Today I’m delighted to welcome Crime Book Junkie, Noelle Holten (and her chocolate lab, Buster) to the blog. When I asked Noelle if I could ask her some questions, she asked why I’d want to. Noelle is one of the biggest book bloggers around, with a huge audience of review readers that I’m sure would like to get to know her better. I rest my case! So Noelle, I’d best start the interview.
You have traveled the world quite a bit (Ireland, Canada and now the UK.) Which part of the world is your favourite and why?
I wish I could say I was well traveled, but those are places where I have lived or where my family are! My favourite? Well, I absolutely love Canada ~ my home ~ as nothing beats a Canadian winter. Snow up to your knees, snowflakes falling on your face or the glistening sight from a fresh snowfall under the streetlights, a proper snowball fight, tobogganing. *Sigh* -Good times! But I recently had the chance to visit Scotland and absolutely fell in love. In fact, the scenery and atmosphere reminded me a lot of Canada and I would not be surprised if one day, Buster and I just picked up sticks and ended up moving there! Never say never!
What was the first book of your childhood that made you realise that from that point on you’d never be without one?
My dad bought me The Chronicles Of Narnia box set. I fell in love. I have been reading ever since. Though my taste in books have changed, Narnia is still one of my favourites. It was the first time I ever felt a story come alive. I must have been about 6 or 7. And I was always checking wardrobes in the hopes that I might find my Narnia too!
Do you think your love of crime books influenced your career choice, or does working in the probation service reinforce what books you choose to read?
Good question! Honest answer…I don’t know…though if my choice of books influenced my career, I would have ended up a serial killer as I started reading horror and true crime when I was 12 years old and moved on to crime fiction probably around my early 20’s!
I try to separate my work head from my reading head as I think I would be too overly critical of plot lines or characters otherwise. You know, like how some Police Officers get hung up on incorrect use of procedure or protocol or how a Doctor might think a surgical scene is all wrong. Literary licence is a wonderful tool and I don’t ever want to become too hung up on what would or would not happen…so I try to leave work…at work!
I know you are in the process of writing your first book. Am I allowed to ask what it’s about? (Please say yes, or I’ll have to think of an extra question!)
Of course you can….but it doesn’t mean I am going to answer! Seriously though, it is a crime-thriller, I am hoping it will be a series, there are a few stories from my own experiences (work) included and it is very much in the early stages. I am doing research and still learning about the writing process. I carry around a notebook where I write ideas, chapters, things I have observed — all to be fleshed out at a later stage. I am definitely not rushing this as I want to be sure it is good and something I can be proud of. Who knows if it will ever see the light of day!
I have also had some excellent advice….never share too much about your book with other authors….ha ha ha
What influenced your decision to work in the probation service? Is it something you had always wanted to do?
I actually wanted to be a neuro-surgeon, and despite getting exceptional grades in Biology and Chemistry –Physics was my downfall. I then had dreams of being a Lawyer, took my mock LSATs , did well but realised if I had to study all the other areas of Law first…it was not for me! So in University I did an Hons BA in Philosophy where my focus was on Law & Morality. I then did an Hons BA in Sociology with a focus on Crime & Deviance…that is where the itch started. I was then lucky enough to be offered a place at Middlesex University in London, UK and I received my MA in Criminology in 2000. Within that, I had taken a module on Probation and I was intrigued! After I finished my MA I gave myself a year to find a job in the UK or I would head back to Canada. I applied to the Police and Probation Services. Probation answered first! I went on to do an Hons BA in Community Justice and a Diploma in Probation Studies. So there has always been an interest in working within the Criminal Justice System…I just had to decide where it was and eventually did!
I know you’ve been featured as a character in quite a few books. Do you prefer being an antagonist or protagonist, and why?
Oooooh! I am so lucky and feel incredibly honoured when I am featured as a character in a book! I have never been a baddie. I have always been a victim or friend of the MC character…I would LOVE to be a sociopathic killer….who evades police capture with her cunning. Having techniques that make even the most hardened reader shiver at the mention of my name! Hell yeah…now that would ROCK!! And then it could be a series and…oh sorry….I was getting a bit carried away.
So why an antagonist? I think because it is so completely opposite of me and if I am honest….I wouldn’t mind scaring the bejesus out of a few people (mwah ha ha ha )
Your love of books is equal only to your love of your dog, Buster. What do you think his opinion of being photographed for Facebook posts is? Has he ever had any diva tendencies?
OMFG! I know he looks like he hates all the pictures, but Buster LOVES all the attention! It is a good thing they don’t make doggy selfie sticks as I am sure he would be snapping away while I am hard at work!
If Buster feels he is not getting enough attention, he sulks…proper sulks and huffs…like a diva. He also likes to walk over and place his head in my lap or kick me “by accident” if he wants a belly rub. But he has the best disposition and is the most loving and loyal companion, so I don’t mind. He is family and always gets what he wants!
We’re not too far into 2016, but I know you’ll have read a lot of books already. Can you pick out your top 3 of the year so far?
Oh Mark! Now that is putting me on the spot as I have read some cracking beta reads, not yet mentioned in the public forum, which would fit this question perfectly! But if I must then….
Top 3 in no particular order:
AJ Waines No Longer Safe
Michael J Malone Bad Samaritan
S.Williams Tuesday Falling
Imagine you are in a room full of your favourite authors. What is going on inside the head of the CrimeBookJunkie? How do you choose who to attack…….I mean speak to, first?
Surprisingly, I am pretty shy (at first) and it takes a lot for me to work up my nerve. Hard question….I think I would initially stalk…I mean approach whoever was willing to give me the time of day! My head would be spinning and the grin on my face would probably scare the bejesus of most…maniacal at best! I have recently had the chance to meet quite a few of my favourite authors….after an EEEEK and a huge squeeze….I get a little tongue tied, but they have been absolutely lovely. Two of my recent blog posts talk about how I met Mel Sherratt and Graham Smith….if I died tomorrow, I would be the happiest CrimeBookJunkie ever. I have pictures with both authors (above) that have pride of place in my home…next to Buster and Pebbles of course! I also met Michael J Malone, my bestie and Col Bury, bestie #2. Both of whom are amazing!
If you could adopt a fictional ‘furbaby’ as a brother or sister for Buster, who would you pick? (answer can be real or animated animal btw.)
Buster is such a jealous pooch and very over protective of his mum (me!) choosing a sibling would be difficult. But if I really could choose any….I would choose Aslan from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Another loyal, fiercely protective furbaby. Not sure Buster would be best pleased though!
Thanks for having me Mark!
Thank you for answering my questions Noelle. I’m (and I’m sure everyone else is too,) looking forward to reading your books. Also say hi to Buster from all of us.
As always, thank you for reading,