New Release Interview – Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

I’m delighted to welcome the uber-talented Mary-Jane Riley to the blog today to celebrate her new release, Dark Waters! I’ve been hearing wonderful things about this book and am really looking forward to reading it. Here’s Mary-Jane to tell us a little more about what goes on behind the scenes.

Can you describe your new novel in one succinct but sensual sentence?

The Norfolk Broads, beautiful, tranquil, atmospheric…. but journalist Alex Devlin discovers there is a dark heart to that beauty when she delves into two mysterious deaths on a boat – an investigation that will threaten everyone and everything she holds dear……

Who is your favourite character and why?

I have to say I love Alex, I love her passion, her humour and her dogged search for the truth that leads her into many a sticky situation. I like that she has to cope with a teenage son and a less than perfect love-life. She’s also not the most brilliant journalist, but she is certainly a trier! I also have a very soft spot for her colleague, Heath, who both infuriates her and amuses her….

Which authors have been your main inspiration?

Without a doubt Ruth Rendell and PD James, both of whom I had the privilege of interviewing when I was working in radio. Their passion for their work and craft certainly shone through. Also Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie – and Enid Blyton of course! I think Patricia Highsmith left the biggest impression on me in the way she could turn our preconceptions on their heads and make us empathise with very nasty characters.

How does your writing process work; confusion and paper flying everywhere, or calm and ordered?

It depends where I am in the novel – at the moment I am in the last stages of editing number four, and there are post-it notes stuck all around the edge of my computer screen, on my desk and on the window-sill. These are supposed to remind me of threads, clues and character traits I may forget. When I begin to write a new book I have a large A4 notebook, and use this to make notes. Then I start typing on the screen, and that notebook sits by my side until the end. I do also resort to scraps of paper/backs of envelopes/backs of bills if I have a sudden thought when I’m not near my desk!

What is your guilty pleasure when writing? (Chocolate, wine, coffee)

A little nap halfway through the day on the (pretty uncomfortable) futon in my study, usually curled up with one of the dogs! It’s my reward for reaching a certain number of words, so I can look forward to it when I’m slogging through the writing crafting beautiful prose.

Please share your blurb with us

DARK WATERS is the third crime thriller in the series featuring journalist Alex Devlin. It begins with a macabre discovery on board a pleasure cruiser on the beautiful Norfolk Broads – the decomposing bodies of two elderly men. It appears the dead men did not know each other and police suspect an internet suicide pact.
Alex’s search for the truth reveals a darker story. She finds a connection between the two men and possible links to other unexplained deaths.

As she investigates further, the stakes rise and her own family becomes embroiled in the mystery. Her inquiries lead her to the University of Cambridge. Could the roots of the puzzle lie there with a tragedy that unfolded amongst a group of carefree students many years before?

Long-buried secrets come to the surface and Alex’s life and the lives of her family are on the line. As the past and the present collide, Alex questions everything she thinks she knows about those she loves.

Thanks so much, Mary-Jane, Patricia Highsmith is a favourite of mine too! Dark Waters is available to buy here.


Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Mary-Jane has three grown-up children and lives in Suffolk with her husband and two golden retrievers.

DARK WATERS is her third crime thriller featuring investigative journalist, Alex Devlin.

Leave a comment

Subscribe To Blog

Don't forget, if you would like to receive notifications of my latest posts, you can register with my blog. Click on the link below.

Click To Register