Author Glenda Young explains why Scarborough is the perfect setting for her cosy crime books - don't miss her talk at the library
Author Glenda Young has loved Scarborough since she was a child and was brought to the resort with her two brothers for family holidays.
While other writers headed to warmer and more exotic climes in the name of research, Glenda visited the town.
She and her husband Barry have rented an apartment in the Sands where she writes – and they married 10 years ago at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
“Scarborough is unapologetic, it is fun. You come to Scarborough and you cannot help but have fun. There is the miniature railway, the funicular and gorgeous beaches – why would you want to go anywhere else?” said Glenda.
The first of a series of three cosy crime novels – Murder at the Seaview Hotel – is set in Scarborough.
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It sees the landlady Helen Dexter investigate when one of her guests of 12 Elvises is killed.
“Helen is an amalgamation of every landlady I have ever met – and the same goes for the Seaview. It has got bits of every guest house and hotel – especially in Scarborough – I have stayed at.”
Glenda is working on the second book in the series – Curtain Call – now and it is set in a thinly-veiled The Futurist on the seafront.
A group of actors are staying at the Seaview rehearsing for a play that could save the Modernist. Then the leading lady is murdered and Helen and her friends, cleaner Sally, chef Jean and the glamorous Marie swing into action.
Glenda was born and bred in Ryhope, a coastal mining village on the outskirts of Sunderland.
“I have always written stories and poems. I grew up on a council estate in the 1970s and it wasn’t possible to think I could be a writer. It was never something I could aspire to – it was not on my radar,” she said.
In her 30s she took a degree in journalism at Sunderland University. “The only reason I did it was because it included modules in creative writing.”
As part of the course, she worked in the press office of Coronation Street – she was already a fan of the soap.
She was asked to contribute to its website and official books. When Anne Kirkbride died, Glenda was asked to write the official book of her character Deirdre Barlow.
“I thought ‘I have done that book and done the research, let’s try fiction,” said Glenda.
She started writing short stories for women’s magazines and was commissioned to write the first weekly soap opera for People’s Friend. Riverside is now in its sixth year.
The soap brought her to the attention of an agent who got her a three-book deal to write historical sagas set in Ryhope at the end of World War One.
After five chapters of the first saga three publishing houses were bidding for Glenda’s work. Headline publish both her sagas and cosy crime.
By this time Glenda, who lives in Sunderland, had given up her job as a university administrator to concentrate on writing full time.
“I used to go to work and do a good job but my mind was always making things up and watching people and making notes of their mannerisms and dialogue.”
She now mixes writing her historical sagas with her cosy crime series. Her book The Girl With The Scarlet Ribbon is set partly in Ryhope and Scarborough. The Seaview series was born out of Glenda finding she had time on her hands during the first lockdown in March 2020. She suggested she write two historical sagas and one cosy crime.
Glenda will be talking about her work at Scarborough Library, Vernon Road, on Thursday January 13 at 6pm.