Sunday, January 11, 2009

Natasha Cooper

Natasha Cooper is the author of six historical novels published under another name, the crime novels in the lighthearted Willow King series, and the grittier Trish Maguire novels.

From her interview with January Magazine contributing editor Ali Karim:

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed the Trish Maguire novels, of which A Poisoned Mind is the ninth. Tell me, why are you attracted to writing about Trish and the legal world?

I find the legal world fascinating for a whole lot of contradictory reasons. The gaps between law and justice worry me, and the idea of barristers using every allowable means to defend people they think must be guilty is a hard one to accept. And yet I am mesmerized by the wit and cleverness of all the barristers I know. They are the best storytellers, too, which is not really surprising, given that their whole professional lives consist of assembling facts into narratives that will be better than their opponents’, so that the jury (or judge in a civil trial) in each case will choose their story over that of the other side.

In A Poisoned Mind, Trish has been promoted to a Q.C. (Queen’s Counsel) and investigates a case that borders on the environmental concerns currently in vogue. But the work has a hard criminal edge. So, how did this novel evolve?

When I was first planning A Poisoned Mind and the crimes I was going to explore in it, I couldn’t stop thinking about the way our consumer-led society, with its demand for fuel-hungry high living standards, produces waste products that can seriously damage the natural world. At the same time, we cannot stop some children being so damaged by their emotional and physical environment that they become explosively dangerous. So my plot is a double one. The novel begins with a fatal explosion in some tanks that contain waste benzene. While Trish deals with the legal aftermath of the disaster, she also becomes involved in the life of a troubled teenager, Jay, whose many stresses drive him towards violence. The questions that hang over the narrative are: what -- or who -- caused the explosion? And who -- if anyone -- will Jay attack?
Read the complete Q & A.

The Page 99 Test: A Greater Evil/Evil is Done.

The Page 69 Test: A Poisoned Mind.

--Marshal Zeringue