In the early 1960s, residents of Manchester, England were horrified by the sadistic murders of five local youth between the ages of 10 and 17. Known as The Moors Murders, the perpetrators of the crime spree—Myra Hindley and Ian Brady—showed absolutely no remorse for what they had done, nor did they serve up any explanation for why they targeted their particular victims. Upon conviction, the pair received consecutive life sentences rather than execution, the death penalty having been previously abolished. Author David Cooper revisits the scene of Hindley and Brady’s crimes in his new release, The Devil Knows.
Interviewer: Christina Hamlett
Q: Every author’s journey starts in a different place. Did you always know this is what you wanted to do for a career or did inspiration strike during the course of making a living doing something else?
A: I became interested in becoming an author after I interviewed a soap opera star and the interview was published in a national women’s magazine.
Q: Were you a voracious reader as a child?
Q: What are some of the titles we might have found on the nightstand of your 10-year old self? As a teenager? As an adult?
A: As a teenager, The History of Mr. Polly. As an adult, Misery.
Q: Who are some of the authors you feel have had the greatest influence on your own voice as an author?
A: Stephen King
Q: What attracted you to the true crime genre?
A: I remember the Moors murders very well. I was the same age as their last victim at the time.
Q: So tell us what inspired you to pen a book about a pair of such heinous, unrepentant serial killers.
A: I thought that a story about their relationship would make good reading to give readers an idea of what made them what they turned out to be.
Q: How did you structure your research (i.e., interviews, newspaper accounts, etc.)?
A: I was in touch with Ian Brady and I researched internet and newspaper archives.
Q: As the story began to unfold, did you find yourself coming up with theories of your own on what drove Ian and Myra to commit such terrible crimes against children?
A: I got very involved with the story while I was writing it and my personal theory was that their past personal lives drove them to commit these crimes.
Q: How long did it take you from start to finish?
A: About 15 months.
Q: Do you allow anyone to read your works-in-progress or do you make them wait until you have typed “The End”?
A: I allow one friend to read my works-in-progress.
Q: Like many of today’s authors, you chose to go the route of self-publishing. What governed that decision for you?
A: One can get a book published much quicker by self-publishing.
Q: What did you learn about this DIY process that you didn’t know when you started?
A: To be honest with you, I didn’t realise it was so easy.
Q: What are you doing to market your work?
A: I am a member of lots of Facebook groups, so I market a lot that way and on other social media.
Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A: I find it adventurous.
Q: What is a typical writing day like for you? And do you write every day?
A: A typical writing day is mainly doing research and yes, I try to write something every day.
Q: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A: A dog. I love dogs and have three.
Q: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A: Yes, every one. I’m very pleased when I receive good ones, of course. As far as the bad ones, well, I can’t please everybody.
Q: Who is the most famous person you have ever met? Did reality match expectation?
A: I met Ginger Rogers. I never expected her to be like she was. She was a very nice lady. I didn’t expect a Hollywood legend to appear like a normal person in real life.
Q: Let’s say you could invite three famous people (living or dead) to a small dinner party you were hosting. Who would make the guest list and what would you most like to ask them over the course of the evening?
A: Mother Teresa. I’d ask her why she chose to become a nun.
J.K Rowling. I’d ask her what the secret is to her success.
Pope John Paul II. I’d ask him what he and Mother Teresa had in common.
Q: What would readers be the most surprised to learn about you?
A: I was a very good friend of a child killer’s wife.
Q: What’s next on your plate?
A: I’m finishing my series about a paranormal investigator, then I’m writing another true crime book about the Cannock Chase murders.
Q: Where can readers learn more about you?
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Yes. Thank you for taking the time to interview me.