My lovely guest, Helen Hollick continues talking about how she turned to crime this last year!
Lockdown – almost a year of it as I write this article – has had a lot to answer for one way or another for many different people in many different ways. For writers it seems to have been an ‘either or’ circumstance. My writer friends have either not had the impetus or concentration to write, or haven’t been able to stop the words gushing from brain to keyboard via flying fingers.
For myself, I have found it difficult to concentrate on my main, pirate-based nautical adventure series of the Sea Witch Voyages. In part, this is because I am, sadly, disappointed with the publisher who has taken the books over – they have taken much longer than I expected to appear back in print, and there have been issues with incorrect formatting. It is a well known, but odd, thing for writers – it takes very, very little to knock our self-confidence. Being disappointed with the production process is a blow that can shatter the impetus to keep writing. Having said that, Jesamiah fans have no need to worry, he will be back produced under my own Taw River Press logo... but not just yet.
Lockdown, for myself and my family was not too much of a hardship as we live in North Devon in the middle of nowhere one mile outside a rural village. We also have thirteen acres of land so no problem with avoiding people whilst walking the dogs or exercising the horses. My mind, however, turned to writing articles and then I discovered the amusement of crime.
Murder, in fact.
Although I suppose I had better clarify: in fiction not reality!
I had become a huge fan of Debbie Young’s Sophie Sayers cosy mysteries
I had been considering writing a ‘Murder Mystery’ for some time, but ideas and actual writing are two different things aren’t they? I was rather missing Sophie and her friends, so I nurtured the seed of my own cosy mystery into a healthy growth by adding the angle of setting it in the 1970s and placed my main character, Jan Christopher, in a public library – because I had worked in a library for almost thirteen years from 1969, so I have quite a few anecdotes to use as ‘background story’.
In my historical and nautical novels I try to be as accurate as I can where research is concerned – get the facts wrong and an author soon has readers complaining on Amazon. But I found it just as hard to ensure I got things right for 1971 as I do when writing about my Captain Jesamiah Acorne’s adventures in 1719! Only fifty years ago we had no mobile phones, no personal computers, no internet! Most houses only had one TV (black and white – colour was only just coming into use) and one telephone, which in our case was a party line shared with a neighbour – so calls were far from private! (Ooh! Now there’s a good idea – a murder overheard!) Our phone was in the hall, near the front door, and I recall sitting on the stairs whispering to my boyfriend and hoping my parents couldn’t hear.I enjoyed ‘meeting’ my new characters; Jan, her love interest, DC Laurie Walker, her uncle and guardian DCI Toby Christopher, and her Aunt Madge. I am also looking forward with some great excitement, to discovering what adventures befall them all in future episodes of The Jan Christopher Mysteries. Book Two is already under way... A Mystery of Murder.
Amazon Author Page (Universal Link) http://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick
The first in a new series of cosy mysteries set in the 1970s... Will romance blossom between library assistant Jan Christopher and DC Laurie Walker – or will a brutal murder intervene?
Eighteen-year-old library assistant Jan Christopher’s life is to change on a rainy Friday evening in July 1971, when her legal guardian and uncle, DCI Toby Christopher, gives her a lift home after work. Driving the car, is her uncle’s new Detective Constable, Laurie Walker – and it is love at first sight for the young couple.
But romance is soon to take a back seat when a baby boy is taken from his pram, a naked man is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest, and an elderly lady is found, brutally murdered... Are the events related? How will they affect the staff and public of the local library where Jan works – and will a blossoming romance survive a police investigation into murder?
Helen and her family moved from north-east London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farmhouse through BBC TV’s popular Escape To The Country show.
First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages.
Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She also runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction. She is currently writing more Voyages for the Sea Witch series and the next in the Jan Christopher Mysteries series. She has other ideas for other tales – and would like the time to write them!
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If you missed Helen's first post, please click HERE
If you missed Helen's first post, please click HERE
If you missed Helen's 2nd post, please click HERE
As always, thank you for stopping by and please come back as Helen has more to tell. Yes, of course, there will be bubbly. Now you must return.
Until next time, I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your hear.