The Writing Life of: Barbara Nadel

Barbara Nadel

This week on ‘The Writing Life of:‘ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Barbara Nadel. Barbara will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Incorruptible‘, which will be released on 28th June 2018, and answering a few fun questions too. Post contains affiliate links.

So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Barbara Nadel.

Barbara Nadel

Barbara Nadel is the author of the Cetin Ikmen crime fiction series set in Istanbul, the Hakim and Arnold series set in London and, as Mary Collins, she also writes East End sagas. An East Ender by birth, Barbara has a degree in psychology and lives in Essex with her husband and two cats. In 2005 she won the CWA Silver Dagger for her Ikmen book ‘Deadly Web’.

Interview 2020 Whispering Stories Image


1) As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be an Egyptologist. I had no idea how I was going to do this but I liked mummies.

2) Who were your favourite childhood authors?

Enid Blyton early on, also Edward Lear because his poetry was just mad. Later on I became obsessed with Dickens mainly Great Expectations.

3) At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t think there was an actual moment. I have always written and sort of wanted to be published for a long time.

4) How did you go about following that dream?

I left university with a degree in psychology and so I went to work in mental health hospitals and in the community. I was also a parent and so I had to have a job. The writing happened as a way of relaxing when the working day was over.

I only considered getting published when my husband was made redundant and we needed money. Of course no one was interested at that point and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. It was only some years later when I got an agent that things changed.

5) What is your writing day like? Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop for the day?

I work as if I were still doing a 9 to 5 job. So I’m at my desk at 9 and will finish at 5 on a typical day. However sometimes I have to give talks, attend meetings etc and so then time will have to be made up at weekends or in the evening.

Where Barbara Writes

Where Barbara Writes

6) Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I do write under a pseudonym.

7) Do you have any strange habits before starting, or whilst in the midst of writing?

I have conversations as my various characters. I may even act out scenes.

8) Do you write longhand, typewriter, or on a computer?

On the computer.

9) How many books have you written? Do you have any unpublished work?

31 and yes two are still waiting to be published.

10) Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Dedicated pantser.

11) Do you read all the reviews left for your book(s)?

Sometimes I read them and sometimes I don’t it depends how I feel. Bad reviews have happened and are inevitable. I read them when I’m feeling strong. I don’t often read Amazon reviews. I know I probably should but then there are many things I should probably do!


Concerning your latest book:

Incorruptable by Barbara Nadel

Inspector Ikmen Mysteries Book 20

Author – Barbara Nadel
Publisher – Headline
Pages – 336
Release Date – 28th June 2018
ISBN 13 – 978-1472234674
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio

Interview synopsis

In the backstreets of Istanbul, a young woman’s body is found. Dumped in a dustbin and covered in cut flowers, she is the victim of a frenzied and vicious stabbing.

Inspector Ikmen discovers that the woman was well known in Istanbul. Newspapers had been calling her the blessed woman; cured of cancer in a Christian miracle and a proclaimed messenger of the Virgin Mary. These controversial claims had made her fierce enemies in the predominantly Islamic community and she had unwittingly stirred up divisions amongst the Christians of the city.

But as Ikmen digs further into the case he uncovers powerful hatred and dark secrets lurking within her family. And to find the truth he must delve into a toxic world of fear, concealment and lies. The question is: was this a killing in the name of faith or does the answer lie somewhere else? buy link


12) How long did it take you to get from the idea’s stage to your date of publication?

Quite a long time, mainly because my publication date was changed from January 2018 to June 2018. Nothing to do with me, just my publishers schedule. I guess the idea for ‘Incorruptible’ came to me about two years ago when I was wandering about on Istanbul’s city walls. It was when I thought about what different meanings they have for the Greek and Turkish populations of the city.

13) How did you come up with the names for your characters?

The names of my detectives, Cetin Ikmen and Mehmet Suleyman, just came to me. I know that sounds a bit ‘mystical’ and woolly, but that is exactly what happened. Other characters like Kerim Gursel, Fatma Ikmen etc., arrive because the name fits my mental image of a person with that name – probably based loosely upon people I’ve met in the past.

14) Can you give us an insight into your main character(s) life?, What makes them tick?

What makes Ikmen tick is honesty. He’s that almost cliched character the honest copper. He plays a straight bat with the public he serves, his bosses and his family. He is brave in a way that I could never be and he always speaks his mind.

Mehmet Suleyman is more complex, but his basic motivation re his job is the same as Ikmen’s – if a bit more flexible on the honesty front from time to time.

15) Which was your hardest scene to write?

If I told you that I’d give the plot away!

16) How did you come up with the title of your book?

It has two meanings – one pertains to Ikmen himself and the other to one of the victims in the story. Again, I can tell you no more without giving too much away!

17) Did you get a family member/friend to read your work before sending to the publishers?

No. I never do. It’s just me and my editor.

18) What process did you go through to get your book published?

This is my 20th Ikmen book and so I was contracted to write it in the same way that I have been contracted to write the others.

19) What did you do once you had written the final word in your book?

Ran around the room dancing with my cats.

20) What’s next for you, writing-wise?

I’m currently working on the second book in my three book East End saga. Published by Piatkus, the Ten Bells Street saga is written under my other name, Mary Collins.


Interview 2019 duck image

1) What’s your favourite food?

Chocolate. I’m a hopeless addict.

2) If you had a box of crayons and you could only choose one, which colour would you choose?


3) What movie could you watch over and over again?

‘Topkapi’ set in Turkey and directed by Jules Dassin.

4) What would be the top song on your playlist?

‘The Lunatics have Taken Over the Asylum’ by Fun Boy Three. (This dates me!)

5) If you won millions, what would be your first purchase?

A plane ticket to Mexico City.

6) A talking duck walks into your room wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, what’s the first thing he says to you?

‘For God’s sake tidy up this dump!’


You can find out more about Barbara Nadel by visiting the website/social media sites below.



I would like to say a big thank you to Barbara Nadel for sharing with us details of her writing life, and for a wonderful interview.

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21 Responses

  1. Kiss Like a Girl says:

    Great interview! It’s always lovely getting to know a bit about the authors.

  2. DJ Sakata says:

    Your interviews are alway so much fun!

  3. Nicole says:

    Sounds like a thrilling novel. The author is new to me, and I will have to check out her 31 books! Thank you.

  4. Tasha says:

    Great interview. incorruptible sounds like it has a great plot.

  5. Stormi says:

    This is a new to me author. Great interview!

  6. Great interview!

  7. Belle says:

    Hahaha I absolutely love her answer to the duck question. Great interview!!

  8. Kathy West says:

    Awesome interview!

  9. Heidi says:

    I once wanted to be an Egyptologist too- like in 6th grade. LOL
    Chocolate is my jam too. I think I would get along with her ^_^

  10. Fizah Saeed says:

    Great Interview 🙂

  11. Thanks. I love finding out about authors lives and their process of writing.

  12. Thank you. I try to make them interesting.

  13. I know, I love the sound of the book.

  14. Thank you. Agree about the book.

  15. Thank you. Glad you liked it.

  16. Thank you. I think that’s what the duck would say in my house some days.

  17. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

  18. Egypt era has never been my thing. The mummies used to creep me out when I was a kid. Our local museum has a big Egyptian department and I used to avoid it – doesn’t bother me anymore. Oh I’m on very friendly terms with chocolate too 🙂

  19. Megan @ Ginger Mom and the Kindle Quest says:

    I always love your interviews! This is another new author to me so thanks for sharing 🙂