Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing E. E. Richardson.
E. E. Richardson is the author of Ritual Crime Unit: Under the Skin.
E. E. Richardson has been writing books since she was eleven years old, and had her first novel The Devil's Footsteps picked up for publication at the age of twenty. Since then she's had seven more young adult horror novels published by Random House and Barrington Stoke. Under the Skin is her first story aimed at adults. She also has a B.Sc. in Cybernetics and Virtual Worlds, which hasn't been useful for much but does sound impressive.
AN INTERVIEW WITH E. E. RICHARDSON
Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
I'm a big fan of all kinds of fantasy, sci-fi and horror fiction, both to read and write. I was born and raised in the south east of England, where I still live, and I studied Cybernetics and Virtual Worlds at university before I decided writing books was the career for me.
What inspired you to become a writer? Have you always been interested in writing?
I've been writing stories since almost as soon as I could write. When I was about eleven I had a school assignment to write a short story that ended up turning into a really long one, and my teacher suggested I should try writing a book. Ever since then, I've been working on my own novels.
You've written several books for young adults, but now you write for adults. Was it challenging and difficult to write for adult readers? Will you continue to write young adult books or will you concentrate on writing adult books?
I didn't find it that much of a big shift going from writing for teenagers to writing for adults. There's not much you can put in an adult book that you couldn't in one for young adults - it's just the stories have a different focus. Definitely the biggest challenge was writing from the point of view of a senior police officer, since unlike being a teenager that's something I have no experience with, and it was important to try to make the way Pierce talks and thinks ring true. I'm planning to focus on writing more adult books for the near future, but that doesn't mean I'll never go back to writing for young adults.
Under the Skin is the first book of the Ritual Crime Unit series, which seems to combine urban fantasy and police procedurals in an interesting way. What can readers expect from this series?
The Ritual Crime Unit is set in a world that's subtly different from our own; one where the public is aware that magic exists, but it's still only rarely used and not very well understood. The officers of the RCU are making the rules up as they go, trying to enforce the law when at the same time the law was never really written with the kind of situations that they end up facing in mind.
How did you come up with the idea of combining urban fantasy and police procedurals? Have you always been interested in urban fantasy and police procedurals?
I love urban fantasy detective stories, and I found myself thinking about how most of the ones I've read have lead characters who are private eyes or freelance consultants, which gives them a lot of freedom when it comes to how they investigate crimes. I started wondering what that kind of story would be like if the characters worked for a more traditional police force, with stricter rules to follow and superiors to report to. One thing I've always enjoyed about police procedurals is the tension between the police officers trying to do the right thing and the fact that they're often restricted by the budget and the heavy caseload and can only do as much as the law allows.
Have any TV crime drama series or crime novels been a source of inspiration to you?
There are a lot of TV police procedurals I like: some of my favourites are older shows like A Touch of Frost and Inspector Morse. They often centre around a particular character type of the scruffy, out-of-shape and aging detective who's completely married to the job, and thinking about what a female version of that might be like was part of the inspiration for the character of Claire Pierce.
Did you have to do any research before you began to write Under the Skin?
I found myself doing quite a lot of research all the way through, since although the Ritual Crime Unit series is set in a different world, I wanted it to be recognisably based on the UK police force as it exists here and now. So I read up a lot on police equipment and procedures and tried to think about how those might be adapted to suit a unit that has to deal with supernatural crimes.
Will Ritual Crime Unit be a long running urban fantasy series?
I definitely hope so! I really enjoyed writing the character of DCI Pierce and I have plenty of ideas for further stories in this universe, so if it seems like there's interest in more tales of the RCU's adventures, I'd certainly be only too happy to write them.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Just that I'd like to say thank you for inviting me to do this interview! It's always great to get a chance to answer questions about my books, because it often makes me think deeper about things that I might not have considered that much when I first wrote them.