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  • Lynne Shelby

The Killer Touch - This Writing Life #15 - Lorraine Mace

Today, I'm delighted to host a guest post from Lorraine Mace about her writing life as an author of hard-boiled crime fiction.

Over to Lorraine...

The Killer Touch - Lorraine Mace

I write what is termed hard-boiled crime and I’m often asked how I come up with story ideas. I always give the same response: I have an evil mind. The knowledge that I know more ways to kill people and cover up the crime than the average woman doesn’t help my partner to a restful night. I think he’s worried I might one day help him to a permanent rest.

This fear was reinforced when I tried to record dialogue in the middle of the night. I often wake with the words of characters ringing in my head, but find I’ve lost the vibrancy of the voices by the time morning comes. Rather than switch the light on and wake him, I thought I’d be considerate and whisper the conversation between my killer and his victim into my phone.

I was well into my stride when the room lit up.

“What on earth are you doing?” Chris demanded. “Have you any idea how creepy it is to wake up hearing you threaten to cut off body parts and fry them?”

“But I was whispering,” I said, annoyed that he hadn’t appreciated my consideration.

“And that was supposed to make it better?” he asked, switching the light off again with more force than I thought necessary.

Chris is one of the few people I know who has no ambition to appear in one of my D.I. Sterling books. My local butcher wants to feature as a drug lord, while his apprentice says I should use his name for a rent boy. When I told the young lad I thought he had the perfect name for my next murderer he was overjoyed.

George, who lives next door, says he’d like to be a con artist. Josie, his wife, would rather be a modern-day Bonnie, but doesn’t want George to feature as Clyde.

“If I’m going to have a fantasy come true, I don’t want him in it,” she whispered while the poor man was in the kitchen making tea.

I check the internet to make sure my criminals’ actions are credible. The best advice, though, comes from experts. I was in a hospital waiting room one day, having walked past the sign for the morgue, when I wondered if it was possible to kill by injecting someone with embalming fluid. Fortunately, I knew a doctor to ask – sadly, the answer was no because it would have to go in the femoral artery and that wasn’t feasible if the person was still alive.

“What about warfarin?” I asked, but that has to be taken orally and I needed something to inject for the killer in book three of my D.I. Sterling series, Injections of Insanity.

The doctor came to my rescue. “The easiest injectable drug for a murderer would be insulin. It’s difficult to spot unless the forensic pathologist is specifically looking for it in overdose and you can buy it on the internet.”

I told Chris about it and he looked terrified.

“Stop being such a wimp,” I said. “If I was going to murder you, I wouldn’t tell you in advance about the method I’d use.”

He shook his head and said I needed professional help. I can’t imagine what he means!

Thank you, Lorraine, for a wonderful insight into your writing life.

The first book in Lorraine's D. I. Sterling series is Retriever of Souls. Here is the blurb:

Brought up believing that sex is the devil's work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victim's souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption. Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.

Series links (please click on the link or copy and paste into your browser)

Retriever of Souls:

Children in Chains:

Injections of Insanity:

Rage and Retribution:

Born and raised in South East London, Lorraine lived and worked in South Africa, on the Island of Gozo and in France before settling on the Costa del Sol in Spain. She lives with her partner in a traditional Spanish village inland from the coast and enjoys sampling the regional dishes and ever-changing tapas in the local bars. Her knowledge of Spanish is expanding. To stop her waistline from doing the same, she runs five times a week.

Find Lorraine at:





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