I grew up in London in a family of writers and actors and spent my childhood endlessly concocting stories and plays in my head to keep myself occupied. Heavily influenced by early reading of Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie, there was always a body, or at the very least some sort of mystery that required solving. I, of course, played the detective. Even as an adult, I would have fragments of stories spinning around in my head, but it was years before I decided to attempt a novel – the catalyst a period of enforced and intensely boring bed rest for medical reasons. After several false starts and rejected submissions, the first chapter and synopsis of Die With Me were shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger in 2005 and the novel was published by Quercus two years later. I still live in central London – a city I love. Place is very important to me in terms of my writing and I decided to set my novels in and around London as it offers a wealth of character, variety and history, which never ceases to inspire.
Interviews with Elena
houseofanansi.com - questions to Elena about her latest instalment in the Mark Tartaglia series, her favourite crime fiction writers, and her advice for young writers.
www.curledup.com - Michael Leonard interviewed author Elena Forbes about her novel Die With Me, Internet chat rooms and suicide pacts, and the idea of manipulating the vulnerable.
www.shotsmag.co.uk - Sarah Townsend catches up with Elena Forbes to discuss her writing and the Barnes Murder Squad amongst other things.
Places and Locations
Setting is very important to me as a writer. When I was researching Die With Me, the first book in the Mark Tartaglia series, I discovered that two of the Met Police’s West London homicide squads are based in Barnes. It’s a place I know well from childhood and it has a lot to offer as a location for a story. For those that aren’t familiar with it, Barnes is a semi-rural backwater in the heart of west London. It nestles in a tight loop of the Thames, boasting a Common, a village green and duck pond, together with a wetland bird sanctuary. Even though it’s located not far from the centre of the city, it seems far removed from the buzz of London life. Lined with little independent shops, coffee bars and great pubs, the village high street wouldn’t look out of place in the Home Counties and it’s a well-heeled, middle-class part of town, with little crime and no murders, as far as I know.