Welcome, Anna Legat.
Anna: Pacey, acerbic and character-driven.
If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?
Anna: It would have to be Count Karenin! And I don’t mean the stiff, elderly character from Anna Karenina but the one from my DI Marsh mystery, Swimming with Sharks. His real name is Mikhail Lakso – Misha. He is handsome and even more exotic than the Maldivian location of the book. He has a deep Russian soul where many of his dangerous secrets are buried. It’s uncanny how some women are attracted to those dark, broody types. I am one of those women and on occasions (especially those innocuous fictional occasions from which I can walk away unscathed) I like to throw myself at the mercy of a dangerous man. Misha may or may not be dangerous – ambiguity is his trademark quality. He is a man with a past but, when the fancy takes me, he will sweep me off my feet and take me to St Petersburg to show me the glitz and glamour of the high life. Can’t wait!
Anna: I’ve always been an observer. No centre stage for me! Even at school when all my girlfriends wanted to be actresses or pop stars, I just wanted to write. I could write play scripts for their blockbusters or lyrics to their hits, but I couldn’t care less about coming anywhere near their bright spotlight. So I guess, if I ever landed in one of my books, I would be watching from the side lines. Perhaps I’d be solving somebody else’s crimes. I’d be good at it; hopefully as good as DI Gillian Marsh, the lead detective of my new crime series. I’m definitely as incompetent as she is in my personal and family life – we have a lot in common. My husband would probably argue that I would make a fantastic Hercule Poirot. Apparently we have a few quirks and an odd turn of phrase in common. Surely he’s trying to fit a round peg into a square hole?
Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?
Anna: I am a very, very bad cook so no literary tycoon would care to come to my dinner. Not the alive ones at any rate if they knew what was good for them! I would probably have to serve a Chinese takeaway, but I would present it nicely on my grandmother’s china complete with her vintage silver cutlery. At least it would look good. I would love to have Ruth Rendell over. She is my absolute literary hero! Her early books in particular had me eating from her hand. But her characters are flawed and twisted, so to lighten the atmosphere I would quite like to share a joke over the prawn cakes with none other than Dawn French. We would have a hoot of a good time! Having Milan Kundera at my dinner table would be a privilege. The Unbearable Lightness of Being made me think long and hard about the meaning and purpose of life wherever and however you happen to live it. It’d be great to talk to him and debate existence well into the night.
If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?
Anna: Horror. I love to be scared, but I am too scared to write about it for fear that my worst fears might come to life! Fear is such a powerful emotion. One day I may gather all my courage and write one hell of a chilling horror.
What do you dislike the most about being an author?
Anna: I feel people read less and are less personal about their choices these days. There is this mass culture that has made its way into the world of books so you will have those mega-superstars like EL James, and every man, woman and child will read her indiscriminately until the next mass trend makes way for another celebrity. As a writer I intensely dislike templates and I like to surprise my reader. I just hope readers still like to be taken by surprise.
Anna: Décolletage. Don’t ask!
Anna Legat was in the chair, author of: Life without Me & Swimming with Sharks. Web: https://goo.gl/JfQ0Sg