SR Garrae Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
SR Garrae: I grew up in Scotland, but moved south to work in international finance in London, which I enjoyed immensely for 30 years. Following major eye surgery to prevent sight loss (a terrifying prospect, as both my professional and personal life revolved around reading), I realised that I wanted to write novels more than I wanted to stay in high finance. I was lucky enough to be able to retire and began to write crime fiction with a touch of romance, which became the Casey & Carval series.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
SRG: Memorable, diverse characters, gripping cases and sharp social commentary drive this unmissable police procedural series, set in present-day Manhattan.
IBB: Where do you like to write?
SRG: In my living room, though I can write almost anywhere with my laptop.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
SRG: My laptop and an internet connection, for research; coffee.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
SRG: I’ve read every genre. As a person, I’ve absorbed those books where key characters have had to do the right thing at some personal cost – integrity matters. As an author, I have learned about plot, pacing and “readability” from CJ Cherryh; Lois McMaster Bujold and Dorothy Sayers; and for my genre of character-driven police procedurals I have also learned a lot from TV scripts. Terry Pratchett remains the single most amazing writer I’ve ever read – every time I re-read I find another reference or point that I’ve missed.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
SRG: An excellent set of beta-readers/editors: including my writers’ group.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
SRG: I want people to enjoy reading the story, and connect with the characters – and, of course, buy the next in the series!
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
SRG: Yes: “This isn’t just the next instalment of the Casey & Carval series. It is a fabulous full serving in its own, very distinctive right. It’s no secret that I get jump-up-and-down excited about Garrae’s novels. She has the most wonderful ability to pitch full-on sharp storytelling and blasts of drama alongside thoughtfully handled social issues and relationship dilemmas.”
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
SRG: Detailed editing – it’s hard to change things even though it must be done to improve your book; and formatting for paperback upload where you need to check everything.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
SRG: I let the first draft sit for two weeks or more before I start to edit. I also have a detailed outline of that draft as well as the outline plan, so that I can track the various plotlines more easily and make sure that there are no continuity errors. I use a beta-reader as I go along, whom I trust to tell me the unvarnished truth. I have also written a film script (which was filmed and shown) and the input from the director/film company on pacing, dialogue and character background helped enormously.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
SRG: Constructively professional but friendly – able to give and take criticism and disagreement.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
SRG: In both cases – Why? I’d really love to know what attracted them or what they loathed.
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
SRG: Read everything you can, not just the genre you want to write or that you enjoy. Everything shows you something new; expands your vocabulary and develops your style.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
SRG: More Casey and Carval novels. I’m writing the 4th, and I have a main plot idea for the 5th.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
SRG: I do my own covers. I generally have an idea and picture in my head, and then I put together the set and photograph it. I have used professional touch-up assistance but the bulk of the work and the design is mine alone. Each cover is directly related to the case that forms the core of the book.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
SRG: Every single day, across everything from classics, children’s classics, romance, crime, sci-fi and fantasy, a little autobiography/biography – if it’s readable, I’ll read it. I read at least one full book a day, though not all of them are new to me!
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
SRG: I’ve recently really enjoyed the London-based urban sci-fi of Kate Griffin – the Matthew Swift and Magicals Anonymous series.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on SR and her writing, please do visit her at: