Meet AA Chaudhuri author of The Abduction

Our latest Thriller Woman is AA Chaudhuri, author of the Kramer & Carver series. We loved her candid answers to our nosey questions. Both books in the series, The Scribe and The Abduction are available from Amazon. 

TW: You publish with Lume Books. Can you tell us about your road to publication?
AAC: I can describe it in two words: long and gruelling! It took me five years to get my agent, Annette Crossland, and then another three years to get published. This, despite working my socks off for eight years, editing and refining my books until, quite frankly, I was almost sick of the sight of them! I’ve faced a lot of rejection over the years, come close to offers from some big name publishers (which can sometimes be more heart-breaking than a straight 'no', encouraging as they are!) and shed numerous tears during that time, and, to be honest, that’s an ongoing process! I know that in the main, it’s not just me; it’s how it is for most authors, and you can’t let the turndowns get to you. Being a highly subjective industry, with so many variables, getting a publishing deal is akin to winning the lottery! Luckily, James Faktor, publishing director at what was then Endeavour Media, loved The Scribe, and having made the offer in November 2018, it was published in July 2019, The Abduction following suit in December 2019. It was such a great feeling knowing my books were finally out there being read!

TW: Why did you choose the crime genre?

AAC: Crime fiction has always been my favourite genre. I love to escape real life with a page-turning thriller. I love the intrigue, the suspense, the twists and turns which keep readers guessing and turning the page, the challenge of identifying and yet not wanting to identify the culprit because the not knowing is what keeps you reading. And it’s because I love all these elements that comprise a cracking crime thriller, I was itching to write my own. I’m also someone who’s always thrived on a challenge, and crime writing is definitely one of the most challenging genres. Like law, crime writing follows a highly methodical process so as to ensure all the threads of the story add up in a convincing, logical and believable manner. It’s exciting to challenge yourself in this way, and I enjoy the process of keeping readers guessing and on their toes.

TW: Which other thriller authors and books do you love?

AAC: I’m a massive fan of the greats: John Grisham, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, to name but a few. Grisham was a huge inspiration for me, even before I became a lawyer. His books are a masterclass in addictive thriller writing. I am also a fan of Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn novels, and Mike Craven’s Poe and Bradshaw series. I also adore reading psychological thrillers and have recently enjoyed The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides and Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce amongst others.

TW: You publish under a pseudonym, what's the reason behind that and how did you choose your name?

AAC: Chaudhuri is my maiden name and reflects my Indian heritage on my father’s side, which I am immensely proud of it. I owe so much to my father whose constant encouragement and support has bolstered me over the years.

TW: How did the idea come about for a series?

AAC: I have always loved book and TV series featuring detective duos, but it dawned on me that despite having amateur sleuth journalists, doctors, to name but a few, fiction was lacking a female London lawyer protagonist who teams up with the police to help solve investigations set in the legal world. Although I didn’t practise as a criminal lawyer, I drew inspiration for my series, in terms of the settings and characters, from my time working in law. I wanted to create a crime series set in the legal world that accurately depicts the cutthroat ethos and culture of City law firms, and also chose London for my setting (a) because it’s a city that resonates with readers worldwide, and (b) I know it well having lived and worked there for 13 years.

My main inspiration for the plot of The Scribe, however, came from my time at The College of Law, London, where I studied and took exams in seven legal subjects, including crime. These subjects form a crucial part of the plot. As for The Abduction, it was one of those perfect scenarios where an idea for a sequel just came to me, although, as with The Scribe, the firm, culture and characters are partly inspired from my time working at three City law firms.

TW: What tips do you have for writers hoping to go full time?

AAC: I would say make sure you do it for the love of writing and not for fame or fortune! Of course, we all aspire to the latter, but writing is a tough, ruthlessly competitive, highly subjective business, and you need a thick skin to cope with the inevitable rejections, setbacks and criticism you will encounter along the way. If you love writing more than anything else and it’s your aim to get published, by all means go for it, but be prepared for the long haul. I write because I love to write, and still enjoy writing even when I get rejections although, I’ll admit, some rejections are harder than others to get over. Particularly when you’ve been sure this time it’ll be different because you’ve invested hours and hours into your manuscript and it can’t possibly be any more perfect if you tried! I didn’t ‘love’ working in law, but I ‘love’ writing, and feel happiest when I’m at my desk in the throes of bashing out a new novel. Although I’m a sociable person, I’m also someone who’s fine being in their own company. I can happily spend four or five hours at my desk in the house alone; the lack of companionship or hustle and bustle of an office doesn’t bother me, and so I would want anyone looking to go full-time to be aware of this. It can be lonely if you’re someone who’s not comfortable on their own for long periods of time. 

Finally, on a more practical level, I would say try and read as much of the genre you are looking to write in because you can learn so much from other authors. Also be prepared to be active on social media. For writers starting out, it’s an invaluable way to get your name out there and engage with the writing community which, by and large, is a hugely supportive one.

TW: What's next for you in your career?

AAC: Well, the audio rights for The Scribe and The Abduction have just been sold to Isis Audio which means both books will be coming out in audio in January and March of next year. I’m so excited to hear an actor bring my books to life, being the voice of Maddy and Carver, and adding a whole new dimension to them. 

Audio is the fastest growing area of the publishing industry and so it’s a pretty exciting step for me! I also have several standalone novels in the pipeline, two of which are currently on submission and which I’ve worked exceptionally hard on. I’m extremely passionate about one of them in particular, in that I feel it addresses some topical and timely issues. Naturally, it would mean the world to me for these to be picked up and published.

Quick fire questions:

TW: Police procedural or amateur sleuth?
AAC: That’s a toughy! How about a mix? Like The Scribe and The Abduction!

TW: Start with an idea or plot thoroughly beforehand?
AAC: Start with an idea. Obviously, I’ll have mapped out a rough idea for the plot beforehand, but new ideas will occur to me as I write, and these can take me in a totally different direction from what I had originally envisaged, including, at the most extreme, the identity of the culprit! It’s one of the most exciting things about being a crime/thriller author. For example, thinking up that new twist or red herring which acts as a complete curveball, taking the story up a notch.

TW: Write with the lark or evening inspiration?
AAC: The lark (although when I am editing it’s both!)

Thanks AA!

More about The Abduction

Kramer and Carver are back…

Madeline Kramer has finally got her life back on track at top City law firm Sullivan, Blake, Monroe. But when two armed, masked men burst into a conference room one lunchtime, kidnapping inept trainee, Charlotte Dempsey, and popular head of litigation, Richard Barker, Maddy’s life is plunged into disarray once more—particularly when charismatic DCI Jake Carver, who caught a heartless killer when they last met and with whom Maddy shared a mutual chemistry, is called to the scene.

Things become more complicated when a disturbing video reveals two more trainees, Matthew Gerard and Stephen Baines, have been taken. What initially appears as a random kidnapping for mercenary gain soon evolves into something far more complex, the horrifying events of thirty years ago motivating the abductors and having colossal implications for those in the present…

Against a backdrop of sleaze, sex, lies and murder in The Abduction, Maddy and Carver must work together to unravel the truth, and ensure that no crimes—past or present—are left unpunished.


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