Meet Denise Mina Author Of Confidence

 "The ideas come from my obsessive consumption of podcasts and social media" says Denise Mina about her latest thriller Confidence. We're delighted to interview Denise this week to coincide with her role as Programming Chair of the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. 

In a change from some of her other crime novels Confidence is an escapist thriller with an international setting. Find out why she chose to write it, the research she did, her favourite ever crime writer and the song that will always get her up on a dance floor... 

You can download the ebook of Confidence from Amazon or buy the hardback from Thriller Women's list at Bookshop.org. NB: if you buy books through this link we may earn a commission from bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookshops.

Book cover of Confidence by Denise Mina. Picture of a French chateau.


TW:  Congratulations on the publication of your latest fabulous crime thriller Confidence. It's the second in the series featuring Anna and Fin. How did you come up for the idea of this crime series and the characters? Do you have a plan for the number of books you will write?

DM: The ideas come from my obsessive consumption of podcasts and social media, really. The Gabby Petito case inspired this book and I’d stumbled on some weird urban exploring videos on YouTube. There’s so much of it and it’s thrilling because it all changes so quickly. Its almost a race to get these things into the book before they become irrelevant.

I don’t have a series plan at all but please don’t tell my publishers. They’re nervous and I pretend to know all things at all times because it calms them down.


TW: I hope it's not too much of a spoiler to say that the plot centres around amateur social media film-maker Lisa going missing along with a silver casket. The biblical links have led some critics to compare Confidence to Dan Brown's novels - albeit much better! What do you say to that and did you have it in mind when you were writing?

DM: It is a bit like Dan Brown’s books, it is a chase story about something vaguely religious, but I wasn’t thinking about that when I was writing the book. I suspect the parallels are because we have so few mainstream thriller books that touch on religious artefacts, which is odd because art and antiques are so valuable and drugs dealers are choosing to trade them rather than drugs because the penalties are so light in comparison


TW: Confidence touches on a number of subjects such as social media, religion and art theft. What research did you do?

DM: Obsessively scrolling social media and pretending it was work. Obsessively going to museums and reading about the politics of sacred objects and pretending it was work. Stealing things and pretending it was work when charged with an offence. I was very thorough.


TW: Confidence is very entertaining and is more of an escapist thriller than some of your grittier crime novels. Do you enjoy writing different types of crime thrillers and how do you decide what the tone and style will be before starting writing?


DM: I wrote this during lockdown when I didn’t want to read or watch anything but escapist stories that gave me a break from reality. It was what I wanted to read – a travel book with high stakes and an entertaining dénouement.


TW: What are your writerly techniques for creating 'just one more chapter' mysteries with a cracking pace and scenes so real the reader feels they are actually there?

DM: Try cutting the chapter up in the middle so that there is a pending question for the reader to wonder about. Imagine yourself reading in bed, your eyes burning, the clock coming up to one on a work day: what would make you turn the page?


TW: Have you always been a writer? What was your road to getting published?

DM: I worked in bars and factories and as a carer and then got into law school. While studying for a PhD I started writing my first novel, Garnethill, and sent it off to agents, lying and saying it was part of a finished novel. When one of them wrote back and asked to see the rest of it I had to write it.


TW: What can you tell us about future novels you are planning?

DM: I have a couple fermenting in the cellar: one a novella about Savonarola (an Italian Dominican Friar in Renaissance Florence), another about an academic.


TW: You're Programming Chair of this year's Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, which is a highlight of the year for crime authors and readers. How did you go about deciding on authors and events? What are you most proud of?

DM: For me diversity was a major concern. Steve Mosby pointed out that it was fifty years since the first Pride march and so we have a Pride and Prejudice Panel. I also worry about the over emphasis on big one-hit wonder books as a model for a career, lots of the people at Theakstons are writers, and so we have a panel about having a long career, failing, getting back up. It’s called It’s a Long Walk Not a Short High Hop.


Quick fire questions:

TW: Podcasts or videos? 

DM: Podcasts.


TW: Favourite ever crime writer? 

DM: Raymond Chandler.


TW: Book you can't wait to read? 

DM: The Century of the Deception by Ian Keable.


TW: For a holiday - French self-catering chateau or all inclusive beach hotel? 

DM: French Chateau. I can’t sit still.


TW: Song that always gets you up on the dance floor? 

DM: Dancing with myself by the The Donnas.


Thanks Denise!

Author head and shoulders photo of Denise Mina -a woman with short grey hair.

More about Confidence:

Deception. Theft. Murder. All you need is confidence.

When amateur film-maker Lisa Lee vanishes from a Scottish seaside town, journalists Anna and Fin find themselves at the centre of an internet frenzy to find her.

But she may not be the hapless victim everyone thinks she is. The last film she made showed her breaking into an abandoned French chateau and stumbling across a priceless Roman silver casket. The day after Lisa vanishes the casket is listed for auction in Paris, reserve price fifty million euros, with a catalogue entry that challenges the beliefs of a major world religion.

On a thrilling chase across Europe to discover what happened to Lisa, Anna and Fin are caught up in a world of international art smuggling, billionaire con artists and religious zealotry.

But someone doesn't want them to find the missing girl... and will do anything to stop them.

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