Radmila: I am delighted to interview you, Abi, for Mystery People readers and look forward to learning about you and your writing.Abi: Thank you so much for inviting me.
Abi: I always had a strong sense of justice, as a child, albeit my own view of right and wrong. I was constantly penning protest essays; the one which sticks in my mind was about our old Austin 1300 being sold for scrap, written when I was around eight years old. I railed against a system which allowed cars to serve humans faithfully for years, only to be rewarded by indiscriminate destruction (you get the picture). I also loved talking (a fairly good attribute for lawyers); as the youngest in the family, I frequently had to speak up and hold my own, in competition with my older sisters and cousins.But the catalyst for my desire to study Law was probably the wonderful Granada TV show ‘Crown Court’ in which (fictional) court dramas were played out over three lunch time sessions. If I wanted to see the verdict, I had to risk the wrath of my form teacher by being late for afternoon registration.After completing my studies, I specialised in litigation, which is essentially resolving disputes of many kinds between warring parties (including in court) and I still practice now. But rather than work permanently as a lawyer in a law firm, I am employed as a consultant on fixed term contracts, so that I can work some of the year as a lawyer and some of the year on my writing.
Radmila: And then what led you to start writing?
Abi: I have always loved writing (stories, poems, plays, alternative lyrics to well-known songs) but I began to write more seriously when I was on maternity leave and was living overseas. I saw it as a release from the stresses of motherhood and I used to write late into the night.
Abi: Yes definitely. I love Rumpole and there are a number of John Grisham books I have really enjoyed too. But I didn’t consciously seek to emulate them; I just love sweeping courtroom dramas, including those portrayed in film. You can’t beat the battle of words in Inherit the Wind (1960 film about teaching evolution in schools) for dramatic effect. And, of course, there’s To Kill A Mockingbird, which remains one of my favourite books.