Today we travel to Suffolk to chat with Michelle Kidd about how working as a legal executive, dust under the bed, working for NHS, a tabby cat, Enid Blyton, writing long-hand, getting ideas on the treadmill, gardening, Nelson Mandela, and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm come together as part of Michelle’s current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Michelle Kidd – I currently live in Bury St Edmunds, a sleepy little town in Suffolk, although I was born in Cambridge. I worked as a legal executive for ten years, specialising in civil and criminal litigation, but have worked for the NHS for the last 12 years. I still work full time so writing is squeezed into whatever spare time I can muster! I like reading, wine and cats (although not necessarily in that order!)
My first book, The Phoenix Project, was written in 2008, but it spent the best part of the next ten years under my bed gathering dust! It wasn’t until 2018 that I decided I would publish it, and it’s a decision I’m glad I made!
I have an adorable cat called Livi – she’s a tabby cat and we rescued her from a stray cat centre when she was 7 months old. She loves it when I write – if she’s not sitting on my legs, she is trying to crawl across and sit on my notepad. She does make a few cameo appearances in my books…..
In which genre do you write?
How many published books do you have?
At the moment there are three – all in a series (DI Jack MacIntosh series). I am just finishing the editing on the fourth – hopefully to be released in January 2021.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I’ve wanted to be a writer from a really really young age. I always had my head in a book as a child – I blame Enid Blyton! I loved the Famous Five books, and also the St Clare’s and Mallory Towers books. Boarding school looked such fun didn’t it?? Then I got all ‘horsey’ for a while and read anything that had a pony on the front! I began writing my own stories around eleven or twelve years of age. I remember showing my best friend my first completed full length story when I was about twelve and it made her cry – I think in a good way, or at least I hope so!
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
I write long-hand! I scribble away in a succession of notepads and then type it up onto my laptop. I find that my head churns out words so much faster than my fingers can type – but I can scribble really quite quickly. The only problem comes when I try to decipher what I’ve written….. But the story has the advantage of having its first edit when I do that first typing session, so I find it works for me.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
I mostly write on my bed with my cat sitting on my legs! I think she does it to make sure I don’t move and keep writing…because everyone knows you never disturb a sleeping cat….
What are you currently reading?
I am just about to start The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez. It’s a new one for me – recommended by someone in a little book club I belong to.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
The most recent book I have published is The Fifteen. It is the third book in my DI Jack MacIntosh series. By book three, I feel I know my central characters pretty well. As for the ideas for the storylines, they seem to come to me when I least expect them. Mostly it is when I’m doing something else, like working out at the gym, walking to work, or even washing up. Ideas float into my head and I quickly have to try and find a way to write them down (not easy when you’re striding away on the treadmill!)
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I work full time for the NHS at my local hospital. It is a 5-6 day working week, so finding the time for writing is quite difficult. When I do get some free time I like going to the gym and do some gardening.
If you could have a fantasy tea with a famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would like to invite Nelson Mandela to tea! I saw him when I was 17, at the Nelson Mandela concert at Wembley Stadium. It was just after he had been released from prison. I remember walking through the streets of Wanstead with a friend from college, at lord knows what time of night, making our way to where my dad was going to pick us up in Redbridge. This was before mobile phones (giving away my age there…!) and it makes me shudder to this day!
I think Mandela would make the most fascinating afternoon tea guest – just thinking about all the experiences he has had. I would like to ask him how he managed to keep his strength and optimism, and whether he believed he would finally be released one day. And what books does he like to read??
What is your favorite time of day and why?
Early mornings! And I never thought I would ever say that! I love being up in the quiet hours when nobody else is around. Except the cat -she’s always up.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (ie Borat 2). My daughter made me watch it, and although I didn’t really think it would be my thing, I did actually find it to be quite amusing and very clever in the end!
Camilla: This is on my list to watch! Thanks for the reminder.
What are you currently working on?
I am just finishing the editing for the fourth book in my DI Jack MacIntosh series. It is called The Bishop. Hopefully it will be ready for publication in January 2021 – fingers crossed.
Tell us about your most recent book.
My most recent book is the third book in the DI Jack MacIntosh series – called The Fifteen.
It was great having you on MTA, and learning more about your writing style. Wishing you all the best, with much success! – Camilla
Blurb for The Fifteen:
When the past finally catches up with you, is it murder? Or justice?
When a bedbound, defenceless man is found dead in his London nursing home, nobody saw his killer.
But the killer left their mark.
Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh soon discovers that this was no random killing; this one was personal.
And it was just the beginning.
As the case unfolds, Jack is forced to think the unthinkable as the evidence begins to point disturbingly close to home.
Revenge – how long would you wait?
The Fifteen is the third book in the DI Jack MacIntosh series.
Where to find the book:
Michelle Kidd is a self-published author known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels.
Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.
But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.
In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and has not looked back since. There are currently three DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fourth in progress.
Michelle works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order.
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