Today Australian indie author, Maggi Andersen stops by during her book blog tour for her romantic suspense title: Murder in Devon. I featured my review of this book a couple of days ago (read it HERE) and gave it 4/5 stars.
Maggi Andersen and her lawyer husband are empty nesters, living in the country-side outside Sydney, Australia with the cat that rules them. She began writing adventure stories at age eight. Three children, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree later, her novels are still adventure stories, but are also passionate romances. Georgette Heyer among others, brought inspiration to her seductive Regencies and she also writes contemporary romantic suspense, darker, Victorian mysteries and young adult novels. She supports the RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals) and animals often feature in her books.
Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Jayne. As an Australian author published in England and America, I do most of book promoting on line, although I plan a trip to England next year to promote a new series. Time differences make some forms of promotion a challenge especially as I prefer not to work at night. I blog about interesting facts I’ve discovered while researching my books. As I write historical novels too, it’s mostly about historical events, society mores, fashions, architecture, interiors and art. That aside, my contemporary novels, most particularly Murder in Devon, required heaps of research too.
The plot for Murder in Devon came from the television coverage of a neo-Nazi rally in Europe, and the story grew from there, inspired by the best crime mysteries I’d read. My novel is a blend of police procedural, romantic suspense and murder mystery with references to fine art and the British art world. My influences as a young reader came from my mother’s art books, she was a painter, plus her love of Agatha Christie, and my father’s favourites, Frederick Forsyth, Alistair Maclean and Ken Follett. I went on to read contemporary crime and thriller writers such as Elizabeth George, Harlan Coben, Minette Walters and Nicci French.
Setting a murder mystery in another country was difficult. For example, I had to work out if it was possible for a suspect to get from point A to point B in time to commit the murder. The internet and maps help but have limited appeal because you need an understanding of what a place feels like: the look of a place; the smells; the sky; the sounds; the people. I needed to know how the British police system operated. I was fortunate to have a generous friend living in Richmond, Surrey who put me up on occasion. Apart from having a first class beta reader to discuss my work over a glass of wine, I got to know Richmond well, and it often features in my books.
Writing a murder mystery in itself requires planning: threading the red herrings into the plot, making it consistent and plausible and introducing and then debunking them at the right moment to keep the pace fast and the suspense running high. I also like to inject quiet periods into a story, to give a reader time to reflect. Something I look for myself when reading a book. Then there’s the romance, revealing that initial spark of attraction, and the conflict they face as their love develops throughout the novel.
I worked hard studying my craft for many years before I was published, completing a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing. And read a lot of books on writing. I found Elizabeth George’s WRITE AWAY – One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life, published by Hodder & Stoughton, helpful. According to George, a plotter par excellence, story is character, and she covers this well in her book. Another was Stephen King’s On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft. For those who don’t write, it still makes good reading.
GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED
If you reside in Australia you will have the option of a paperback or ebook copy. If you live outside Australia you will win an ebook. There will be ONE winner.
To enter, simply leave a comment at the end of this post with your email address and country/ state you reside in.
Entries close at midnight on Sunday 27th May, 2012.