Tana French, 41, is a former actor whose award-winning crime novels based around Dublin's fictional murder squad have become international bestsellers. Her fifth book, The Secret Place, is set in an exclusive girls' boarding school. French lives in Dublin with her husband and two children.
What made you move from acting to writing?
When I was a kid I always wanted to do both, but the acting took over for a while. If you write in the first person as I do it's very much the same thing, in that you're playing a character, telling a story through that person and hopefully drawing the audience into their world. I found I couldn't really do both at once, so when I started acting, the writing went out of the window. I stumbled back into it by accident. In an alternate world where there were 30 hours in the day, I'd still love to do both. Maybe someday there'll be room to balance the two.
Why crime fiction?
The thing that attracts me isn't the murder, it's the element of mystery. I've always loved mysteries, real or fictional. I remember reading about the Marie Celeste when I was a kid and becoming obsessed with what happened. That idea of what could be mysterious and start people asking questions – that's how I wound up with crime fiction...