Prior to working as a writer, Candy worked as an NHS nurse, a career that has helped with the medical-related scenes in her crime novels.
She is best known for her “Dr Callie Hughes Crime Scene Investigations” series. Her first in the series Dead Pretty was released in April 2020, and was followed by Body Heat (May 2020), Guilty Party (June 2020), Vital Signs (September 2020), Deadly Remedies (July 2021) and Murder Lust (June 2022). Whilst part of a series, each book can be read as a standalone story and are all published by The Book Folks; they follow Police Doctor & GP Callie Hughes who goes about her own sleuthing when she feels the police are not taking possible murders seriously.
As well as writing crime novels, Candy has written for a number of popular television shows including The Bill – which was nominated for two Writer’s Guild Awards – London Bridge, Crossroads, Doctors and Heartbeat.
In May 2023, her debut novel writing as Annie Payne will be released by Avon, titled The Doctor, about a Medical Officer who starts following a trail of deception found in her new hospital.
Meet Candy Denman
Questions On Writing
What has been the hardest part of your writing experience?
Keeping going when a book isn’t going well, or I have lost enthusiasm for it. There are moments like that in everything I have ever written, but if I keep writing I can work through it and then go back over the section that was causing trouble later. You can always tell where it was, the writing sags when the writer sags, but I can be sorted, so long as you don’t stop writing. At least, it always has been so far…
How has your writing developed from your debut novel to your newest release?
I think it’s less consciously novel-like. When I changed from writing scripts to books, I knew how to develop characters and tell a story, but it was all the bits like descriptions of places and people that was lacking. I couldn’t just say: suburban house, or old man. In television, you have a casting director to pick the old man, and a locations manager to pick the suburban house. It would be great to have someone writing those bits for me in a book! When I first tried to add description, it was very stilted and obvious. I hope I have improved with time!
Do you have a favourite of your books? Or is that like asking someone who their favourite child is?
It’s always hard to pick one, usually it’s the one I’m working on or most recently finished, but looking back, I think I like Guilty Party best because bits of it made me giggle. (I must have a very sick sense of humour).
Do you make yourself write everyday/regularly, or do you wait for inspiration to strike?
I try to write a little every day, even if it’s not going well. The more you write, the more inspiration comes.
What does literary success look like to you?
Having people want to read my books! That’s why I write. I’m happy so long as there are readers and publishers still wanting me to keep going.
What’s your go-to celebration when a book is published?
A glass of red wine – preferably French.
How does your writing style differ as Candy Denman to Annie Payne?
Annie Payne books are standalone and would be described best as psychological medical thrillers, whereas The Police Doctor Investigates series I write as Candy Denman falls more under the genre of mysteries, each book has both a murder and a medical storyline.
Questions on Books and about You
Firstly, the most important question: what books are currently ‘on your bedside table’?
I always have two books on the go at once, one on my Kindle and a paperback. I try and make them different, so that I don’t get muddled and I am at different stages with both so that I never end up without a book on the go. I hate that feeling of panic when I am not currently reading anything! At the moment I am reading Reverend Richard Coles’ Murder Before Evensong on the Kindle and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt in paperback, and loving both of them.
What children’s book would you suggest every adult read?
The Narnia series because they widen your imagination. I loved them and read all of them several times.
What does your writing space look like?
The short answer is messy. I have a posh shed in the garden, so I can watch the birds and squirrels and I get distracted by them constantly – there’s a squirrel on the bird feeder right now. The trouble is, whenever I can’t think of where to put something in the house (mainly books), I put it in my shed, so it’s a bit overcrowded.
How many books do you think you own?
Too many, my husband would say. I don’t count them because I know it would be shocking. I would guess about 500 books, and I have over 100 unread books on my Kindle. I will get around the reading them, honest!
Who is your literary icon?
Where do I start? There are so many. Reading PD James made me want to be a writer, Christopher Penfold (the script editor on The Bill and Midsomer Murders amongst many other things) took my first, awful effort at a script for The Bill and very patiently helped me make it better, and I am still grateful for the time he spent doing it. He was simply the best script editor a writer could ask for.
If you could own one rare/first edition of a book, which one would it be?
I think it would have to be the Narnia series, and if only on, The Magician’s Nephew is my favourite.
Is there an author who you always read?
Many. Elly Griffiths, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Anne Cleeves, Mark Billingham, Kathy Reichs, I could go on and on…I read a lot.
And finally, are there any plans for any new books? If so, what teasers can you give us?
My first Annie Payne book is out in May and is called The Doctor.
Running away from a past she’d rather forget, Doctor Alison Wilson takes a post as medical director at a failing hospital, but as she digs into the hospital’s past she discovers a trail of lies that runs deeper and darker than she could have imagined. There’s a cold-blooded killer in the hospital. And they are hiding in plain sight.
As Candy Denman, the next book (7th!) in the Dr Callie Hughes series is due out in the summer and has a working title of Stone Cold.
Stone Cold: Two skeletonized bodies are found buried in a back garden, much to the horror of the current house owners. Callie and the police try to find out who the bodies once were, and how they died. Meanwhile, Callie is trying to shake off a stalker who seems to be trying to scare her into dropping everything and running to boyfriend Billy in Northern Ireland, but she has never been one to run away from anything and she is not about to start now.
Thank you Candy for being my first interviewee 😊 I already have a copy of The Doctor on my advanced copy TBR list, and I cannot wait to get stuck in.
Candy Denman Books