OIR: Sheila A Grant on Caro Ramsay

Article published on April 15, 2015.

Caro visited Ayr Writers` Club earlier this month to Sheila’s delight.

As a writer of the increasingly popular `tartan noir`, Caro gave a sensational talk to the members of Ayr Writers. There must be something in the water in Govan when it produces such inspirational people as Caro (and, of course, Alex Ferguson).


Caro is an osteopath but some years ago she suffered a back injury which meant prolonged bed rest on her left side. How to pass the long days in hospital when the television is behind you? Simple! Caro used her fertile vivid and dark imagination to create a variety of scenarios where those who annoyed her reached an untimely and unpleasant end.   First to go was the woman in the bed opposite her in hospital who watched TV all day especially quiz shows and shouted out the answers. She was swiftly followed by the nurse who woke Caro from a pleasant sleep to give her a sleeping pill and a definite victim was the doctor with the ridiculously long needle which he plunged into her body with relish. By the time she was mobile and upright again she had the first 12,000 words of a crime novel


Spiced with typical Glasgow black humour, Caro told us of her journey from putting this first draft on paper and starting to write. At her writing club the other members were so impressed with her first draft they advised her to finish it – `you have something there`. So a book that grew from a way to beat boredom became Absolution her first and very successful crime novel, shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger 2008.


Caro`s books are translated into many languages with the Scottish words causing more problems with English! The talk may have been humourous and light hearted but the sheer hard work of taking an idea and working with it, editing and polishing it, sometimes seven times was eminently clear.


The rapid note taking and the searching questions were testament to how enthralled the members of Ayr club were as they listened to this enthusiastic writer as she gave us every encouragement to use our imagination and keep writing. We were all impressed at her organized methods using wall charts, spread sheets, and sticky notes.


One question we failed to ask though was `how does a pretty blonde full of mischief and fun write such very dark books?`


OIR: Tracey Walsh


ONE TO WATCH OUT FOR: The Spider in the Corner of the Room by Nikki Owen

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