ‘I did it. I chased my dreams and made them happen.’

Which do you like to write, series or standalones?  If you write both, what do you find the difference?

I find a series easier in that I can develop my characters more fully. I do have a standalone outlined but have a feeling that it may turn into a series if I fall in love with the characters.

Is there anything you wouldn’t write about?

I’d like to think I could tackle almost anything, as long as it is done with the utmost respect for the victims. Having said that, I don’t think I could ever write about animal abuse.

Who is your favourite of your characters, why and in which books do they appear?

I have a couple of favourites. My favourite is Alex Peachey, he’s the kind of policeman I would want to help me if I was in trouble. When I’m writing a scene with him, I ask myself what I would do if I were in his shoes, then he reacts the same way I would. My second favourite is Matt Farrow, aka Faz. He’s based on my old sports physio – and has the same name – and has a similar sick sense of humour. I’m enjoying developing his character, and you’ll be seeing more of him in future books.

Who is your least favourite of your characters, why and in which books do they appear?

Vicky Wilson was my least favourite in the first book,. She was exactly like the kind of person I used to see hanging around at ladies’ nights, hoping to pull one of the guys and being rude to the staff or other performers because they thought they were something special. I’m still writing the second book, so haven’t decided yet who’s my least favourite.

Tell us about your last book…

What Goes Around’ is the first in the DI Alex Peachey series and sees Alex being called back to work from leave to find the killer of a young woman after a ladies’ night. With a house move imminent and issues with his disabled son, it’s the last thing Alex needs but he has no choice when his colleague is rushed to hospital. Vicky Wilson had been dating one of the male strippers, an unpleasant, self-centred man named Ray Diamond, and had last been seen heading to join him backstage during the show. Alex has to figure out whether Ray is telling the truth when he says he didn’t kill Vicky or whether he’s so arrogant he thinks he can get away with murder.

What’s coming next…

‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ (provisional title).
‘Survivors’ is a counselling and therapy group for women who were abused as children. They meet up each week, safe in the knowledge that everything they discuss is confidential. Souls are bared and fears are expressed without judgement or ridicule. They can talk openly in a place where they feel safe, in the hope they can work through their terrible experiences and start to move forward. Then their abusers start turning up dead, each body bearing a gift card that reads ‘Goodnight, God Bless.’
Specific methods of torture suggests that the killer knows the women very well indeed, with knowledge of privileged information. Information that could only have come from inside that room.
DI Alex Peachey and his team have to tread carefully to find out if the killer is a mere vigilante, determined to free these women from their nightmares, or if there is more to this case than meets the eye.

Link to Buy: What Goes Around

I’m a short, tattooed crime writer, with a profound love of cats and rock music. I’ve worked as an Oompa Loompa in a chocolate factory, a carer in a residential home, and had my own promotions company before I became an author.

‘What Goes Around’ is the first book in the DI Alex Peachy Series. I’ve also had short stories published in two charity anthologies produced by ‘Crime & Publishment’, a crime writing workshop run by Graham Smith at The Mill Forge hotel in Gretna Green. When I’m not writing, I’m usually attending book festivals.

Thank you Ann, I’m looking forward to seeing you again at the next festival.