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Fast Five with author Graham Smith

I received an ARC copy of Graham Smith’s new book – A Body in the Lakes (read my review here). I loved Graham’s amazing female lead character, Beth Young, and with International Women’s Day just around the corner, I thought Graham would be an awesome person to interview and understand why he, as a male author, picked a female as the main character for his incredible detective series.


Firstly, Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions in Booked up Girl’s International Women’s Day Special “Fast Five” interview! Graham, could you start off by telling us a bit about yourself.

I am a mid-forties joiner who now works as the general manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue.
When not working or writing, l enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading and watching football.

Before we dive into questions around your female lead character, Beth Young, could you please tell us, in your own words, a little bit about your new book A Body in the Lakes – which comes out next week.

When a walker finds the body of a woman by the shores of Lake Ullswater, the police are put on high alert. Felicia Evans was known to be a tough character, but who would have strangled her?

Detective Beth Young quickly spots the links to three cold cases. Three women strangled and discarded in the stunning, wild hills of the Lake District.

As Beth begins tracking down witnesses, the team receives an anonymous letter claiming the charming Mayor of Carlisle is behind the murders. There’s pressure from the top to clear his name. But Beth is determined to find the truth no matter whose feathers she ruffles in the process.

Beth knows the clock is ticking. The killer is hunting again. And it’s down to her to find who’s responsible before another woman becomes his prey…

1. Being a male author, what was your inspiration behind having a female lead in your novels?

I like to challenge myself and rather than your typically cynical middle-aged DI, I thought it would be interesting to have the hero of my story as a young DC starting out on their police career. To make them as opposite as I could from myself, I chose to have a female lead. Since creating Beth, I’ve had to think about situations I’m writing in a different way. One of the benefits of having a young female lead is that I can introduce a male chauvinist at any time I like just to create a little bit of conflict which is always good for a story.
The other aspect to this is that because I often write from multiple points of view, I have written many female characters before and when I’m writing, for me it’s about inhabiting the characters’ viewpoint rather than their gender.

2. What made you choose a character that has a noticeable scar on their face? What made you want to introduce this aspect?

All lead characters have some kind of backstory which is what makes them the (interesting) person they are. As Beth was so young and at the beginning of her career, I couldn’t fall back on the old staples of a broken relationship or a drink problem due to the broken relationship or the cases the lead hadn’t been able to solve. I also wanted to use this bit of backstory in a couple of ways. First, I wanted it to be something which is relatable to readers (nobody likes the idea of being disfigured) and yet shows Beth’s inner strength and determination. Second, I wanted to create a thread which runs through the entire series of books. It’s my plan that Beth will one day come face to face with both of the men whose fight left her with a scarred cheek. Naturally, I will not make this happen either quickly or easily as the more I can put Beth through the wringer the more interesting she is to both me and hopefully the reader.

3. Your books also focus on another strong female lead, Beth’s boss, Detective Inspector Zoe O’Dowd. Can you give us some insight into her character?

O’Dowd sort of came around by accident. I’d already given Beth two male colleagues and I wanted to keep a natural balance so when I created Beth’s DI, Zoe ‘Dowdy’ O’Dowd was born. She is a character I love, although she’s an errant bugger and I have to continually rein her in as she’s forever threatening to steal Beth’s limelight. O’Dowd is cynical, loyal, dedicated and fantastic fun to write. I feel that she’s like a favourite aunt of Beth’s which is what gives Beth the confidence to get in her DI’s face if the occasion calls for it.

4. Can we expect to see more from Beth and the FMIT Team in the future?

Absolutely you can. I am currently doing the first round of edits on the as yet untitled book three and I have many ideas for further books in the series. I have a fantastic editor who supports me and having started this adventure, I think there is so much more to come from Beth, O’Dowd and of course, the mysterious Neck Kisses.

5. And finally, as it’s International Women’s Day, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this year’s theme #BalanceforBetter (Better the balance, better the world)

I’m not sure what the big issue is here. To my mind people deserve equal pay, respect, opportunity and a thousand other factors. There should be no differences in how people are treated due to gender, race or their sexuality etc; everyone is equal in my eyes. I do though have a caveat to this, there are always those who’ll work harder than others or treat those around them better. These people are the champions of the world and they’ll prosper far more than those who don’t help themselves. In short, I treat others as I’d like to be treated myself and I firmly believe in paying a kindness forward.

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1 Comment

  • Sally Trueman
    March 6, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Love this blog. Very informative.

    Reply

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  • I’ve had such a lovely day 🤸🏻‍♀️
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🤪 Checked out the Brighton Upside down house - it was pretty cool 🖤 👉🏻 SWIPE to check out 😋 Including the photobomb 🙄🙄
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📖 Obviously snuck in some outdoors reading ... I’ve nearly finished The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren and just don’t want it to end 😭😭😭
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🍕 After 11.63 Miles of walking (24,551 steps!!!) we stopped for amazing vegan pizzas at @fattoamanopizza 🤤🤤🤤
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💫 Now I’m not leaving the couch ... 🛋
💭 Weekend reading suggestions? 👇🏻👇🏻
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#visitbrighton #upsidedownhouse #veganpizza #brightonbeach #bibliophile #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookish #bookaddict #bookworm #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #currentlyreading #cozyvibes #mayreads #tbrpile #bookreviewer #booksofig #bookstagrammer #bookblog #cozyreading #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #mustread #allthebooks #bookreviewer #bookishlove
  • Ohhh YESSSSS! It’s a FOUR day weekend 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻
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👆🏻 Hoping mine will look pretty much like this ☀️
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📚 I’ll be finishing @christinalauren ‘s The Unhoneymooners, then I DEFINITELY want to read November 9 by @colleenhoover ... then I’m undecided 🤔
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🏠 And I REALLY want to check out the new @udhouseuk in Brighton this weekend 😂
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💭 What’s everyone reading this weekend?
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#bibliophile #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookish #bookaddict #bookworm #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #currentlyreading #cozyvibes #mayreads #tbrpile #tbrpost #bookreviewer #booksofig #bookrecs #bookstagrammer #bookblog #cozyreading #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #booksandcoffee #mustread #allthebooks #bookreviewer #bookishlove #christinalauren
  • After absolutely LOVING Verity, I purchased a few more of @colleenhoover ‘s books 💫
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🖤 Loved, loved and LOVED All Your Perfects which I read last weekend - the (love) story of couple Quinn and Graham on their journey through life and infertility. Review up on blog (link in bio)
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💎 Then two more gems, November 9 and Ugly Love, I’m looking forward to getting into - maybe over this upcoming long weekend 😎
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💭 Have you read these? What did you think? 👇🏻👇🏻
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#bibliophile #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookish #bookaddict #bookworm #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #currentlyreading #cozyvibes #mayreads #tbrpile #tbrpost #bookreviewer #booksofig #bookrecs #bookstagrammer #bookblog #cozyreading #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #booksandcoffee #mustread #allthebooks #bookreviewer #bookishlove #colleenhoover
  • My Lovely Wife was on many “Most Anticipated Reads of 2019”. Also, being billed as Dexter meets Mr & Mrs Smith (I also think meets YOU) … so of course I had to try it!
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I got through this one in a day over the weekend. I’m conflicted 🤔 … I did really enjoy most of it, but there were parts that were just a bit ‘too much’ for me i terms of unbelievable and i don’t think it fully lived up to the hype 😔
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🔎 The story is told from the husband’s point of view, who is married to Millicent, has 2 teenage kids and is a tennis coach for an affluent country club. They are a ‘typical’ couple, until after 15 years of marriage, they get bored and decide to get away with murder 😬. It was definitely a weird, dark and twisty psychological thriller, and despite not completely loving it, it was definitely worth a read.
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Booked up Girl rating: ★★★½ (Mini review on the blog, link in bio)
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💭 Anyone else read? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 👇🏻👇🏻
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#bibliophile #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookish #bookaddict #bookworm #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #currentlyreading #cozyvibes #mayreads #tbrpile #tbrpost #bookreviewer #booksofig #bookrecs #bookstagrammer #bookblog #cozyreading #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #booksandcoffee #mustread #allthebooks #bookreviewer #bookishlove #penguinbooks
  • 💭 Do you ever just need to take a night off reading? 🙈
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🥂 Tonight I had a seriously epic meal at @riddleandfinns1 where I’ve wanted to eat F.O.R.E.V.E.R. It was so good 🤤🤤
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📺 Now to binge on TV shows ... Dreading the final Big Bang Theory episode 😭😭😭😭
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📖 Tomorrow, I’ll resume new book I started this morning, The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren 👰🏻🤵🏻
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#bibliophile #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookish #bookaddict #bookworm #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #currentlyreading #cozyvibes #mayreads #tbrpile #tbrpost #bookreviewer #booksofig #bookrecs #bookstagrammer #bookblog #cozyreading #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #booksandcoffee #mustread #allthebooks #bookreviewer #bookishlove #christinalauren
  • 💎 I got through All Your Perfects in one night - it totally wowed me 🤩 It’s just amazing how Colleen managed to capture, make so real, the infertility battle that many couples face.
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🖤 This book is an amazing love story. I really felt the emotion, and pain of Quinn and Graham’s story – the writing was just beautiful✨ I loved every page of it!
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💫 “If you only shine light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim.”
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Booked up Girl rating: ★★★★½ (review on the blog, link in bio)
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👉🏻👉🏻 Also, I’ve had a Sunday Bake Day 🍰 ... Swipe to see the tasty HEALTHY brownies for my work friends tomorrow 🤤🤤🤤
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#bibliophile #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookish #bookaddict #bookworm #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #currentlyreading #cozyvibes #mayreads #tbrpile #tbrpost #bookreviewer #booksofig #bookrecs #bookstagrammer #bookblog #cozyreading #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #booksandcoffee #mustread #allthebooks #bookreviewer #bookishlove #colleenhoover
  • 🖤 Don’t you just love when you get the perfect recommendation – Matchmaking for Beginners by @maddiedaws was exactly what I needed!
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🔎It was an addictive read, which kept me very entertained during the return of insomnia this week. I had a blast with all the quirky characters, from the main protagonists Blix and Marnie, to the rest of Blix’s “family” who all lived in her building.
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✨I got so absorbed into the lives of the characters, I just couldn’t put it down. I loved how the book had the perfect mix of humour, romance and of course magic!
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🧚‍♀️The huge lesson …. There’s so many surprises life has to offer … if you are open to them. “Whatever happens, love that” - If you want something a bit different – look no further.
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Booked up Girl rating: ★★★★ (Mini review on the blog, link in bio)
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💭 Are you ready for some magic? 💫
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#lakeunionpublishing  #bibliophile #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookish #bookaddict #bookworm #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #currentlyreading #cozyvibes #mayreads #tbrpile #tbrpost #bookreviewer #booksofig #bookrecs #bookstagrammer #bookblog #cozyreading #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #booksandcoffee #mustread #allthebooks #bookreviewer #bookishlove
  • 🗓 Pretty productive day...
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✅Met some final work deadlines 🥵
✅Enjoyed some pampering 💆🏻‍♀️
✅Finished Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson (review tomorrow!)🖤
✅August holiday planning ✈️
✅Baking material out and ready for when insomnia hits again tonight 🍪
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🥳 I felt like today was a WIN!
💭 How was your Friday - readyyy for the weekend? 🎉
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#planningtime #productiveday #bibliophile #bookish #booklover #booksofig #bookaddict #bookworm #bookbloggers #shelfie #bookreview #bookrecs #booksandcoffee #coffeeandbooks #springvibes #krispykremedoughnuts #mayreads #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #coffeeeveryday #readersofig #readeveryday #bookishlove #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #bookreviewer
  • WHAT A DAY .... 🌈
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💫 I had the most amazing day at the East Sussex Women of the Year event. It was SO inspiring. I got to meet HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, hear some awesome speeches from some really inspirational and BRAVE women!
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😴 Pretty exhausted after my day of socialising ... the introvert that I am is now super pleased to be home, cup if @rareteacompany green tea, and my book Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson 👉🏻 📖☕️🍪💤
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💆🏻‍♀️ This weekend is going to be about chilling ... catching up of reading and a few pamper sessions 💅🏻
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💭 Introverts out there - how do you like to recharge after a very social day? 😂👇🏻👇🏻
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 #bibliophile #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookish #bookaddict #bookworm #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #currentlyreading #cozyvibes #mayreads #tbrpile #tbrpost #bookreviewer #booksofig #bookrecs #bookstagrammer #bookblog #cozyreading #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #booksandcoffee #mustread #allthebooks #bookreviewer #bookishlove #introvertlife
  • During yet another horrendous sleepless night 😩 ... I made a huge dent in Matchmaking for Beginners by @maddiedaws (silver linings!! 💫)
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🖤 I’m absolutely loving the characters of Marnie and Blix... About the book 👇🏻
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🔎 Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
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💎 Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
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🖤And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.
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💭 Anyone else read/reading this? Let me know what you think! 👇🏻👇🏻
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#lakeunionpublishing  #bibliophile #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookish #bookaddict #bookworm #readeverywhere #bookaesthetic #currentlyreading #cozyvibes #mayreads #tbrpile #tbrpost #bookreviewer #booksofig #bookrecs #bookstagrammer #bookblog #cozyreading #vscoreads #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #booksandcoffee #mustread #allthebooks #bookreviewer #bookishlove

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