Anna Smith. :: SUR
Betrayed is the fourth book in the series about crime reporter Rosie Gilmour, which is at number two in the Kindle Crime best-sellers
It was in the streets of Glasgow that Anna Smith first cut her teeth as a newspaper reporter.
From the age of 18 the Scot climbed the ranks of the local newspapers before landing a job at the Daily Record - where she was Chief Reporter for ten years.
During this time she covered major stories and investigations around the world on subjects including drug trafficking, gangsters and dodgy businessmen.
But in 2003 she left her roving reporter role to write fiction full time and has since become a published crime author.
Now Anna, who is currently living in La Cala de Mijas, is celebrating after she launched her latest book in the Costa del Sol town earlier this month with a book signing.
Titled ‘Betrayed’, the book is about the Ulster Volunteer Force in Glasgow, smuggling cocaine into the country on Rangers supporters buses as they go to Champions League matches.
“The idea from the book came from a lifetime at the front line in daily newspapers,” said the 56-year-old.
“I covered major stories and investigations worldwide. I actually looked at the story of cocaine smuggling and football buses a few years ago, but didn’t get far enough into it. Plus there was a famous Glasgow court case where gangsters were smuggling drugs in on buses that were taking teenagers to football tournaments on the Costa del Sol. So I’ve used my imagination, and, I hope, produced a pacey thriller with some memorable characters.”
The novel, which is the fourth in the series, is set in Glasgow, Seville and Holland.
Anna, who grew up in Lanarkshire, Scotland, told SUR in English: “I set a lot of it in Seville. This didn’t require too much research for the backdrop, as I know Seville very well, having spent a month working there back in my Daily Record days.
“I fell in love with the city, so I’m able to describe it quite vividly in the book. But I had to research some details re policing and how the system works, and I have friends who assist me with that and answer all my questions.”
As a journalist, Anna said she always wanted to write novels, but her career got in the way.
She explained: “But during that time I gained a wealth of experience and stories, from wars and refugee camps to major investigations, and I’ve used those experiences for my writing.
“I always wanted to create a gritty journalist character - which is what I did with Rosie. She is based a lot on my own life.
“My inspiration comes from the characters I encountered over the years - from the drug dealers, to the victims and the families of victims, to the dodgy lawyers, gangsters and businessmen.”
As for where she likes to do her writing, Anna spends a month or two on the Costa del Sol each year.
She said: “It is so easy to have the (writing) routine built around the morning stroll on the beach and just writing on the terrace. I find Spain very inspirational.
“When I’m here, I rent in La Cala de Mijas, as I love the village and its accessibility to everywhere. It’s a great place to write and I also have some good friends here. Most of my writing is done on the terrace in the afternoons and into the evening. My apartment is on the beach so it is a wonderful place to be. In fact, last week, I started book five in the series, and I actually took my laptop onto the beach, sat in my bikini and opened the first page, with the waves crashing in. It was a great moment for me. Carlsberg don’t do Mondays...but if they did...”
As for anyone planning to write their own novel, Anna has some advice.
“Write it. Don’t sit on it for years, because time goes so fast,” she said.
“The only way to do it is sit down and write - even a few hundred words a day to formulate a story and get to know the characters. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience to become absorbed in your imagination, and to create a story where characters become so real to you.”