Interview with KT Medina, author of White Crocodile

02 Sep 2015
Tell us a little bit about your new release, White Crocodile.

My debut thriller, White Crocodile, is set in the killing fields of the beautiful, but dark and tragic country Cambodia.
In Battambang, Cambodia, danger is not just confined to the lethal minefields. Young mothers are being abducted from villages around the minefields, while others are being found gruesomely mutilated and murdered, their abandoned babies by their side. And in this superstitious society people live in fear of the white crocodile, a creature that brings death to all who meet it.

Back in England, emotionally damaged mine-clearer, Tess Hardy, has found the strength to leave her abusive husband, Luke. Then she receives a call from Cambodia where Luke is working and Tess realizes that he has changed. But there is no opportunity for them to be reconciled because, two weeks later, he is dead. Despite her better judgement, Tess travels to the killing fields of Cambodia to find out what has happened to him. What she uncovers in her search for the truth is far more terrifying and globally wide ranging than she could ever have anticipated – a web of secrets and lies stretching from Cambodia to another murder in England and a violent secret twenty years old.

White Crocodile has received universally great reviews in the paper, magazine and online press and on Amazon, which is wonderful, particularly as it is my first novel and I had no idea what to expect!

Which book from your childhood or teenage years has stuck with you as an adult?

I have always loved to read and write, and much of my childhood was spent immersed in stories. The book that really captured my imagination as a child, and that I have re-read a number of times since is Lord of the Flies. It was the debut novel of Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding, published in 1954. Lord of the Flies is about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results. It is a classic, challenging, incredibly well written and thoughtful novel.

What is the one movie that you can quote the most?

It has to be Dirty Harry. “Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

What are you currently craving?

It is eight o’clock at night as I write this, I’ve just put my children to bed and I’m currently craving a very cold glass of Californian sauvignon!

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

As I mentioned before, I love to read and write, so a rainy day would have to include time spent lost in a great crime novel or thriller, plus some more time writing my own. I live in London, but spend as much time as I can in the country or by the sea, so after a morning spent reading and writing, I would probably go for lunch with my husband and three children in one of our quaint English country pubs and then put on some wellingtons and a waterproof jacket and go for a walk.

What’s on your writing desk?

I am not a tidy person – something the Army tried and failed to knock out of me – and so my workspace is a litter of paper and post-it notes. I spend a couple of months laying out a detailed plot on the wall above my desk with post-it notes before I start writing. In addition to my post-it note map – above the desk – I have my Apple computer, the obligatory cup of coffee, a bottle of water and a notebook that I use to write down any ideas that occur to me, either when I’m writing or when I’m out and about.

What’s your favorite quote from White Crocodile?

My favourite quote is probably where the heroine Tess and the mysterious Croatian mine clearer, Alex Bauer, are sitting by the Mekong River one night, talking. They are clearly attracted to one another, but Tess still hasn’t found out who or what the ‘white crocodile’ is, the body count is mounting up and she doesn’t trust Alex one bit:

“Buddhists believe that everyone has an aura.” Tess heard Alex say. “The colour that your body exudes which tells everyone what kind of a person they are. Blue is happy, pink is loving.” He twisted a lock of her hair around his fingers. “Red is passionate.” Jamming her eyes shut to block him out, she tugged it out of his grasp and smoothed it down with exaggerated care. “Red is for ‘Danger!! Mines!!’ signs. Red is for blood.”

Do you have a favorite local bookstore we can give a shoutout to?

I live in Wimbledon, very close to the Wimbledon tennis courts and we have a lovely local bookshop in the Village called Wimbledon Books and Music. They were very supportive when White Crocodile first launched in the UK, giving it pride of place on their shelves and telling all their customers what a fantastic thriller it is, so I owe them a lot for all their support.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

The philosophy that I live by is to persevere, or as Albert Einstein put it:

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

KT Medina is the author of the new book White Crocodile.

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