My Secret Life: Val McDermid, 57, author

'I wanted to be Joni Mitchell'

My parents were… completely in love with each other, and I think if I hadn't come along they'd still have had a blissfully happy marriage.

The household I grew up in… Life was very ordered. There weren't those scary unpredictabilities some people have. That made me quite grounded.

When I was a child I wanted to be… a writer, storyteller, or musician. I did want to be Joni Mitchell for quite a long time.

If I could change one thing about myself… I'd like to be more spontaneous.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at… knitting.

You may not know it but I'm no good at… admin. I am the despair of my accountant; I am the plastic bags of receipts.

I wish I had never worn… a tangerine cape when I was a teenager. I expect I looked like a giant orange with legs, or like something out of a pantomime – Cinderella's pumpkin.

What I see when I look in the mirror… My maternal grandfather's hair and my father's family's features.

It's not fashionable but I like… Heinz Cream of Tomato soup.

I drive/ride… a BMW 5 Series Touring and a Land Rover Defender – but in my heart I'm driving a convertible very fast down a German autobahn.

My house is… I have a vernacular house on the seaside in Northumberland, and an Edwardian semi in south Manchester. They're both exactly as big as they need to be. I can't be doing with an ostentatious, big house – you can only be in one room at a time.

My favourite work of art… Portrait of a Young Man by Botticelli in the National Gallery.

My favourite building… Radcliffe Camera in Oxford.

A book that changed me… Sexual Politics by Kate Millett. I was reading English at Oxford, and it was transformational – it was a completely different approach to literary criticism, and it really opened my eyes to feminism.

The last album I bought… James Yorkston, When the Haar Rolls In.

My secret crush… David Beckham.

My real-life villains… Predictably enough, Margaret Thatcher.

The person who really makes me laugh… My wife.

The last time I cried… The John Lennon moment in the Olympics opening ceremony. I sat down a bit cynical about the whole thing and during the course of the evening was completely transformed.

My five-year plan… To stay alive, write more books.

What's the point? The point is people – the people in your life that you love.

My life in six words… They said I couldn't do it.

A life in brief

Val McDermid was born in 1955 and grew up in Kirkcaldy, Fife. She went to Oxford University, and then worked as a journalist. Since her first book, Report for Murder, in 1984, she has sold over 10 million copies of 26 crime novels. The ITV series Wire in the Blood was based on her books. McDermid's work has won several awards, including an LA Times book prize and the CWA Dagger. Her latest novel, The Vanishing Point, is out now. McDermid lives between Manchester and Northumberland with her wife

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?