I have a confession. I am a thriller writer who can’t stand the sight of blood…
No. Really. It’s true.
There will be journalists out there right now, saying – I hear there’s a Teresa Driscoll selling a lot of thrillers these days? Can’t be the Teresa Driscoll I knew. She was dead squeamish; seem to remember she passed out at her first inquest.
Ok, Ok, so this did happen. And no; it wasn’t the finest start to my journalistic career but in my defence, readers, it was a very hot and stuffy court room. Also I was young – ill prepared for the detail that the pathologist would go into.
I was in training to be a newspaper reporter and we had to attend every kind of court as part of our course. I have low blood pressure and am prone to fainting. The sight of blood. Even the mention, actually…
During that first inquest, I got the dreaded early warning signs as the gory facts were so graphically spelled out. Little black dots on the periphery of my vision. We were seated in a press bench of heavy wood and so I leaned back, rather hoping to pass out briefly and unnoticed. Next thing? I was laid out on some kind of table ‘out the back’ with the coroner peering over me. (Turns out, I had fallen forward and walloped my head so hard, he volunteered to check for concussion.)
So. I went down in history as the only student journalist to attend her first inquest…to be examined by the coroner.
Thankfully I got past it. I somehow managed to find a professional gear to steel myself to the bloody bits during a varied career as a journalist – including 15 years presenting the TV news for the BBC.
Along the way I became haunted by crime. Not the gore, obviously, but all the ripples. The unexpected impact on a wide circle – not just the victims and their families but all the witnesses and their loved ones too. I became deeply moved by the emotional landscape when bad people walk into good people’s lives.
I vividly remember as a young reporter meeting the mother of one of the victims of Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. I drove back to the office with that grieving mother’s haunted eyes imprinted on my brain. Unbearably sad…
So that is what I write about now in my fiction. The emotional hauntings. The love. The loss. All those ripples. All those sad eyes.
Dark stories– yes. Twists and turns – yes. Gore? No.
Whisper this, please, but I’m still not so good with blood….
- Teresa Driscoll’s debut psychological thriller I Am Watching You hit Number 1 in the UK, USA and Australia and has sold more than 390,000 copies in its first nine months. Her second thriller The Friend is out now. Both are published by Thomas & Mercer (a division of Amazon Publishing) and are available as paperbacks and e-books.