I’m here to introduce readers of the blog to writer to David Ahern, author of the Madam Tulip Mysteries. I hope you enjoy learning about David and his work and find some of his advice helpful.
Thanks to David for sparing some time to chat to us.
Tell us about your books.
The Madam Tulip Mysteries follow a young actress who moonlights as a fortune teller at celebrity events. Fortune tellers get told the most surprising things. But where you have money and secrets you’ll soon have trouble and crime.
What inspired them?
Actors are wonderful people, dedicated to their art but who have a hard time making a living. What do you do to pay the rent if you act and you’re a teeny bit psychic?
Where do you get your ideas from?
Staring into space, mostly. If I stare for long enough, ideas will come just so I can get something to eat.
Do you have a favourite story / character / scene you’ve written?
All of the Madam Tulip books have hilarious scenes between Derry’s divorced parents, her Irish artist father and her stupendously successful American art dealer mother. Readers love them, and I do too.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Both. A bit of plotting and bit of pantsing. I write character-driven stories, so I have to let the characters take me where they want to go. On the other hand, a mystery has to be cleverly put together, so you need to plan.
Can you read when you’re working on a piece of writing?
Not fiction, but I devour non-fiction.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given and who it was from?
My mother (who is a wonderful actress and writer) said: ‘Apply seat of pants to seat of chair.’ It works.
What can readers expect from your books?
The most believable heroine out there, lots of laughs and page-turning tension.
Have you got any advice for aspiring writers?
Learn to punctuate fluently. You won’t believe the freedom it will give you.
What do you like and dislike about writing?
Love making myself laugh out loud (or blub). Hate being stuck at a desk.
Are you writing anything at the moment?
Madam Tulip Book #4.
What’s your favourite writing-related moment?
Seeing the galley proof for the first time.
Posted in Getting to Know..., Writing
Tagged book, Books, character, characters, crime, fiction, ideas, mysteries, mystery, non-fiction, novel, plotting, read, readers, stories, story, write, writer, writing
For many people, including me, a stand-out read of 2017 was ‘Lost For Words‘ by Stephanie Butland so it was with excitable trepidation that I began reading ‘The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae‘.
I needn’t have worried. Stephanie’s latest novel surpassed my expectations – I did not want to stop reading this heart-warming tale of Ailsa Rae, a young woman who, following a lifetime of illness, has to learn a new way of navigating her way through the world while struggling with grief and survivor’s guilt.
Once again, Stephanie Butland has created inimitable characters that I’d happily be friends with. One of Butland’s skills is to make her characters rounded, creating light and shade in both the narrative and within the characters.
Ailsa, in particular, seems completely real to me. After suffering from a heart condition since birth, Ailsa finally undergoes a heart transplant and afterwards feels somewhat lost – her identity no longer revolves around being ill, but she’s not sure what it should revolved around. Despite her apparently hard exterior, it was lovely to peel back Ailsa’s layers and see a more vulnerable side to her. Stephanie Butland really seems to have a talent for creating seemingly tough characters with soft centres.
It was easy for me to fall into this story, I was totally invested in the characters – Seb was particularly appealing to me. The once-close relationship between Ailsa and her mum is portrayed sensitively and realistically as both mother and daughter struggle to come to terms with their new roles.
I felt that having a novel revolving around organ donation was a bold move and it absolutely works. The amount of research undertaken by Butland shows but it’s the human element of this story that makes it utterly compelling.
Although it’s an enjoyable read, ‘The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae‘ has a very important message behind it – the incredible difference organ donation can make to someone when your organs are no longer of use to you.
Posted in Books, reviews, Writing
Tagged book, Books, character, characters, illness, narrative, novel, read, reading, stories, story, writer, writes, writing