Interview with Gillian McAllister
Gillian McAllister’s books have only been around for a couple of years, yet she’s already been published in ten countries. Her debut, Everything But The Truth, published by Penguin, made the Sunday Times Top 10 best-seller list, followed by equally successful, No Further Questions and The Evidence Against You, released in April.
Gillian also practised as a lawyer in Birmingham.
You have been quoted as saying: ‘Once you’re a lawyer, you’re a lawyer forever.’ What exactly did you mean? Is there really no escaping that mindset?
Well, technically speaking, I’m no longer a lawyer, but I think law school teaches a very specific form of logical, evidence-based thinking, and a specificity in the way language is used.
Once you’ve written a book, are you a writer forever?
Oh, definitely. And often much before.
All your novels play out against legal backdrops, but they also have nail-biting psychological aspects. Would you describe yourself as a legal or psychological thriller writer?
Probably neither! I sort of think I might be inhabiting my own genre. I guess it is legal (but really, legal is just crime), but there’s a much heavier emphasis on characters and emotions in my fiction, too.
Penguin USA are releasing your titles. Why do you think it’s such a tough market for authors who write about the English legal system to break into? Conversely, why do you think US legal thrillers are so popular with UK readers?
I’m not sure it’s to do with the US legal system but just the sheer size of the US and the amount of their own home grown talent that they have. A little like an author from New Zealand breaking out in the UK. It does happen, but it’s rare.