Meet Lorraine Mace Author Of Love Me Tender

Police procedurals are a permanently popular sub-genre of the crime/thriller market as readers lap up series containing their favourite sleuths. Today's interviewee, Lorraine Mace, recently published the fifth in her DI Stirling series, Love Me Tender, and this time the beleaguered detective is losing his grip ...

Lorraine tells us how she comes up with fresh ideas for series, her favourite free time reads and what happened to the first novel she ever wrote. 

Download the ebook of Love Me Tender from Amazon or buy the newly-published paperback from Thriller Women's list at NB: if you buy books through this link we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops.

The book cover of Love Me Tender by Lorraine Mace

TW: Lorraine, you could be described as a ‘writer’s writer’, as much involved in the business of writing as well as being a published author yourself. How did you first discover that you wanted to be an author, and can you tell us about your journey to publication?

LM: I tried to write a novel (a Regency romance a la Georgette Heyer) when I was in my early twenties, but gave up when I discovered how very hard it was. I started writing short stories for the women’s magazine market when I moved to France in my mid-forties. After my first acceptance I used the money I was paid to take a correspondence writing course (online hadn’t been thought of back then).

I only meant to write one crime novel, not a series, and that one took me ten years to complete from getting the initial idea to actually having the novel published. The first publisher I sent it to didn’t feel the time was right for yet another detective in the crowded crime market. The second publisher loved it and offered me a contract, but wanted more to follow up the first. I was happy to comply and so the DI Sterling series was born!

I now split my time by killing people (on paper) in the mornings and dealing with all my other writing related businesses in the afternoons.

TW: When did you write your first novel, what was it about and was it ever published?

LM: My first completed novel was Vlad the Inhaler, a fantasy and adventure story for children aged eight to 12. It was accepted by an American publisher but sadly the business failed. I regained my rights and self-published but I am hopeless at marketing, so I doubt many even know the book is out there. It’s a shame as I have been told by young readers that it’s an enjoyable book.

TW: What made you want to start your own blog, ‘The Writer’s ABC Checklist’?

LM: The blog was named after a book for beginner writers co-authored with Maureen Vincent-Northam. Originally it was a blog giving advice and answering questions posed by writers. However, the advances in the internet and the easy access to information meant the blog was no longer fulfilling a need. I now use it to promote other authors and give news of my own releases and special offers.

TW: You have recently released Book 5 in the DI Sterling series, Love Me Tender. What’s your secret to writing a compelling series and how do you come up with new and fresh ideas?

LM: I made myself a promise a long time ago that I would stop writing the series when I could no longer come up with original ideas for the plots. Of course, there is (in truth) nothing new under the sun, but I try to make sure I add my own unique twist to what has been done by so many excellent crime writers over the years. As for where I get my ideas, I think I must have a very twisted mind because I have more dark and devious plots in my head than time to write them.

TW: Are you more drawn to writing fascinating characters or complicated plots?

LM: I do try to make my plots as complex and complicated as possible (I don’t want readers to guess the villain too soon) but I also want my characters to come across as real people with real problems which they have to deal with while trying to solve crimes or stay alive (if unfortunate enough to be one of my victims).

TW: Do you read your book own reviews? How do you cope with any negative criticism of your work?

LM: I always read my reviews because I appreciate any reader who takes the time to comment on my work. I haven’t had a great deal of negative criticism (she says, hiding under the desk in case of a potential deluge of bad reviews). However, if something is pointed out that I feel I can act on in future works then I do take note.

TW: What, in your view, is the recipe for success for authors in the UK publishing industry in 2021? Is it harder now, or easier to get published traditionally?

LM: I don’t think it’s any harder, but it has to said that it has never been easy. It’s a case of writing the best book one can and then praying that it lands on the right desk at the right time. To illustrate my point: for Vlad the Inhaler I was taken on by one of the top children’s agencies in the UK. The agent absolutely loved Vlad and felt certain the book would find a home. One of the big five publishers expressed interest and wanted to see the synopsis for the second in the trilogy. Unfortunately, by the time the synopsis was polished and ready to submit, changes in the publishing house meant that editor had moved on and the replacement didn’t feel the same about the book. Another publisher had just taken on a book with a theme that was too similar – and so on.

TW: Which authors do you read for pleasure, and what it your favourite genre? Do you have a favourite novel?

LM: For favourite novel can I cheat and say the entire Diskworld series by Terry Pratchett? However, I now mainly read crime and am drawn to a few American authors as I enjoy their wrting styles and series: John Lescroart, Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben and Dennis Lehane. For UK crime series I devour anything by Sheila Bugler, Val McDermid and Marion Todd.

TW: What are your pet peeves when it comes to writing? What is the best piece of advice you can offer to new writers starting out in the business?

LM: My biggest peeve about writing is the act of writing. I love editing, but have to force myself to get the first draft down. I have to tell myself every day that it doesn’t matter how bad what I’ve written that day might be, everything can be fixed during the editing stage. I crawl to the finish of that first draft, but then gallop to the red pen and rewrite stage.

The best advice I can give to new writers is don’t show your work to friends and family – they care about you and might not tell you the truth. Find a writing group where honest constructive criticism is on offer. By the same token, avoid toxic writing groups. You should look for somewhere to get good advice, but not to have your work torn to pieces to bolster the ego of other writers.

TW: How did the various lockdowns of 2020/2021 affect you as a novelist? Did you find it more difficult to write? Or was it easier to get distracted?

LM: As I work from home anyway the lockdown during the day didn’t affect me very much. I carried on (from a writing perspective) exactly as normal. I was affected by it in other ways, much the same as most other people. I live in Spain in a small village and we are still restricted in where we can go and also have a curfew in place.

Quick fire questions: 

TW: Cosy mystery or killer thriller? 

LM: I enjoy both types as long as the plot is strong and the characters credible.

TW: Beach ready or city chic? 

LM: Um, I’m more roly-poly runner at the moment.

TW: Coffee machine or wine decanter? 

LM: Wine for sure.

TW: Kindle or paperback? 

LM: Kindle to read buut I love to hold my own novels in paperback.

TW: Laptop or long hand? 

LM: Laptop, but copious notes on scraps of paper.

Thanks Lorraine!
Image of Lorraine Mace

More about Love Me Tender:

If he wants you ... there's no escape.

A brutal murder...

Responding to a tip-off, newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Paolo Sterling arrives at an apartment block to find the dismembered body of a young woman. And with no indication of a break-in, all signs suggest the killer was known to her.

An abduction in plain sight...

Then the victim's friend is snatched with no witnesses and the unanswered questions mount up. At the same time, Sterling's team is leading the surveillance of a local club, thought to be involved in a drug operation. But when one of his colleagues ends up in hospital close to death, Paolo begins to lose his grip.

A detective on the edge...

With the odds stacked against him, and time running out, can DCI Sterling uncover the truth before it's too late? Or will this case finally tip him over the edge?


We have lots of interviews with great writers coming soon on the blog making a it a perfect place to get for spring/summer reading ideas. So you don't miss any of them subscribe to receive a weekly update by clicking on the button at the top of the page and adding your email address. 


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