Q&A With Caz Frear

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Q&A With Caz Frear

Caz Frear is a British mystery novelist who has written Sweet Little Lies, Stone Cold Heart, Shed No Tears which are part of the Cat Kinsella series & her recent novel Five Bad Deeds which is a standalone novel that was released on December 5th! Heather Drucker was kind enough to connect us together for this Q&A and I read an early copy of Five Bad Deeds. 

Q: Caz for those who haven’t read the book would you like to talk a little bit about Five Bad Deeds, & how you came up with the idea for the novel? 

A: Five Bad Deeds is about a woman who believes that she’s a good person – she’d certainly never intentionally hurt anyone – however several events from her past come back to haunt her and prove otherwise! Essentially, the book is about how the small unintentional things we do, the decisions we make without much thought, can have a huge effect (and often a not-so-good effect!) on other people’s lives without us ever realizing.

I got the idea after I became worried about a waitress I’d complained about in a restaurant. While she had been rude, I started thinking afterwards, ‘God, what if she’s just had a bad day? What if her husband left her this morning? What if her best friend is sick? What if she now gets fired because I complained?’ It was all fine (she didn’t get fired – I went back a few days later and she was still there!), but it got me thinking about intention. I certainly didn’t intend for her to get into trouble, the manager simply asked me if everything was ok as we were leaving, and I couldn’t lie and say it was. And these types of small incidents happen every day. You just never know the impact your decision could have on someone’s life. 

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books? Do you use bits and pieces of real people and places to create your fictional worlds? 

A:  Honestly, it’s hard to say where the ideas come from! I’ll overhear a conversation on a train, or I’ll be discussing a personal dilemma with a friend, and then suddenly the ‘what if?’ light comes on and then I start to write (or at least start plotting). I would say, though, that ideas are rarely fully formed. What you’ll get is a seed of an idea and you layer it from there.

Before I became a full-time author, I worked as a headhunter and interviewed probably over a thousand people during that time. It gave me a great understanding of what makes people tick. What we all have in common in terms of needs and flaws! This has really helped when coming up with characters for my books – I have such a wide pool of people to draw from! 

In terms of setting, I really do use bits and pieces! The village in Five Bad deeds is very loosely based on a village I used to live in, but it is entirely made-up. After writing three detective novels set in London, it was great to be able to use my imagination and create my own world, rather than spending half my writing day on Street View and Google Maps, making sure my geography is accurate!

 Q: I read somewhere that you have a degree in History and Politics. What made you transition from getting that degree to becoming a mystery author? 

A: While I absolutely loved my degree, and still have a huge interest in both subjects, I’ve never actually worked in a job that required any knowledge of either! After university, I worked in fashion for three years at the head office of a big UK retailer, then I worked in headhunting for the next fifteen years, writing on the side (often on my commute!)

Things took off for me when I entered a high-profile writing competition Search for a Bestseller. This was sponsored by WHSmith, one of the main booksellers in the UK. I hoped I might get shortlisted, or that the judges might send me a few words of encouragement but to my surprise, I won, I gave up my full-time job the year Sweet Little Lies was published.


Q: I also read somewhere that Sweet Little Lies was optioned for a TV series. Has there been any update on casting, filming or when it will air? We need more great mystery shows and really original content in general instead of the same rehashed remakes, sequels, prequels, spin-offs and reboots.

A: That’s great to hear you say that, and I agree! Yes, Sweet Little Lies was optioned and got some interest from a couple of UK channels, but it wasn’t meant to be (so few optioned books actually end up getting made!) However, I’m currently adapting it myself – literally writing the pilot script as we speak! It’s loosely based on Sweet Little Lies, rather than being a direct adaptation. The characters are the exact same, the family dynamics are very similar, but the plot – the murder, I guess – is quite different. But, hey, watch this space!

 Q: If you are currently writing your next book, can you reveal any details or is it too early to tell?

A: I am writing the next book, but as it doesn’t have a title yet or an ending (!) it probably is a bit early to share! It is quite different to Five Bad Deeds in that it’s told from one POV and features an older main character. In a nutshell, it’s about a middle-aged woman in her late fifties who develops an obsession with a young, glamorous couple. 


Q: What advice do you give to anyone wanting to write in the mystery thriller genre? 

A:Probably the same advice I’d give to anyone wanting to write in any genre – finish your first draft and don’t worry if you think it’s terrible – this is entirely normal   It’s in the second and third drafts that characters come to life, plots thickens, and themes become important. It’s actually really hard to know what your book is about – what you’re trying to say about the world – until you’ve finished the first draft.


Q: Where is your favorite spot or spots to sit down and write, plot and edit your work? 

A: I write the first draft on my laptop on my sofa (surrounded by cushions and candles!) I need maximum comfort for the first draft, as it can sometimes feel like pulling teeth! After that, when I’m editing, I write on my desktop in my dining room. I like being able to see more of the manuscript when I’m moving things around.