Debut Prize - Suzy Aspley

The Good Books, Suzy Aspley: ‘I curl up in the dark with a great book and read until I can’t keep my eyes open

Suzy Aspley has been shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize with her crime fiction novel, Crow Moon


The first book I remember reading:

Three Ponies and Shannan, by Diana Pullein-Thompson. As a pony mad kid who pined for a horse of my own (which was totally out of reach growing up in a working class Tyneside family), this classic 1940s story has a poor, but noble, heroine and a rich girl villain. Also an Irish Wolfhound, which made me want one of those too.

A book I recommend to everyone:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I’ve read and re-read this book, and listened to it too. It’s an imagining of the story of the last woman who was executed in Iceland, after being accused of murdering her lover. It is a story that really got under my skin. Beautiful writing and setting, and a focus on the injustice of the case. It has a sense of dreadful inevitability throughout about what happened to Agnes Magnúsdóttir, who’s life was ended in 1830. 

The best three books I have read in the last year:

A Haunting in the Arctic by CJ Cooke, one of my favourite gothic writers, was clever and beautifully told. I loved O Caledonia, a classic novella from Elsbeth Barker, which I’m ashamed to say I only just discovered, but will definitely go back to. And fellow Orenda author Will Carver’s brilliant and mad Upstairs at the Beresford is just incomparable, but compulsive reading. 

A book I didn’t finish or enjoy:

I can’t think of a book I haven’t finished/enjoyed. I’m pretty careful in what I choose to read and love so many genres. What I would say is that some audiobooks just have the wrong narrator for me and that can kill the story if I don’t feel it’s right, so I’ll get the taster before I download it. 

An author who has inspired me:

I’m a huge fan of Nordic noir and the first Icelandic author I read was Yrsa Sigurdardottir. She perfectly blends an incredible sense of place, with beautifully crafted plots and elements of the supernatural or ‘other’ that I absolutely love. I still wait with anticipation for every new book! 

 My favourite place to read:

I read every night before I go to sleep. I like to curl up in the dark with a great book on my kindle and read until I can’t keep my eyes open. I can’t read when I travel, except flying, but I envy people who can spend hours on a train with a great read. That said, audiobooks are fantastic on a long car trip.

The winner of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival will be revealed in Stirling on 13 September. Tickets and further information at Suzy Aspley’s book Crow Moon, is published by Orenda Books. On sale online and in store £9.99.

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