I spoke with Sabina Gabrielli Carrara, the author of The Last Witch, about her tricky plot progression, whether she hates this century or no, and what comes next.
CAUGHT BETWEEN MYSTERY and CRIME
1: We tend to know you as the author of the blog Truly Madly Ordinary and thriller/crime novels Field of Lies and Black Souls. At the end of October 2020, you published your next book, the Seacross mystery – The Last Witch. Congratulations! How did the idea of the book come to you?
I just thought that the setting I live in would be ideal to set a series of murder mystery, and as I liked the character of Billy McCabe from Fields of Lies, I decided to keep it, using him as the lead detective.
2. Where did you find the inspiration for the character of Billy McCabe?
My head, really. I had nobody I knew in mind, but I had a clear idea of how I wanted him to be – a big sweat grumpy bear with qualities and vices that can belong to anybody in the real world.
3. In all your novels, you certainly make the reader visualize scenes and heroes very precisely. How did you deal with this specific difficulty – to create a real human portrait on the fictional pages?
I don’t; it’s a matter of fact. I just describe at my best what I see in my mind. I play the scenes and the characters in my head, and then I put everything in ink. The same goes for the dialogues. Sometimes my husband comes to my room to check who I’m talking to… Well, as you understand, I speak to nobody; I simply repeat aloud the dialogues the characters are having.
4. What may readers expect from this new mystery? What may they learn?
This book came a long way… The story was straightforward and clear in my head but plotting it down was quite tricky. I changed it a few times until it was what I wanted to be. Also, I realized that no matter the plot we have in mind, the stories develop themselves, which happened with The Last Witch. The book took a quite feminine side, completely unexpected and unplanned, but only in the end. I liked it very much, so if anything good came up from this book is to tell women always to be themselves and listen to their inner voice.
5. Which is your least favorite character in The Last Witch?
Tom Lynch, the politician.
6. Tell us, what were you like as a kid? Were you a reader from an early age?
I was indeed, and both my parents were avid readers. The house was never short of books and Pink Floyd LPs. Around eight, I started to write little stories myself, and I never stopped.
7. Is there a literary character you feel akin to?
I like Erika Falk from Camilla Lackberg’s books. I used to identify myself in some aspects of her character. As for my books, no, I don’t tend to create my characters based on resemblance with myself except for Lola’s greediness towards chocolate and whiskey in Black Souls.
8. Is there any book, written by someone else, that you wish you’d written?
The Karamazov Brothers and The Husband’s Secret.
9. What will your literary field look like ten years from now? Will you still be writing mystery and crime books? (or do you plan to shift between different genres)
No, I think I will stick with mystery, but I would like to give my books a more accentuated psychological twist. As they say, write what you want to read!
10. If you could be a writer in any time and place, when and where would it be?
The 1920s, anywhere in continental Europe. Or the 1950s. I love women’s fashion back then. And in fact, my wedding dress was a green emerald ball dress from the fifties.
11. Does food ever inspire your work? Music? Animals?
12. Are you at work on a new project? Tell us more about it.
I am working on multiple projects, or being honest, I should be working as I procrastinate a lot lately. Anyway, a new Seacross Mystery is on the way, plus the Italian and Danish translations and my other books’ publications.
The Last Witch: A Seacross Mystery (Amazon US) – link to purchase
The Last Witch: A Seacross Mystery (Amazon UK) – link to purchase
Official Website – click to visit
Blog on WP – click to visit
Instagram – click to follow