Crime pays for Lynda!

Pro­lific writer Lynda La Plante chats about her lat­est Ten­ni­son thriller and a new film

YOURS (UK) - - News - By Ali­son James

Aaret 74 years of age, many of us have re­tired – or cer­tainly con­sid­er­ing it. But the op­po­site is true for award-win­ning au­thoress and screen­writer Lynda La Plante. Her lat­est book, Good Fri­day, a grip­ping new Jane ‘Prime Sus­pect’ Ten­ni­son novel, was pub­lished re­cently and Lynda has been con­tracted for a fur­ther five Ten­ni­son tomes. Plus she’s cur­rently busy up­dat­ing a crime drama show she orig­i­nally wrote as a pilot some years ago for an Amer­i­can TV net­work. If this wasn’t enough, her first TV se­ries Wid­ows – orig­i­nally broad­cast in 1983 – has been adapted for the big screen. Star­ring Liam Nee­son, Colin Far­rell and Vi­ola Davis, the film will be re­leased next year. “No, I’m not slow­ing down in the least,” Lynda tells us from her home in the Hamp­tons on the east coast of Amer­ica, where she spends half the year. “It’s quite bizarre the way things are re­ally hap­pen­ing for me again. I’m wind­ing up, rather than wind­ing down. Not that I’m com­plain­ing, though. I love what I do.” It shows. Her pas­sion for crime-writ­ing leaps off the pages in Good Fri­day. The story is set in midSeven­ties Lon­don. Jane Ten­ni­son is a 24-year-old de­tec­tive con­sta­ble who sur­vives a deadly IRA ex­plo­sion at a Lon­don tube sta­tion. Min­utes be­fore the blast, she catches sight of the bomber and,

in a race against time, must con­vince se­nior of­fi­cers that her in­stincts are right be­fore the bomber strikes again. “We ex­pe­ri­ence the depth of emo­tions that a very young po­lice­woman is sub­jected to by be­ing in­volved in a bomb­ing,” Lynda ex­plains. “But we also see some­thing of Jane’s per­sonal life. What re­ally shapes a per­son is the re­la­tion­ships they have through­out life. In Good Fri­day, she is at­tracted to an ex­tremely charis­matic DS called Alan Dex­ter – I found him very at­trac­tive my­self as I was writ­ing him! But there’s also a nice, safe chap wait­ing in the wings. “Jane re­ally wants a re­la­tion­ship, but how does she com­bine that with her in­cred­i­bly de­mand­ing job – es­pe­cially when we’re talk­ing about how things were more than 40 years ago? Many po­lice of­fi­cers – es­pe­cially those in se­nior po­si­tions – have a his­tory of failed re­la­tion­ships be­cause they’re under such a lot of pres­sure and work crazy hours. Th­ese days po­lice of­fi­cers are

‘When it comes to crime writ­ing it’s the puz­zle as­pect that in­ter­ests me. It’s the hunt too. You want to keep your read­ers and view­ers guess­ing’

able to form re­la­tion­ships with each other, but this was frowned upon in the Seven­ties and Eight­ies.” Lynda is never stuck for in­spi­ra­tion when writ­ing a crime novel. “There’s an end­less sup­ply of sto­ries out there,” she says. “In fact, they come to me much of the time. I have a won­der­ful re­searcher, who in­forms me about real-life cases and crimes. Ob­vi­ously, I

ex­pand on th­ese be­cause you can’t write it just as it is. When it comes to crime writ­ing, it’s the puz­zle as­pect that in­ter­ests me rather than get­ting in­side the head of a psy­chopath or the twisted mind of a killer. “It’s the hunt. You want to keep your read­ers and view­ers guess­ing. If they know who it is early on, then nat­u­rally they lose in­ter­est. The thing is to keep the puz­zle go­ing and only re­veal the last piece of the jig­saw right at the end.” Lynda is hop­ing that Good Fri­day will be picked up for a tele­vi­sion se­ries – as was Prime Sus­pect 1973 ear­lier this year. “Thanks to the pop­u­lar­ity of Scan­di­na­vian crime dra­mas like The Bridge, the genre is back is fashion,” she says. “I’m very proud of the fact that a Swedish mem­ber of pro­duc­tion re­vealed to me they had dis­sected Prime Sus­pect frameby-frame in or­der to pro­duce a win­ning for­mula for their crime dra­mas. I en­joy watch­ing Bri­tish crime dra­mas like Happy Val­ley, but wish more ac­tors were cast in lead­ing roles. It tends to be the same old faces over and over again. We have so much tal­ent in the UK and yet pro­gramme mak­ers here seem ob­sessed with cast­ing the same few ac­tors. In the US, they’re not afraid to use new faces.” Speak­ing of Amer­ica, why has Lynda cho­sen to live half the year there? “Mainly so I can write,” she replies. “Where I am in the Hamp­tons, there’s lots of peace and quiet. I just don’t get that in Lon­don – there’s too much go­ing on.” Whether in the US or the UK, Lynda’s adopted 14-year-old son, Lor­can, joins her dur­ing his board­ing school hol­i­days and for long week­ends. “Be­ing the mother of a teen isn’t easy,” she ac­knowl­edges, “and Lor­can’s a typ­i­cal teenage boy. He’s very me­chan­i­cal and great at tak­ing things apart, but not so good at putting them back to­gether! It’s also im­pos­si­ble to get him to do home­work. And as for read­ing a book…” Good Fri­day is out now and pub­lished by Zaf­fre Publishing, priced £14.99.

A tense mo­ment for Jane Ten­ni­son (He­len Mir­ren) in Prime Sus­pect, with DS Richard Haskons (played by

Richard Haw­ley)

From top left, he­len Mir­ren as ten­ni­son, the cast of Wid­ows and Colin Far­rell and Liam Nee­son

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