School of the Ages


indie author interview: Debbie Bennett writes about the mean streets

Posted by Matt Posner on October 9, 2011 at 7:05 PM

As always, a self-introduction is in order. Thus, self-introduce?

I’m Debbie Bennett. English, but ¼ Chinese (my grandfather was allegedly Chinese aristocracy). Essex girl by birth, grew up on the Wirral and now live in rural Cheshire, UK.

I just interviewed Pam Howes who is also from Cheshire, but your writing is a little different. What sort of writing are you doing now?


I write both fantasy and thrillers. Fantasy was my first love, but it was my first mainstream thriller novel Hamelin’s Child that really made me feel I could do this – be a writer. Having worked in law enforcement investigating heroin smuggling, I wanted to look at the issues from the other side and explore street heroin in more detail. I’m not sure where the characters or plot came from – or how come it turned out quite so dark – but the story more or less wrote itself. It did the rounds of a few agents and publishers and came back with glowing rejections of the “we like it but it’s not commercially viable” variety, so I sent it to the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger and was so pleased when it was long-listed in the top 20 for the award. It didn’t apparently make it any more commercially viable, but it did give me the confidence to believe in myself, and so when e-publishing came of age about a year ago and my dad bought me a kindle at the start of this year, the timing seemed right….

Here is Debbie's book blurb:


Michael Redford died on his seventeenth birthday – the night Eddie picked him up off the street, shot him full of heroin and assaulted him.

Now he’s Mikey and he works for Joss. With streaked blond hair and a cute smile, he sleeps by day and services clients at night. Sometimes he remembers his old life, but with what he’s become now, he knows there is no return to his comfortable middle-class background.

Then he makes a friend in Lee. A child of the streets, Lee demands more from friendship than Mikey is prepared to give. But the police are closing in on them now and Mikey’s not sure anymore who he really is – streetwise Mikey or plain Michael Redford.

A thriller set in the seedy world of London's drug rings, this book contains strong scenes and adult material.

Now we know where to start with your writing. What else would you recommend?


Other books I’d recommend – for thrillers in general, my favourite author would have to Matthew Reilly. He breaks all the writing “rules” as his prose is littered with exclamation marks, odd maps and author intrusion. His plots are completely ridiculous and his escape scenes could give James Bond a run for his money, but he has such a knack of dragging you into a story and taking you along for the ride with him at breakneck speed. “Dan Brown on acid” is how I describe his books. Or if we’re talking indie, e-books and small-press, then I’d recommend Anthony Neil Smith’s The Drummer, which takes you into the life of an ex-rock-star; Ian Barker’s Fallen Star, another book about life after fame; or Fred Anderson’s No Limit – a cracking thriller. All were great reads and ones I’ll go back and read again.


Any interesting experience from your life as a writer?

Probably being drunk enough, and therefore brave enough, to ask the man himself Stephen King to dance at a publisher’s party many years ago. Fortunately his minders wouldn’t let him, so that saved me any further embarrassment! And I’ve had lots of interesting experiences from my non-writing jobs, ranging from wandering down a London high street with £10k in cash (fivers and tenners) in a supermarket bag, to being on the wrong end of a shotgun in a chip shop, to needing half a bottle of shampoo to wash the heroin out of my hair. All a long time ago and I’d tell you more but I’d have to kill you afterwards….

Please don't kill me. I didn't finish my five-book sequence yet!

What’s funny about it is that I was one of these people!

Here are some weblinks:

Shop Debbie's work at Amazon:

Debbie's website:

Another interview (with some of the same sample)

Another interview:

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