Saturday, 21 December 2013

Marshal Zeringue's My Book, The Movie Blog


Friday, December 20, 2013

Ruth Dugdall's "The Sacrificial Man"

Ruth Dugdall is a British crime writer. She has a degree in English and Theatre Studies from Warwick University and an MA is Social Work at University of East Anglia, and has worked as a probation officer dealing with high-risk criminals for almost a decade. She is the author of The James Version and The Sacrificial Man.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of The Sacrificial Man:
To see one of my novels on the big screen is one of my favourite daydreams. For many writers, especially crime writers like myself, a movie deal is the Holy Grail.

But then the crunch question – who has the icy demeanour to play my uber-controlling, beautiful but brutalised Alice?

Alice is the central character in The Sacrificial Man, and she has agreed to kill a man, and eat him. She does not see herself as a criminal, but as a romantic heroine; she believes she is in a love story, that in helping her lover to die she was performing an act of devotion. Imagine Julie Christie, as she was in Doctor Zhivago, but with a knife.

Julie Christie being a bit too mature now, I think Nicole Kidman has a suitably frosty and fractured demeanour. I’d enjoy watching her reveal Alice’s motivations, but I’m not sure she could motivate the audience to empathise. An actress with a track record in making unpleasant people sympathetic is Charlize Theron. Even her Dior advert brings me out in goose bumps!

My other female lead is Cate Austin, the probation officer with the thankless task of writing a sentencing report on Alice. Cate has to delve into the dark side of life, and she sometimes struggles.

Cate is my everywoman, so I imagine a warmer, girl-next-door actress. My background is as a probation officer, so Cate has inherited some of my traits; she’s a petite redhead, rather serious-minded. I think Carey Mulligan would play her well (though she’d need some henna).

My dream director is Jordan Scott, Ridley Scott’s daughter (I bet she hates that everyone adds that, as if she has no identity in her own right). In fact (confession time) I e-mailed her after I watched Cracks because the themes seemed so close to what I hope to achieve with my writing, and I just thought: “she would get me.”
Learn more about the book and author at Ruth Dugdall's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, 19 December 2013

From the Legend Press Advent Calender

Legendary Advent Calendar - 19th December

Ruth Dugdall 2 LegendsxamEach day on the blog we will be posting a special festive offering, as we interrogate our authors about Christmas. Today's answers are from Ruth Dugdall, author of The Woman Before Me and The Sacrificial Man.
What do you love most about Christmas?
I love Christmas smells: mulled wine, fir trees, brandy butter. Also the cosiness; it’s the time of year to get the fire crackling in the hearth and sit cosily watching DVDs. Naturally, a bonus with this time of year is the food. I’m a sucker for mince pies (so long as they’re warm) and anything with marzipan.
What makes you a Christmas Scrooge?
But one thing that makes me a right Christmas Scrooge is `lists`. And people who ask for gift vouchers / money. The whole point of the perfect gift is to find something unique, something that is specific to that individual and shows how well you know and care about them. This is not an item that anyone could put on a list, as hopefully they haven’t even thought of it.
It should not be useful or functional, but pretty or unique. Last year I got my husband the marble arm from a statue. The previous year I got him a resin skull used to train surgeons. Now, I ask you, who would prefer socks?
Not all the family understands this philosophy. One year I got a steam cooker (from a person who will remain anonymous) because said item was reduced at Currys.
How do you fit your writing around Christmas, or do you make sure you have a break?
Christmas is a great time to write because there is so much inspiration, so many family tensions, so many opportunities for alcohol-fuelled scenes of indiscretion.
I jest. But only to a point; any season with such emotion attached to it is ripe for an author. This is not just about happiness and excess, but also any sad event is magnified. If a writer is sensitive to this, there are stories everywhere. In fact, something happened just this morning at my son’s Christmas concert, which will go straight into my next novel! (Must remember to change the names).
What is your favourite Christmas film or book?
My favourite Christmas film is `It’s A Wonderful Life`. My goodness, I could cry just thinking about it…
”Why must you torment the children so?”
The house with broken windows…
If you don’t know what I’m talking about then go order a copy. You won’t regret it.
What are you hoping for under your Christmas tree this year?
And this Christmas, what would I want in Santa’s sack? A publishing deal for My Sister And Other Liars. I’ve been working on it for a long, long time and I want it to make its way in the world. And I’ve been so good this year.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Goodbye to Felixstowe

I was in Body Pump class this morning, pulsing to the beat and staring at the cold sea in the distance, Harvest House peering over the cliff like an eccentric old Aunt, and suddenly I felt sad. So sad I thought I might cry, right there and then, with 10kg of weight on my shoulders.


It was a taste of grief, a moment when I realised that I’ll soon be leaving this town I love.


Felixstowe isn’t swanky, it’ll never be a town to host Waitrose, but it has a beauty beyond even the most fashionable seaside towns. A sandy beach, Edwardian houses, the Spa Gardens. It may be faded and unfashionable but this place is my familiar, my safety, my rock.

And the people of the town, not always warm to newcomers, are the lifeblood. As I left the gym I saw the guy who works at the local supermarket.


“How’s it going, babe?”


I couldn’t lie. “I’m a bit stressed. I’m leaving town in January. Scary.”


“Yeah,” he agreed, “Everything’s scary once you leave `Stowe. Come in and say bye before you go, yeah?”


My heart melted at this small offering as I thought, this will not happen to me in Luxembourg. For starters my French isn’t good enough.


But if Felixstowe is my husband, I want Luxembourg to be my lover. I want to fall, and hard, for its beauty. I want to be so bowled over that I forget the cosiness of the familiar, forget the cinema where you can order cheesy chips, forget the smell of salt in the air as I sit in my beach hut and watch the waves.  


Deep breath. Moving date is January 24th. No going back now.    
 My favourite haunts.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Scary decision! I'm moving to Luxembourg

When I resigned from my career to try and make it as a writer Andrew was 100% beside me. Over the years there have been many, many times when I doubted my decision and he has been the one to re-assure me: "It will happen! Just keep going!" And all of those other things that writers need to hear often to keep our fragile egos in-tact.

I have been incredibly lucky, and his support meant I have had the time to write.
So, now it's payback time. Andrew has a new job. IN LUXEMBOURG!

Now, I hate change. I put this down to moving from Yorkshire to Suffolk when I was a  7 year old  kid, a move which devastated me. I've grown to love Suffolk but more than that I love my family and friends. I love going to the shops and seeing faces I know. I love the fact that the guy in the paper shop knows my name, that the woman in the cinema knows the kind of films I like. This is a community and I relish a sense of belonging, something mourned losing when I was 7. I honestly thought I would never leave this town.

If I was still a probation officer things would be different, but I work at home and I can write anywhere. So I've agreed to the move. How could I stifle Andrew's career when he has done so much to support mine?
I'm scared. But I'm going to embrace the possibilities and roll with the changes (I hope!).

And the start of it will be this blog. I'm not great at blogging but now I have a purpose. Hope a few people come along for the ride! 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Felixstowe Book Festival

I am so excited about the upcoming Felixstowe Book Festival, the first ever that the town has known.
The line-up is impressive and there are events to suit everyone, including children.

When I was approached by Meg Reid, the Festival Director, about doing a slot I suggested a panel of crime writers and decided to approach Michelle Spring and Sophie Hannah with the idea. I am delighted to say that both agreed, and our event is entitled:

Why, for female writers and readers, murder can be so satisyfing!

Like it? It was my idea, and a bit tongue in cheek, but it is a good question: with most criminals being male and most victims female, why is the genre so attractive for women. Are we mastering our own anxiety? Are we trying to re-claim a typically sexist arena?

Come along and join in the discussion on June 16th (my birthday! What a way to celebrate...) at 2-3pm, The Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe.

More information about the Book Festival can be found at:
01394 279783

Monday, 4 February 2013


A look at Ruth Dugdall's bookcase

Ruthdugdall2 Ruth Dugdall 2Here is a glimpse of Ruth Dugdall's bookshelves, beautifully ordered and full to the brim. Ruth is the author of The Woman Before Me, The Sacrificial Man and The James Version.
Ruth comments on her bookshelves:
My bookshelf covers the whole wall and it's still too small. Spines are ordered by colour, which might make you think I'm a bit OCD (which is true, but the colour idea was my husbands who only values books for their aesthetic as he doesn't read. When I met him I was impressed by his vast book collection, and by the time I found out he hadn't read any of them it was too late. But that's another story...)
As an English Literature graduate I have a lot of classics. It was a joy to cull these after I got the damned degree; Piers Plowman was the first on the fire, along with Gawain the Green Knight, though I later wished I'd kept the Homer.
My book collection is eclectic, with a strong leaning towards Canadian and American fiction. If I like an author I'll buy all their books, and these will be together (whatever colour the spine) and included in that list are Chuck Palahniuk, Margaret Atwood, Rose Tremain, Philippa Gregory and Josephine Hart. If I really like an author the books are hardback.
I also have a section for books that have helped with research. I have books on suicide and cannibalism, on deadly poisons and sado-masochism. I also have enough erotica to know that 50 Shades of Grey is a pale imitation (some of these books my husband has actually read...).
Finally, I have a shelf for my own novels, and they are propped alongside other significant things, like my name badge when I won the Debut Dagger, and the marzipan cake topper my mum made after I appeared on Woman's Hour. This shelf is a bit of an alter to never giving up!