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
When an advent calendar is sent to a police station, no one takes any notice until a young DC opens it and discovers a murder behind each day. Instead of munching mince pies and winding down for the Christmas season, DC Greene and DS Carmine and their team find themselves looking for a murderer, who appears to be killing at random. With four more doors left on the calendar, there are four people who could be saved – if the police find the killer in time.
I am a self-confessed Scrooge and therefore a murder mystery set during “the most wonderful time of the year” made a great deal of sense to me. I almost empathised with the criminal! Actually, I did empathise with the killer but not because of their loathing of Christmas but because of their motive. I think Susi Holliday has managed to create a complex character in her murderer which is really refreshing. I often find the ‘bad guy’ a little two dimension in novels so it was great to read about a murderer with some depth.
I felt like Carmine and Greene (she what she did there?) were characters I knew even though this was their first outing. Holliday creates characters that confound the usual stereotypes.
The premise of ‘The Deaths of December’ is really original and I found the way it unfolded an interesting technique.
This is a well written festive tale with plenty of punch and a killer last line.
DCI Ryan may have been expecting a sedate summer with his fiancée in the run-up to their wedding, living within the grounds of Cragside, a spectacular Northumberland mansion surrounded by forests but where would the fun be in that?
Despite his misgivings, Ryan attends the staff summer party – a Victorian murder mystery evening – but when the lights go out and an elderly staff member is found dead, Ryan and his team must undertake a new case on his own doorstep.
Taking her DCI Ryan series in a slightly different direction, LJ Ross has written ‘Cragside‘ in a similar style to crime novels of the golden age but manages not to alienate readers of her past works: no mean feat. The ensemble cast of characters reminded me of a modern-day Poirot and I think a Bavarian-style mansion is one of the few contemporary settings where readers will believe you still have a butler, chauffeur, maid and a variety of other staff. Ross also uses facts about Cragside (as with all of her previous novels, this is a real place in the North-East) to strengthen her story.
LJ Ross skillfully builds up mystery alongside police procedural as well as romance, appealing to many readers. ‘Cragside‘ can be read as part of the ongoing DCI Ryan series or as a stand-alone – you will be able to read this without reading the previous ones although I highly recommend that you read the whole series.
Posted in Books, reviews
Tagged characters, crime, murder, mystery, North East, Northumberland, novels, Poirot, read, readers, reading