Louise Candlish was credited with creating a new genre of ‘property noir’ with Our House and Those People, and now brings murder to the river commute in her latest novel The Other Passenger. She tells us about her writing schedule, books and authors she admires, and a never-ending TBR pile.

Where are you now?

At home in South London, on the sofa.

Where and when do you do most of your writing?

Right here. To the casual observer, it all looks very lazy, even louche, but I’m actually thinking and working quite hard.

If you have one, what is your pre-writing ritual?

I make a flat white using my prized bean-to-cup coffee machine.

Full-time or part-time?


Pen or keyboard?


How do you relax when you’re writing?

I can only clear my mind by doing something physically strenuous. I love the outdoors, especially walking. A proper hike somewhere out of London is the dream – I recently joined the Ramblers, they are a force to be reckoned with – but a lap of my local park with the dog is more typical.

How would you pitch your latest book in up to 25 words?

Commuter noir set on the Thames river buses. Manipulative millennial femme fatale upends life of complacent Gen-Xer – think Double Indemnity with generational conflict.

Who do you write for?

Everyone – except perhaps those who can’t abide profanity.

Who do you share your work in progress with?

Agent and editors, no one else.

Which literary character do you wish you created?

Bertie Wooster (I did name my dog after him, though).

I’d love to see what Tom Wolfe’s 1980s grotesques make of the brutal and unforgiving world of 2020. I imagine they’ll want to go back.”

Share with us your favourite line/s of dialogue, poetry or prose.

“‘I have been here before,’ I said; I had been there before; first with Sebastian more than twenty years ago on a cloudless day in June, when the ditches were creamy with meadowsweet and the air heavy with all the scents of summer.”
Brideshead Revisited

Which book do you wish you’d written?

Madame Bovary.

Which book/s have you most recently read and enjoyed?

All the shortlisted titles in this year’s British Book Awards Crime & Thriller category for which I was a judge. The winner, My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is one of my most enjoyable reads of the last ten years. It’s shocking, poetic and comic in one.

What’s on your bedside table or e-reader?

I have about a thousand psychological thrillers, all needing advance quotes. My quotes sometimes come after publication, I’m so slow!

Which books do you feel you ought to have read but haven’t yet?

The ones that I know are wonderful and that I may even have started but got distracted before I could get absorbed. The Elena Ferrante Neapolitan novels spring to mind.

Which book/s do you treasure the most?

Anything I’ve been able to persuade my teenage daughter to read. I long to discuss books with her, but she’s just not that into fiction. Recently, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was a rare overlapper – we both loved it.

What is the last work you read in translation?

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata.

Which story collections would you particularly recommend?

Not After Midnight and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier. Insane to think that Don’t Look Now was not even the lead story when the collection was first published in the UK.

What will you read next?

Something from the aforementioned tower of psych thrillers!

What are you working on next?

A new novel about a couple avenging a terrible family tragedy. In the opening scene, the narrator is shocked to look out of the window and see standing on the roof of the building opposite a man who she had every reason to believe was dead.

Imagine you’re the host of a literary supper, who would your dinner guests be (living or dead, real or fictional)?

I’d have the main characters from The Bonfire of the Vanities. I’d love to see what Tom Wolfe’s 1980s grotesques make of the brutal and unforgiving world of 2020. I imagine they’ll want to go back.

If you weren’t writing you’d be…?

Retiring with my TBR pile, a great wine cellar and a couple of Labradors to some pine-fringed coastal hideaway in France or Italy.


Louise Candlish was born in Hexham, Northumberland, grew up in Northampton and studied English at University College London. She is the author of fourteen novels including Our House, a No.1 bestseller in 2018 and winner of the Crime & Thriller Book of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards. The Other Passenger is published in hardback, eBook and audio download by Simon & Schuster. Our House and Those People are now in paperback.
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Author portrait © Jonny Ring

“I’ve never, ever set out to create a likeable character, I wouldn’t know how.”
Read Karin Salvalaggio’s interview with Louise