Five minutes with... Elly Griffiths


She’s our absolute top-selling author and her Norfolk-set crime fiction gathers ever greater numbers of fans – and she came to Jarrold last week so we took the opportunity to ask her some questions…

We make no apology for once again featuring the wonderful Elly Griffiths. She’s our absolute top-selling author and her Norfolk-set crime fiction gathers ever greater numbers of fans as the months go by. Elly was at Jarrolds last week for two sold-out events around the launch of her latest book, The Dark Angel and before interviewing her in the store we took the opportunity to ask her some extra questions, the answers to which are published here.

As you know, here at Jarrolds we love the Ruth Galloway series and we’re delighted to help you launch the tenth book in the series! When you first came up with the idea for The Crossing Places while on holiday in north Norfolk did you ever think that it would be the start of such a successful series of novels?

I hoped it would be obviously, but I certainly didn’t think there would be ten (and I’ve started the eleventh!) it’s been wonderful how much people have taken Ruth to their hearts and great that they want to know more about her. 

Your real name is Domenica de Rosa and Elly Griffiths is your ‘crime name’ (adopted on the advice of your literary agent). Why Elly Griffiths? Does this name have a meaning to you?

The short answer is that it was my grandmother’s name! She was Ellen Griffiths but at some point the publishers decided that Elly looked tidier. I think Griffiths is also a grittier name for a crime writer. 

Have you always had a passion for crime fiction? Did you always want to be a crime writer?

 I’ve always wanted to be a writer and my first novel written when I was 11 was actually a murder mystery. It was called The Hair of the Dog, and I think the vicar did it. 

How much of the plot of the new book do you feel like sharing? Will Ruth and Harry finally get together?

I can’t tell you that! But I can say that certain things get resolved in this book but new questions arise. Ruth travels to Italy and in Norfolk Nelson faces a threat from a newly released prisoner. It’s not long though before Ruth, Cathbad and Nelson find themselves together again. 

Do any of your plot lines reflect experiences in your own life? If so, can you give an example?

The Dark Angel is set in an Italian town very like the one where we have a holiday home. In The Janus Stone there is a journey on the Norfolk Broads that I’ve made many times with my Aunt Marge. Including almost getting stuck under Potter Heigham Bridge. 

You teach fiction as well as writing it. What’s the secret to writing a successful and best-selling crime novel? Can you give budding authors any tips?

I’m not sure I know the secret even after ten books, but I would advise any aspiring writer to write every day, not to change too much and not to show their work in progress to family and friends. 

 Some people may still not know that you’re also the author of another crime fiction series – the Stephens & Mephisto novels – can you tell us a bit about these?

The S&M books are set in the 1950s theatrical world. Edgar Stephens is a policeman and Max Mephisto is a magician. The two served together in the army and in the first book, The Zig Zag Girl they the up to catch a murderer known as The Conjurer Killer. 

 What’s next for Ruth Galloway? Is there another book on the horizon?

Yes, I have already started book eleven. It’s called The Stone Circle and it starts when Nelson receives a disturbing yet strangely familiar letter... 

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