How Does Psychology Support Crime Fiction? – Emma Kavanagh

Emma Kavanagh author photoToday I’m thrilled to be the first stop on Emma Kavanagh’s blog tour for the release of the paperback of her rather fabulous crime book Falling. It is published by Arrow at £6.99

For the tour I asked her what she thought her background in psychology brought to writing Falling. This was what she said.



How my background in psychology helped me write Falling.

I have always described myself as an innate psychologist. I am fascinated by people, the way they think, the way their thinking affects their behaviours, and the way in which everything comes down to this mass of neurons and electrical impulses called a brain. Working as a police and military psychologist allowed me to explore the way in which people operate in extreme situations. Writing is simply an extension of that exploration.

I write about people. For me, the plot is driven by the people involved in it. I think that was pretty inevitable, given my background. Writing allows me to take a situation, something designed to push people to their absolute limits, and study it, play with how different people will react and what those reactions will mean to the rest of their lives.

Falling paperbackFalling follows the lives of 4 characters as they are faced with some of the most traumatic situations imaginable. I’m a big fan of this multiple point-of-view technique, because it allows me to take a situation and study it from all angles. You can have 4 people look at one incident and each one could tell you an entirely different story about it, because our understanding of what we see is so heavily influenced by our personalities, our past experiences and our fears. That is why eyewitness testimony can be so unreliable. We have too many internal influences affecting how we see an event. This fascinates me. What I wanted to achieve with Falling was to take the reader on a journey, ultimately allowing them to see how the lives of the characters have shaped their reactions to the horrors that they are forced to deal with.

What psychology has given me, and – I hope – what it has added to my writing, is the knowledge that none of us can be summed up by one event. Humans are a complex system made up of all that we have learned and all that we have seen, and, when life confronts us with tragedy, it is this complexity that can make us stumble or help us to survive.


I loved Falling and you can find my review of it Here.

You can follow Emma on the rest of her tour on the following blogs and see what else she’s discussing. I’ll certainly be dropping by.



15 thoughts on “How Does Psychology Support Crime Fiction? – Emma Kavanagh

  1. When I worked in a college library, I used to browse some of the – simpler – psychology books in my lunch hour. I completely agree that our history determines how we see, and react to, different events. Congratulations on the launch of your book, Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebecca – Thanks for hosting Emma.

    Emma – I couldn’t agree more. Humans are complex, and we are motivated by a number of factors, all of which affect us and may affect each other. So it’s little wonder your writing places so much emphasis on the characters. There’s so much there. I wish you success.


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