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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > February 2016 > Star interview: Louise Welsh

Star interview: Louise Welsh

Burning Bright

Like life, literature is about balancing light and dark, Louise Welsh tells Tina Jackson

Portraits by Steve Lindridge,

Louise Welsh does not, on first impression, seem like an author of viscerally macabre crime and genuinely disturbing dystopian fiction.

‘I just make everything up!’ she says, laughing, in her lilting Glaswegian accent.

But what horrors this chatty, softlyspoken writer conjures. From her debut, 2002’s The Cutting Room, to her most recent, Death is a Welcome Guest, award-winning, genre-busting Louise Welsh has taken her readers on a shadowy walk into truly gruesome territory, from the snuff pornography of The Cutting Room to The Plague Times trilogy’s evocation of a post pandemic dystopia.

Louise writes as a way of exploring her interests, and The Plague Times books bring together several longterm strands. Louise grew up at the height of Cold War paranoia. ‘When you write something, you attach reasons retrospectively, but I was growing up in the late 1970s, early 80s, and there was a lot of talk of pandemics, nuclear war. With my generation, we lived with the idea that the end of the world was nigh – there were TV series like Survivors and Threads, which was a great drama-documentary about nuclear threat. So as a child, there was the idea that everything might be fleeting. And writing about the end of civilisation is like a love letter to that civilisation.’

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BUMPER ISSUE: Plan your writing year with our definitive guide to festivals, workshops, courses and events for writers in 2016 101 ways to inspire new ideas How to: Market your ebook Write the perfect submission letter Sell your article ideas 'Leave it out!": Create cliché-free crime dialogue Get active! Make the most of your writing retreat AND Get Booked at your local library Star interview with crime writer Louise Welsh, on tackling dark topics with a light touch

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