Welcome to my blog Ann Girdharry.
Ann Girdharry was born and educated in the UK. A trained psychotherapist, she has worked for many years as a manager in the not-for-profit sector, for agencies working with: carers, vulnerable older people and those with dementia, survivors of abuse, and victims of racism and racial attacks. Today, she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.
Let’s talk childhood. What aspirations did you have as a child?
When I was a child, my ambition was to be an astronaut. I loved science.
Well, I can tell you that would never have worked out, at least, not the astronaut part – sometimes I can get travel sick even in the back of a car!
I went on to study science, actually Biochemistry, but was turned off by all the animal experimentation and lack of ethics in the pharmaceutical industry. This was a problem for me because the pharmaceutical industry is the main source of funding for research in this field.
Let’s talk books and influences. Who is your favourite author? Do you have a favourite book?
I have read many good and enjoyable books over the years and I like to read widely.
In the mystery and suspense genre, my favourite book is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. This has been on my ‘to read’ list for a long time and I just finished it recently. It’s a wonderfully written book – full of tension and great story-telling. Towards the end, I actually slowed down reading it, because I didn’t like the idea of it coming to an end – and I think that shows you how good it was.
If, one day, my books sat alongside this one on a bookshelf, I’d be very happy!
How long has the road to becoming a successful writer been for you?
The road has been long and it’s been happy.
I’ve always been creative and imaginative. I won my first story writing competition at school at age fifteen and writing remained a side-line hobby for most of my life. For unknown reasons, after the birth of my second daughter (I have two daughters) I fell into a period of creative frenzy. Perhaps it was the effect of spending long periods of time in the house with two small children, perhaps it was the child birth, maybe it was simply emotion– I don’t know – but I wrote every day and I absolutely had to write. Everything spilled out – poetry, short stories, flash fiction – and it was that period that pushed me to refocus on my writing and which finally led to me creating this novel.
Let’s talk writing. What do you love about writing?
If I didn’t write, I wonder if I might go a bit strange? That’s probably an exaggeration…
The truth is, I’ve always had an ‘over-active’ imagination, so writing is a great channel. Once you’ve learnt the art of writing, it becomes a passion.
I see you are well travelled. Tell us about that.
I know that I have a nomadic streak and I often feel restless. I think this has been passed down to me through the generations.
My ancestors were indentured labourers who moved from the poor suburbs of India to work the sugar plantations in what was then British Guyana. That was about five generations ago, and Guyana is long since independent. In return for their labour, my ancestors ‘earned’ their plot of land in Guyana and that’s where my parents were both born.
My mother came to England to work as a nurse, then as a midwife, and I was born in the UK. For my own part, as an adult I’ve lived in the USA, Norway, spent a few years back in the UK and now I live in France. In my life, trips to India and Guyana have been important to me and I have family and cousins all over the world (my father was one of ten, and my mother one of six).
My family history definitely influences my world view. It also influences my on-going support and interest in the issues of settlement and successful integration of immigrant communities and refugees.
How do you choose where to site your books?
I choose places that have had an impact on me (good or bad) and which I can describe in vivid or attractive detail. I remember reading at one time of a writer who was living in (I think) Bangkok, specifically to research his new book (I think this was Jo Nesbo) – I am not in that situation! So I draw on my own past experiences to choose settings.
Let’s talk early careers – How has your work with the vulnerable and disenfranchised influenced your writing?
This is an integral part of my writing, although the influence often comes in as an undercurrent rather than as the main theme of my stories or characters.
Certainly, my understanding of psychology and my experience of working for and with people in various situations of crisis, brings a humanity to my writing and, I hope, an insight. My characters are perhaps not the usual ones you find within the pages of books, especially not the usual ones you find within a suspense thriller.
Let’s talk about the characters in your book? Who influenced your portrayal of Kal?
Firstly, Kal is many young women I’ve known wrapped into one. She’s got guts – she’s determined – she’s going to fight against the odds and the odds are stacked against her – I’ve known several young women just like that.
She’s got a tiny part of me in her (from when I was younger, and I hope, the best parts though with time and how memories can fade, perhaps I’m deluding myself there!).
Part of her is made up of a person who can understand detail, who pays attention to detail, who has been taught to interpret and theorise based on detail and instinct. This is built from a certain temperament and a certain mind set, that again, I’ve seen and met close-up in people that I’ve worked with and for.
Let’s talk next book.
Good Girl Bad Girl is the first book in the Kal Medi series.
Kal has more adventures and difficulties to face and I’ve just started writing the second story. If you want to be in on it, you might want to join my Reader’s Group (you can find details on my website). From time to time, I keep in touch with my Reader’s Group, and they’ll be the first to know as the new book progresses.
If you want to know more about Ann check out her social media sites here: