Interview: Denise Mina – 'If you can laugh at yourself you'll never run out of material'

First & Last: Denise Mina

credit: Ollie Grove

Denise Mina on pavement cycling, tax returns and foul meals

The author, graphic novelist and broadcaster has just published her debut true crime novel, featuring Scottish serial killer Peter Manuel. Here she takes on our First & Last quiz.

First record you ever bought
'Blockbuster' by the Sweet.

Last extravagant purchase you made
Business class ticket to LA. Nice but I expected more free tea for that money TBH.

First film you saw that really moved you
Blazing Saddles. I could hardly laugh for awe at the sheer comic wonderment of it.

Last lie you told
I never lie.

First movie you ever went on a date to
Once Upon a Time in America.

Last time you cried
Watching Logan.

First thing you do when you've got time off work

Last great meal you cooked
A quiche with broad beans, ham and sour cream sprinkled with coarse mustard grains. It was foul.

First crush

Last book you read
Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby.

First great piece of advice you were given
If you can laugh at yourself you'll never run out of material.

Last time you were starstruck
Simon Farnaby at the GFT screening of Mindhorn.

First thing you'd do if you ran the country
Give the job to someone who knew what the fuck they were doing.

Last meal on earth
Toast and butter and a pint of milky tea.

First song you'll sing at karaoke
'Higher and Higher' by Jackie Wilson.

Last time you exploited your position to get something
I got an upgrade on a flight to New York because my awards ceremony outfit would crush if I couldn't hang it up.

First time you realised you were famous
Writers are never very famous. I've got friends who are actors and draw gasps and finger pointing wherever they go. Unless someone says your name it's hard to tell. It looks as if they have indigestion and are trying not to burp.

Last time someone criticised your work
The Long Drop is a true crime novel set in Glasgow so the feedback is incessant: there were no two bedroom flats on that side of the street, she had a limp, that pitch and toss school was a mile away …

First three words your friends would use to describe you
Greedy, busy, moany.

Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it

First concert you ever attended
Elvis Costello at Hammersmith Odeon.

Last time you bought someone flowers
Lilies for my auntie's birthday.

First object you'd save from your burning home

Last funny thing you saw online
Trump's tax return.

First job
Cafe cook (I couldn't).

Last person you fantasized about
Trump. It wasn't a sexual fantasy.

First word you spoke

Last crime you committed
Pavement cycling.

First book you read for a second time
Heart of a Dog by Bulgakov.

Last song at your funeral
'Disco Inferno'

First person you'd thank in an awards acceptance speech
I tend to blank up there, so anyone in my line of vision.

Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
'I'll never get to sleep now'.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
'If I get up now I can … '

The Long Drop is out now published by Harvill Secker.

Denise Mina

The popular Scottish crime writer and playwright talks about her work.

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