Gwen interviews Cathy Ace

cathy-aceDo you have a favourite literary crime character?

My answer to this question will depend on the day of the week, or possibly the time of year. Why? When I’m feeling relaxed and have ample time ahead of me to linger within the pages of a book, I’ll choose PD James’ Adam Dalgliesh, who works through a case at a stately pace. If I don’t have the luxury of lounging about for a day or so I’ll opt for Christie’s Hercule Poirot, who offers a quick dispatching of baddies.

Which book have you always meant to get round to reading, but still not read?

Honestly – I look at my To Be Read pile (well, okay, it’s not a pile any more but a series of short stacks on the floor, along the wall in my office) and I want to read every single book there. There really are so many good books and so little time!

If you could only take one book with you on a desert island, which would it be?

The complete works of William Shakespeare. All of life is within his works, every emotion, every desire, every weakness, every strength. I adore his works.

Which is the best book you have received as a gift?

The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkein. I won a book prize at my junior comprehensive school in 1971, and I got to choose which books I would receive, up to a certain cost. I chose The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (I’d read The Hobbit several times, but the school library couldn’t afford its own copy of The Lord of the Rings so I got that, read it, then loaned it to “careful” friends). My third choice rather worried my head teacher, I recall, possibly because it was The History of Witchcraft by Sybil Leek, a pretty famous/infamous Wiccan.

Who would be at your dream dinner party (living or dead)?

Oh I can see it now … William Shakespeare sitting next to Dame Agatha Christie discussing the best use of the English language and inventing new words within their discussion. Across the table would be PG Wodehouse, who’s making JRR Tolkein laugh aloud. Beyond them there’d be Julia Child, who’d have prepared the food for us all from her own recipes, of course, nattering to Ruth Rendell and PD James about the joys of shopping at the markets in Paris. I’d be tete-a-tete with each of them in turn – duh! – but would start by chatting to Christopher Marlowe … forcing him to tell me whether he really did work with Shakespeare on some of his plays and, if so, which ones!

Where are you happiest?

I admit quite openly that I am happiest at home – preferably with my husband and dogs here with me. When I’m away from my husband I’m not happy, wherever I am … but the least unhappy I am without him is when I’m visiting my mum and sister in Swansea, Wales. Other than that? Sitting on the deck of a cruise ship in the Caribbean with my husband beside me, a good book in one hand and a cool drink in the other

Who would you like to star in the film of one of your books?

The length of this answer suggests I’ve given the matter a great deal of thought. I have.


I write two series of books – The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries and The Cait Morgan Mysteries.

Cait Morgan is 5’3” (5’4” on a tall day), 180lbs, and in her late forties … so a Hollywood actress the right shape and age doesn’t exist. She’s also Welsh-Canadian … so, if she were prepared to put on quite a few pounds and let her Swansea accent come out, Catherine Zeta Jones could go for her second Oscar by playing a “real-sized woman”. Her partner in crime, Bud Anderson, is Canadian, of Swedish heritage and birth, in his mid-fifties with snowy hair, rugged features and piercing blue eyes. I’m going for Paul Gross for Bud – almost as painfully handsome as he was painfully polite in Due South, to say that he’s “aged well” would be an understatement!

For the WISE Women:


Carol Hill, the Welsh one, is in her mid-thirties, happily married, happily pregnant and a whizz at techy stuff. For her I’d cast Joanna Page, who played Stacey in Gavin and Stacey … she has the perfect look, and that wonderful smile which oozes sweetness and innocence.

Christine Wilson-Smythe: the daughter of an impoverished Irish viscount, Christine is beautiful, in her late twenties, headstrong, and apt to fall for the wrong man! Eve Hewson, the stunning daughter of U2’s Bono, would look the part, and certainly has the acting chops!

Mavis MacDonald: in her sixties, and a no-nonsense retired army matron, I see Mavis being played by the wonderful Annette Crosbie (though she’s 82 now, so would have to play a bit younger) or Stella Gonet (playing older). Mind you, if Lulu fancied doing a turn as a non-glamorous grannie, she’d have just the right accent!

Annie Parker: tall, thin, sweating her way through her fifties with a broad Cockney accent, but the dark skin she inherited from her St. Lucian immigrant parents, I’d like to see either Noma Dumezweni (currently in The Cursed Child) or Freema Agyeman (of Doctor Who & Torchwood) play the role … through Freema would have to play a good deal older than her tender age of less-than-forty.

Dowager Duchess of Chellingworth, Althea Twyst is just about to turn 80, and still blessed with a wicked sense of humor – fueled by her love of all things Monty Python – and cannot help but get herself into trouble! For her, I think the naughty dimples of Pauline Collins would do the trick … though the actress would have to have fuss-free short hair and be happy to work with a rambunctious Jack Russell!

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

Oh, a chance to be naughty, how wonderful! It’s terribly tempting to say I would swan into somewhere where stacks of cash are just lying about the place and scoop them all up for myself … but I am one of those people who knows they’d get caught, so I’d stick to something wicked, but not criminal. How about rearranging all the shelves in the bookshops in London so my book was facing out? A bit self-serving, but I’ll allow myself to do it … just for one day.

Could you describe your idea of the perfect day?

If I’m at home … Husband gets up and tends to the dogs’ needs so I get a lie-in until about 8am. Up to a breakfast prepared by said Husband (calorie-free toast and marmalade, please, without the accompanying requirement for Gaviscon), followed by a day of weather that’s perfect for working in the garden … not too hot, not too cold … then a dunk in the hot tub and a dinner of steak and asparagus on the BBQ with a bottle of bubbles to wash it down. I’d like to watch some good movies in the evening, on TV, with the dogs snuggled beside me on the sofa, please. Thanks

What’s the best thing about social media?

What I’m doing right now – “talking” to people I’ve never met, all around the world, who, like me, are avid fans of crime fiction, and who might enjoy my writing.

Thanks for having me along today!

You can find out more about Cathy Ace and her work at:



Twitter: @AceCathy


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