Join Belinda in the dock with Dead Good as she reveals all about her love of crime writing, why she watched anatomy students dissect cadavars in Cardiff and how she would write her own death.
A rubbernecker is someone who cranes to look at something – often something ghoulish, such as a car accident – in the hope of seeing blood, bodies and death. In Patrick’s case, he is obsessed by the death of his father and seeks to understand what happened to him in terms that he can understand.
Did you attend anatomy classes as part of your research? Did you get to cut any of the bodies open?
I went to the university in Cardiff and watched bodies being dissected. I had already watched detailed dissections online so that I could write about the exact methods the students use to dissect cadavers, but there were some details that I felt I could only get right in person. Those included the kinds of instruments used, the layout of the room, the procedures and jargon, the atmosphere among the students and – most importantly – the smell. I’m very glad I did, because it’s an experience – and a smell – I’ll never forget.
Your books have incredibly strong and complex male characters in them – Steven and Patrick being the two that spring to mind. Do you prefer to write about males?
Out of necessity, I concentrate on the characters who can tell my stories in the best possible way, whether they are male or female. In Darkside, for instance, I thought the story was going to be written with Lucy, Jonas’s wife, as the main voice, but the mechanics of the plot meant that if I stuck to Lucy’s point of view, I would not have been able to tell the story the way I wanted to, so I switched to Jonas as the protagonist. It’s something of a balancing act – what you gain and what you lose with each character. In the book I am writing now, the main character is a ten-year-old girl.
Thinking of choosing Rubbernecker as your next reading group book? If so, we have some suggestions for topics of discussion in our handy reading group guide.
Here are some possible topics for discussion:
1. The title of the novel refers to the act of staring inquisitively, often at other people’s misfortune, and the story itself begins with Patrick rubbernecking at a car crash. How else does this idea surface throughout the book and why do you think Belinda chose it as the title?
2. Patrick has a difficult relationship with his mother, and she seems at times to begrudge him his very existence. Sandy has a tempestuous relationship with her stepmother, and Tracy has a very disturbing idea of what makes a family. How far do you think the book’s portrayal of family reflects reality?
3. Patrick often says or thinks things that we would never say ourselves. How important is this device to the progression of the novel? And how far do you think Patrick represents a part of all of us?
4. Tracy Evans is in no ways a conventional nurse; she is uncaring, shallow and money-obsessed. Did you find her to be an enjoyable character despite that? What role do you think she plays in the novel?
5. Death is Patrick’s overriding obsession – why people die, and where they go to afterwards. A cadaver, number 19, is a central ‘character’ in the book, and dissection plays a central part. What do you think the novel says about death, and is there any conclusion for Patrick?
7. Patrick’s mother isn’t always very nice to him. And he often says things that hurt her, albeit unintentionally. How much do you sympathise with each of them, and do you feel as though Belinda would like you to sympathise with one more than the other?
8. As the book progresses, Patrick and his group dissect a cadaver. What do you think this cadaver might represent, both to Patrick and to the author?
9. Rubbernecker is not a traditional crime novel – the detective is a young man with Asperger’s, and at first there doesn’t even appear to be a crime. How would you classify this book – and does a book like this need to be classified at all?
11. Tracy’s story ends very ambiguously. What do you think happens to her, and how do you feel about this?
12. There are multiple narratives in the book, apart from our main protagonist Patrick’s point of view – we hear from his mother Sarah, Tracy, Meg and Mr Galen, the coma patient. How important do you think it is to have these differing viewpoints?
13. Various books are mentioned throughout the novel: Ulysses, The Da Vinci Code, and a series of novels about a character called Rose that Tracy is addicted to. What do you make of the way the author refers to these books?Leave A Comment »
We are thrilled to announce that Belinda’s brand new novel Rubbernecker is the book choice on BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo’s Book club tonight!
Tune in at 6pm to hear Belinda talking about the novel that The Sunday Express said had ‘more twists and coils than a hangman’s noose’.
Belinda will also be taking part in a Q&A on the Radio 2 Facebook page from 6:30pm.Leave A Comment »
Join Belinda at Bleakhouse Library on Wednesday, 13th February to talk about her gripping new book, Rubbernecker.
Wednesday 13th February
£3.00 full price or £1.50 concessionary.
Tickets available from Bleakhouse Library on 0121 422 2798, or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 28 January 2013.Leave A Comment »
The fifteen authors longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award 2012 have now been whittled down to six, including Belinda Bauer!
Unlike most literary prizes, the Dagger in the Library is awarded not for an individual book but for the author’s body of work. Last year’s winner was Mo Hayder, and previous winners have included Colin Cotterill, Stuart MacBride and Craig Russell.
The other shortlisted authors are S.J. Bolton, Susan Hill, Peter May, Steve Mosby and Imogen Robertson and the winner will be announced at a ceremony on July 5th. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed…
Best of luck, Belinda!
For more information on this year’s Dagger in the Libary Award, see http://www.thecwa.co.uk/daggers/2012/library.htmlLeave A Comment »
Belinda Bauer has been long listed for not one, but two forthcoming awards – the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2012 AND the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library.
Belinda’s second novel, Darkside, has been included in the list of titles being considered for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2012, one of crime-writing’s most wanted accolades. It’s the second time that Belinda’s name has appeared in this list, having also been long listed last year for her award-winning debut, Blacklands. The names of six shortlisted titles will be revealed on July 5th after which YOU – crime-fiction fans! – will have the opportunity to vote for the eventual winner.
Belinda has also been long listed for the prestigious CWA Dagger in the Library. Unlike most other literary prizes, the Dagger in the Library is awarded not for an individual book but for the author’s body of work, with writers being nominated by library users and chosen by a panel of librarians. The shortlist will be revealed at Crimefest in Bristol on 25 May, and the winner at the CWA Daggers Awards Ceremony on 5 July.
So, well done, Belinda - and fingers crossed for the short lists!Leave A Comment »
Belinda Bauer will be speaking at Cowbridge Book Festival’s annual Crime Night on Wednesday, 16 May. Belinda will be appearing with fellow crime writers, M.R. Hall and Martin O’Brien, in the atmospheric surroundings of Cowbridge United Free Church.
The event will begin at 7.30pm, to be followed by a book signing and refreshments. Tickets cost £8 and are available from the festival website. All proceeds from Cowbridge Book Festival will be donated to The Noah’s Ark Appeal and the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research Fund.
7.30-9pm on Wednesday, 16 May at Cowbridge United Free Church, Westgate, Cowbridge CF71 7AE.
For further information and tickets see:Leave A Comment »
Crime fans of Bristol!
Belinda Bauer will be visiting Emerson’s Green Library on Tuesday, 1 May. Do come along to hear her talk about her work, answer your questions and meet with as many of you as possible….
6.30pm on Tuesday, 1 May at Emerson’s Green Library, Emerson Way, Emerson’s Green, South Gloucestershire, BS16 7AP.
Tickets for this event cost £2.50 for library members and £5.00 for non-members and are available from all South Gloucestershire Libraries.
For further information see:Leave A Comment »
Icarus, a new short story by Belinda Bauer has been published in The Daily Mirror. Click here for a festive read!Leave A Comment »
For those of you yet to grab a copy, Stylist Magazine’s Summer Fiction Special includes Belinda Bauer’s never-before-seen short story - Everything Must Go.
Stylist: ‘Bauer is one of the leading names in crime fiction. This year, Darkside, a literary thriller about the hunt for a killer was a big hit. She wrote Everything Must Go after a trip to Ikea. “I don’t have children but it looks relentless,” she explains. “This story was inspired by a visit to Ikea with my sister and her daughter, and my neighbours, who have twins.”’
And the great news is that you can read it HERE!
Make sure you pick up a copy today and read this exclusive short story for yourselves!
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