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Q&A with Anne Coates author of Perdition's Child

Perditions Child cover artwork 1

Anne is well known for her Hannah Weybridge books, and she's here to chat about her latest in the series,  Perdition's Child which is my personal favorite. 
Anne, welcome. 

What inspired you to write Perdition’s Child?

For many years I abridged fiction and narrative non-fiction for Readers Digest for the UK and Australia. During this time I worked on a memoir by a man who had been sent to Australia as a child, part of the Child Migration Scheme. He eventually returned to the UK to trace the family he had been told didn’t want anything to do with him… It was a heartbreaking memoir, which haunted me. I thought of those parents whose children had in effect been stolen and eventually an idea germinated. Perdition’s Child tells part of their story but within a crime thriller setting.

The Hannah Weybridge series is set in the 1990s, why?

Simple reason I wrote the first drafts of Dancers in the Wind, in 1993! It was eventually published by Urbane Publications in 2016. Publishing director Matthew Smith proposed a Hannah Weybridge trilogy. I had written the first three chapters of book two years ago and so ran with that. I love writing about that era when technology as we know it today didn’t exist. Even mobile phones were relatively rare. 

Perdition’s Child – the fourth book turning the trilogy into a series – is set in 1994. In all the books I love adding historical tidbits even cricketing events and Tony Blair being elected leader of the Labour Party. During the course of these narratives, one of Hannah’s friends, Joe, is elected as an MP in a by-election caused by the events in Death’s Silent Judgement, which adds another dimension. 

I had a few ideas for number five in the Hannah Weybridge series but nothing definite I also started writing a contemporary standalone. However when lockdown struck I found it difficult to continue writing. It was then that I came up with an idea for the fifth Hannah Weybridge. Returning to the 1990s has been a blessing.

What is the standalone?

It’s a psychological thriller inspired by a short story I wrote years ago. I have the beginning, the ending… and a fair amount of the middle! Plus I also began writing a new crime series, again contemporary, but coronavirus put paid to that as well – for the time being!

Going back to the Hannah Weybridge series, it is set in London, a lot of it in the south-east and Waterloo. What draws you back to Waterloo?

The area has a special place in my heart as it was where my mother was born and lived with her parents until she married and moved to Clapham where I was born. My maternal aunt and all but one uncle also lived in SE1. Some of them have provided my characters with their little idiosyncrasies but I’m not divulging which ones!

Much later I worked at IPC Magazines in Stamford Street and I used to walk through the Bull Ring and witnessed the Cardboard City, which features in Death’s Silent Judgement. That district has changed enormously now and I love strolling along the South Bank (especially when my Westie, Fliss, was alive as she strutted about as though she owned the place) plus it has some of my favourite theatres – The Old Vic (where my mother used to go with her mother), The Young Vic. The Globe and the latest addition: Bridge Theatre.  It’s an area where I feel very much at home. 

Twitter: @Anne_Coates1