Today I am delighted to welcome author Claudia Carroll to The Love of a Good Book to share with us the inspiration behind All She Ever Wished For.
I’m often asked, ‘where do you get all your ideas from?’ And for All She Ever Wished For the answer, of all places, came from my life-long love of all thing court-related. I’ve always been a total sucker for any kind of a legal drama, you see. (I was nearly left bereft when I got to the end of The Good Wife on Netflix.)
Because there’s just something about a good, old-fashioned courtroom drama, isn’t there? It’s almost like there’s an inbuilt sense of tension already there – who’ll win, who’ll lose and more importantly, whose lying through their teeth?
Then I began to think about all of the super-high-profile court cases that you read about from time-to time. How they seem to just completely grip the public. Do you remember the Heather Mills/Paul McCartney case? Or more recently the Nigella/Charles Saatchi drama? It seemed like everywhere you went, people were talking about it and just about everyone seemed to have an opinion on who was guilty and who was innocent.
Coupled with all that, a long-running high-profile murder trial was ongoing here in Dublin in the Central Criminal Courts. It centered around a very well-to-do young architect – happily married with two kids – who was accused of brutally murdering a young, vulnerable woman who he’d met on a highly questionable website involving bondage and sadomasochism and all manner of boldness. Well, this case utterly gripped the nation for a few weeks; headline news everywhere you went and it seemed like you couldn’t get into the back of a taxi without being asked your opinion on it.
While I was researching All She Ever Wished For, I spent a lot of time at the Central Criminal Courts – a fascinating place, let me tell you. Like the best free drama going. Anyway, I used to get there early in the morning, about 7.30a.m., and couldn’t understand why there were always long queues patiently waiting to be admitted inside. Were this lot queuing for jury service, I naively wondered?
No, I was firmly told by the jury selection officer. The people queuing were actually in line for a seat in the public gallery at the architect’s murder trial. Ghoulish, I thought. Like the women you read about who sat around the guillotine in Revolutionary France and cackled as heads rolled. After all, guilty or innocent, these are real people with real lives – it’s not an episode of Judge Judy.
So then the idea came to me. What would it be like to be summoned as a juror to a super high-profile case? One that the whole country seems to be talking about and yet you as a juror, are expected not to have any opinion, other than based on what you hear in court? No going online, no talking about it, nothing.
And so the spark for All She Ever Wished For took hold and as soon as it did, somehow it wouldn’t let me alone…