It's that time of the year again for those of us in northern climates. Time to curl up with a soft blanket and a great mystery. Today's guest, author Faith Mortimer, talks about her mystery books, writing romance, and how she finds inspiration. This is Part I of a two-part series.
Here's a bit about Faith, in her own words:
"I'm a British author dividing my time between Hampshire, UK & Cyprus. Since 2005 I have been fortunate enough to turn my hobby of writing into a career. During childhood, I dreamt of writing novels which readers would love, and I spent many hours writing short stories which I subsequently read to my younger sisters (probably under pressure!). I was born in Manchester, England & educated in Singapore, Malaya & Hampshire, England."
J.P.: With over 12 books under your belt, you have a lot of experience in how to write a captivating story. Can you talk a little bit about your writing process (coming up with ideas, fleshing them out, the actual writing of the book) and if it's gotten easier over time?
Faith: With my Mystery Suspense novels; both The Diana Rivers Mystery Series and The Dark Mind Series, although murder is 100% employed, I do not dwell on too many graphical images. I prefer my readers to envisage for themselves how bloody or scary the scene is. The mind is a wonderful thing. Of course I mention how the victim meets their death, and there will be some descriptive prose, but I do not dwell on the subject. I believe there is too much gore written and photographed today.
My other writing love is romance, and all the books in the ‘Affair’ series can be read in any order. I must point out that I don’t write chick-lit, rather more women’s’ fiction, which has dramatic, edgy overtones and suspense as well as pure romance. Saying that I do have a good male following among my readership too! Two further novels, The Seeds of Time and Harvest as well as being romantic also feature WW2 and action/adventure.
My ideas come from everywhere! There is always something going on in my mind…and I listen (eavesdrop) unashamedly on other peoples’ conversations! I can be going up in an elevator, or sitting in a café or at a party. People are generally interesting and snippets or a sentence I overhear gets my brain working overtime.
The gist of a new story comes from a simple idea and I jot an opening scene. I flesh that out, until I have a few chapters written down. As I become more involved with the story I dream up my characters and make notes, adding more description as I go along – and changing things to add to and suit the story. I generally have a very basic outline of a novel, but rarely have a complete ending. I frequently change scenes and characters as the project grows and becomes more alive. I rarely suffer writer’s block because I usually have more than one idea going on at a time. If I find I’m getting ‘stale’ I go and do something else for an hour or so…painting or walking is great for clearing a muzzy head and often doing something energetic freshens the mind for writing another few thousand words!
J.P.: Do you have a favorite out of the books you've written? If so, which one and why?
Faith: This is the most difficult question – and I’m often asked it. My first book The Crossing– (The Seeds of Time and Harvest) took me ages to write. It was a real labour of love and a huge learning curve, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I also enjoyed writing my first Diana Rivers Mystery Suspense novel, The Assassins’ Village, probably because I could include all the research I did for the setting (Cyprus) and the history is fascinating.
Children of the Plantation was also wonderful to write…then out of my romances I really enjoyed A Very French Affair and my latest A Very English Affair. Neither is ‘chick-lit’ in the true sense and both are real tear-jerkers! Edgy full of suspense and the endings are not what you’d expect.
We'll continue with Part II of Faith's interview soon ...
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