Life Ruins 
Book Blurb

In a small northern town, girls are disappearing.

 You won’t see it in the papers and the police aren’t taking any notice, but the clues are there if you know where to look.

 Becca sees that something is wrong, but she’s been labelled ‘difficult’ thanks to her troubled past. So when a girl is so savagely beaten she can’t be identified, and Becca claims she knows who she is, no one will believe her.

 With the police refusing to listen, Becca digs for evidence that will prove what she is saying. But her search for justice will put herself and those closest to her in danger – and once she finds the truth, will anyone even listen?


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Author Interview

1.     What would you consider to be your Kryptonite as an author?
    That moment, about a third of the way into a new book when the plot I thought I was writing sort of twists and shakes itself, and I realise it doesn’t work. I then read everything again, decide it’s total dreck, and find it hard to write another word. I have to, and press on, and eventually I get past that point, but there’s always an awful moment of self-doubt when writing a book that can smother your creativity.

2.    If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep writing, keep reading, keep trying.

3. What book do you feel is under-appreciated? How about overrated?
I thought for years The Phantom Toll Booth by Norton Juster was a very under-recognised book. I now see that there have always been loads of fans and it had almost cult status. It’s a book I loved, my son loved and now my granddaughters are enjoying.

I’m not sure about over-rated books. There are certainly widely praised and very successful books that I don’t much like, but that means they’re not my kind of thing, not that they’re bad books.

 4. Favorite childhood memory involving books?
Going to my grandmother’s where she had a complete selection of the William books by Richmal Crompton, and knowing I could vanish for as long as I wanted with a pile of books and read to my heart’s content.

5. If you could dine with any literary character, who would it be and why?
Hilary Mantel’s realization of Thomas Cromwell. I don’t know how close she is to the real, historical man, but the character she’s created is compelling.

6. What fantastical fictional world would you want to live in (if any) given the chance?
A cliché, I know, but I have a real soft spot for Middle Earth.

7. Did you want to be an author when you grew up?
From as early as I can remember. I always loved telling stories.

 8. What’s one movie you like recommending to others?
Galaxy Quest for something feel-good and fun (and well-acted and produced); Kanal for something to break your heart.

9. If you could own any animal as a pet, what would it be?
I’ll stick with dogs – I love my dogs (but I’ve always had a bit of a yen for a tarantula)

10. Have you ever met anyone famous?
A lot of well-known writers, which is always exciting. Other than that, no, unless you want to include an encounter with Peter Sutcliffe in the days before he started his killing spree. I tell that story in ‘The Stranger in the Square’, in the collection The Best New True Crime Stories: Serial Killers, edited by Mitzi Szereto

 11.     What is the first book that made you cry?
Black Beauty by Anne Sewell

12.    How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
At least a year. I’m not a fast writer.

13.    How do you select the names of your characters?
I play around with names as I walk them round the stage of the book. I can sort of tell when the name ‘fits’

14. What’s one thing you’d like to say to your readers?
If you like a book – write a review for Amazon and Goodreads (and any other review sites you like). It’s massively helpful to authors to get Amazon reviews.


Danuta Kot (who also writes as Danuta Reah and as Carla Banks) grew up with stories. Her Irish mother and her Polish father kept their own cultures alive with traditional tales they shared with their children. For many years, she worked with young people in Yorkshire who were growing up in the aftermath of sudden industrial decline. She uses this background in her books to explore some of the issues that confront modern, urban society: poverty, alienation and social breakdown, using the contexts of the modern crime novel. She now works as a senior education consultant, work that involves travel to establish education and training in other parts of the world. She is a regular academic speaker at conferences and literary festivals and has appeared on radio and television.

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