Val McDermid

Val McDermid is an award-winning and best-selling crime novelist. To date she has written twenty-two books. One of her series was turned into the TV drama, Wire in the Blood, and it has run for six seasons. Originally from Scotland, Val now lives in the North of England.
How did you start playing bridge?
My parents used to play Solo and I loved to watch, so I had an early grasp of the idea of making a contract. I got roped in by friends when I was at university, but it was just social kitchen-bridge stuff.
How often do you play?
Sometimes two or three times a month, sometimes not at all. It depends on how busy I am and how much I am away from home.
How did you get involved with the Sky Arts TV Bridge: Celebrity Grand Slam programme?
At the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival every year, we have a flexible bridge game with people dropping in and out. Hugh Dehn (the producer of the TV series) had a friend in publishing who knew about our criminal play!
Has it had an effect on your bridge since?
Yes, I learned quite a bit from the experts. It was really encouraging to feel I’m still capable of learning new tricks. Of course, my friends have been teasing me mercilessly ever since. Every time I make a mistake, it’s: ‘Ooh, what would Clive Anderson say?’
What does bridge mean to you?
I am normally a very competitive person but bridge is the only area of my life where I genuinely don’t care if I win or lose.I love the cut and thrust of the play and the stimulus of the game.