|Jill McGown, creator of Lloyd and
The crime-writing author of the Lloyd and Hill novels has been taught
by the master of suspense himself.
Unfortunately Morse creator Colin Dexter's classes for the schoolgirl
Jill McGown were in Latin!
"It wasn't until I had written my first novel and Colin
had moved to Oxford, that I discovered my old Latin master from
Corby Grammar School was a crime novelist," she recalls.
"I discovered that we shared the same publisher, Macmillan.
We even began with the same editor, the late Lord Hardinge of
Penshurst, the last of the gentleman publishers.
"Colin and I have been in touch since of course, and I've
followed in his footsteps thus far. Let's hope it's a good omen
for Lloyd & Hill!"
The creator of television's latest detective duo Lloyd and Hill
admits she has only a hazy picture of what her characters look
Jill admits she is more interested in the personalities of her
So it was with a sense of curiosity that she travelled to the
set of LLOYD & HILL to watch filming and meet Michelle Collins
and Philip Glenister.
"Obviously I knew what both actors looked like, so I was
interested in seeing things like how Judy Hill was dressed. By
coincidence she was wearing something similar to what I had on
Lloyd and Hill first saw the light of day in 1983 when they appeared
in Jill's first novel A Perfect Match.
Before becoming a full-time novelist, Argyll-born Jill had started
writing short stories while working for the British Steel Corporation
in Corby, where she has lived since she was ten.
"I had a story accepted by Radio 2, which, when it was read
by an actress, gained a whole new slant. I like having that done
with my work so I will be really interested to see a Lloyd and
Hill story on screen.
"Even though I have lived with Lloyd and Hill for 18 years,
I don't feel proprietorial about them."
Jill attributes her interest in crime fiction partly to her mother
- "a great crime novel reader" - and speaks of Agatha
Christie as one of her favourite authors.
"Even the stories I wrote at night after my day job tended
to have a twist ending."
But she saw the redundancy she took from BSC as an opportunity
to improve her writing.
"I knew that, with the redundancy money, I could afford
to write. I had written novels but they weren't finished because
I knew they weren't right."
Currently Jill has 11 Lloyd and Hill novels to her credit, with
the next one due for publication in the summer of 2002. And she
still continues the practice of writing in the evenings - and
during the night - that she began while holding down her BSC job.
Recalling her creation of the two police officers, Jill says
that Lloyd was the first to appear.
"I wanted him to be a Celt, but I thought to have made him
Scottish would have pigeon-holed him and at the time for political
reasons, I didn't want to have him come from Northern Ireland.
That's why he ended up being Welsh!"
"He's not bad-tempered but quick to fly off the handle,
which Judy Hill, who's very self-contained, finds upsetting."
Jill points out that when they first appeared in A Perfect Match,
the 30-year-old Lloyd was 10 years older than the probationer
"I joke now that they live on Stansfield time - the fictitious
town where the books are set - which is different to a normal
time-span. Over the 12 books, and 18 years, they've probably aged
about 10 years."
What do her loyal readers tell her about their appreciation of
"They like the relationship between Lloyd and Hill, saying
that they're the kind of people who could live next door or you
could invite round for dinner."