Meet Catherine Yaffe Author Of The Web They Wove

Like reading crime thrillers that aren't set in London? Catherine Yaffe latest gripping self-published novel, The Web They Wove, is the second in the DI Andrew 'Ziggy' Thornes series set in the murky backstreets of Leeds. She tells us about setting up her own publishing imprint, the joy of setting her books in the north of England and her favourite crime novel ever ...

Buy the book or ebook of The Web They Wove from Amazon.

Book cover of The Web They Wove by Catherine Yaffe

TW: Your novel, The Web They Wove, was published at the end of May 2021 - congratulations! It's the second in the DI Andrew 'Ziggy' Thornes police series. What inspired your original idea to create his world and what attracts you to writing police crime thrillers?

CY: Thank you! Ziggy played a small part in my first book, The Lie She Told, and as I was developing his character, I just knew he had more stories to tell. It was never my intention to write a crime thriller that was so driven by the police investigation, but I guess my love for true crime influenced my decision. I spend a lot of time doing research and I found so many great resources that I knew I could use. I think for such a long time the police and their procedures were shrouded in mystery but that’s changed in recent years, and I realised pretty quickly that actually being in the police service is similar to having a regular job; paperwork, office banter, nicknames and shift work. The biggest difference of course is that they head towards danger whereas any ‘normal’ person would run away. It’s how these intertwine that fascinates me and I love putting my characters into situations that challenge them mentally and physically. 

TW: How does The Web They Wove move the story on from The Lie She Told? Was it difficult coming up with a new case for Ziggy and his team to solve?

CY: The ‘Tangled Web’ series (there will be three books in total) all explore various types of controlling behaviour and make the reader question how well we know those around us. In The Lie She Told, protagonist Kate has left an abusive relationship but when she meets Ryan, someone from her past, we see how Ryan is able to manipulate her though she comes back fighting at the end! I don’t want to say too much and spoil it.

In The Web They Wove, Ziggy has to hunt down a sadistic killer but is the killer truly evil or does the influence from the past dictate his future? Again, no spoilers!

TW: Speaking as a northerner it's refreshing to see that the novel is set in Leeds. Is that a personal decision and if so, what connections do you have to the city? How can northern-set novels bring a different outlook from their London-set counterparts?

CY: I’m a Leeds girl born and bred, though I now live in Wakefield. Leeds is such a vibrant, eclectic city - anything goes and as a storyteller, the possibilities are endless!

I try to make my novels relatable and I think that’s where we differentiate from bigger cities such as London. We think nothing of saying ‘Good morning’ to strangers when we’re out walking, or starting conversations whilst we’re stood in a queue. I try to emulate those situations to give my books a real Northern feel. 

TW: Why do you think readers enjoy novels about horrific crimes? Is there any crime you wouldn't write about?

CY: I think we have a morbid fascination with brutal acts that we wouldn’t commit ourselves. I think it challenges us mentally, gives us an insight into other lives and mindsets. I’ve long been a true crime addict, but now I use the knowledge I have gained to create despicable characters. I can’t and won’t write about children in traumatic or abusive situations. As adults we collectively have a responsibility to protect them, and any act against a child is abhorrent in my view. 

TW: You started your own publishing imprint, Crime Publishing Network. How did this come about and what are the positives and negatives?

CY: CPN came about in January 2021. As I’ve mentioned I am a true crime fan and listen to endless podcasts. Adam Lloyd of UK True Crime became a friend and he has written a true crime book but was totally frustrated with the process. This led to a conversation about the publishing industry, and when we broke it down it just seemed to be so out of touch with today’s author so CPN was born with a view that we would be open and transparent about every step of the process, but with quicker turnaround times and a fairer deal for authors. We currently have six books going through the process (four are due out in June 2021) since the authors signed with us in March / April.

Lots of positives. It has given me the opportunity to discover new voices and I absolutely love that. I’m so excited about the books we’re bringing to market.

Not so many negatives to be honest. It’s giving me the chance to have conversations with suppliers who have stuck to traditional paths and introduce them to a new way and every one of them has taken us onboard with open arms. It’s refreshing and fulfilling at the same time. 

TW: Which authors would you love to sign up?

CY: I’m all for championing indie authors, or new writers that have a unique story to tell or a unique voice. Of course, I’d love to sign a big name (Stephen King, Peter James?) but I’m also realistic that we’re up against the giants. We’ll get there, it’s very much a marathon not a sprint!

TW: Where do you write? Tell us about your writing routine.

CY: I am so incredibly lucky to have a dedicated writing space. It’s a shed in my back garden, the Shed of Words. I’ve been sharing the space with my husband for the last 18 months as he’s been working from home but he’s going back into the office soon and I can’t wait to light my candles, play binaural music and lose myself in another fictional world!

I don’t have a specific routine really. I have ME and Fibromyalgia so sometimes my day is dictated by those. On a good day, I’m usually in the shed for around 8am and will set the intention to write for four hours with ten minute breaks. If I have the energy, I’ll do a little more after lunch, but I have to be mindful that at some point during the week I’ll pay a price for overdoing it. It can be super frustrating when I’m in the middle of writing a twist or tricky part, but I know my brain (and body) will thank me for having an afternoon nap! 

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

CY: I have a rough draft for book three, but I am taking a break through June and July as I have written two books in less than a year. I hope to have the third book out at the end of this year (2021) but I’m not putting myself under pressure.

Book four is also on the horizon, which is more of a psychological thriller but who knows if Ziggy will be involved, I’ll let him decide! 

Quick fire questions:

TW: Favourite crime novel? 

CY: The House on Cold Hill - Peter James.

TW: Favourite true crime book? 

CY: Babes in the Wood by Graham Bartlett and Peter James.

TW: Writing award you'd most like to win? 

CY: CWA Daggers Award.

TW: Best place to go out in Leeds? 

CY: If it’s a day trip with the family then Fountains Abbey is an absolute must. 

TW: Favourite Yorkshire word or phrase?

CY: ‘It’ll be reet’ (It will be alright) It covers a multitude of things and can be used in any dire situation!

Thanks Catherine!
Photograph of author Catherine Yaffe

More about The Web They Wove:

The mutilated body of a young female is found in a popular recreation ground in Leeds city centre. DI Ziggy Thornes and his team are at once assigned to close the case. 

With little to no forensic evidence left at the scene, at first Ziggy struggles to put the pieces together. When a second body turns up in the same place, pressure from higher up and the media mounts as fear spreads through the city. 

Realising that the victims have been held captive prior to their gruesome deaths, Ziggy delves deeper and relentlessly chases down every lead, taking him to breaking point. 

When the investigation leads him dangerously close to home, will time run out before the tangled web of evil he’s uncovered destroys everything that Ziggy holds dear?


We've got lots of great interviews coming up on Thriller Women. Plus both of us co-founders have new thrillers coming out in August and we can't wait to tell you all about them!


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