Ann Cleeves, author of 'The Long Call' - 'Vera' and 'Shetland' writer talks about the urge to tell stories, learning by living and never plotting

Ann Cleeves is a hugely prolific author - she once wrote a book a year for 30 years, and still publishes more or less every 12 months. We talk about that writing year - when she comes up with ideas, starts working on them and finally hands in the first draft.

She has written 8 'Vera Stanhope' books, a character that went on to be played by Brenda Blethyn in a TV series. Also, she's published many 'Shetland' stories, a series which came to an end recently - and we discuss why. Her new book is 'The Long Call'. Set in Devon, it's the start of a brand new series introducing Matthew Venn - we talk about the initial idea for the book, why she set it in Devon and other points about how she told the story.

Anne was born in Hertfordshire, raised in North Devon, lived in London, Merseyside, Scotland, and we chat about how her nomadic life has influenced the way she tells stories.

To take advantage of our offer - if you're in the USA, you can get 3 months of audiobooks for the price of one, by joining, and using the code ROUTINE when you check out.

ALSO - please support us on if you can, it's Christmas after all x


For information regarding your data privacy, visit

More from Writer's Routine

  1. 40:46An Yu, writer of 'Braised Pork' - Hyped debut author on discovering characters, trying to tame creativity, and nocturnal Beijing.Feb 21, 2020
  2. 42:05Lucy Foley, author of 'The Guest List' - Mystery author on twisting the whodunnit, the beauty and benefit of overwriting, and why she loves chaosFeb 14, 2020
  3. 40:33BA Paris, author of 'The Dilemma' - Managing to structure your pantsing, forgetting the word count, and the urge to tell stories.Feb 07, 2020
  4. 40:53Caroline Scott, author of 'The Photographer of the Lost' - Avoiding cliches from the past, bringing the Great War to life, and why editing is where things really come alive.Jan 31, 2020
  5. 53:35Paul French, author of 'Murders of Old China' - Writer of brand new Audible series talks finding clues in the past, writing for audio, and knowing how to research.Jan 24, 2020
  6. 46:28Hugh Montgomery, author of 'Control' - Professor talks making time to write, what makes you creative, and the joy of trying something new.Jan 17, 2020
  7. 21:04Mason Currey, author of 'Daily Rituals: Women at Work' - On perfecting the writing day, knowing where to start research, and some of the most interesting routines from history.Jan 14, 2020
  8. 43:33Amy Heydenrych, author of 'The Pact' - Crime author talks brooding over stories, analysing her work, and breaking her own rules.Jan 10, 2020
  9. 44:36Ann Cleeves, author of 'The Long Call' - 'Vera' and 'Shetland' writer talks about the urge to tell stories, learning by living and never plottingDec 13, 2019
  10. 43:43Chris Hammer, author of award-winning 'Scrublands' - Winner of 'New Blood Dagger Award' talks writing anywhere, nuanced characters and learning from journalism.Dec 06, 2019