Delighted to welcome author Carol Hedges back on my blog for a Q&A author spot.
Over to Carol…
The last book I read:
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ~ I have taught it to Al level students, but the recent TV series inspired me to re-read it. It is such a prescient work, even though she wrote it in 1985. The resonances between Gilead and the path the UK (and the US) is currently treading are set out in clear detail. We, too are sleepwalking into Gilead. We, too ‘did not look up from our phones until it was too late’. I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood ~ I like Cats Eye too.
The book I’m currently reading:
Origin by Dan Brown. I can hear the howls of outrage from here. Hold on. Brown isn’t one of the global best selling writers without a reason. I have read all of his books now, and they have taught me so much about how to create pace and tension. He uses different narrators and stories, interweaving them to keep the reader on their toes.He inter-cuts with descriptions of places or historical facts. I think I subconsciously transfer many of his devices to how I write. … and I hope my books are none the worse for it.
The book I couldn’t finish;
Bring up the dead bodies by Hilary Mantel. I wanted to like it. I did. After all, we both write historical fiction, and she writes in present tense, but I just couldn’t get into her prose style. 20 pages in and I abandoned it.
The book I wish I’d written
Love of Stones by Tobias Hill. It’s set in the 1840s, and the modern era and follows the journey of a precious jewel, the Three Brothers from its making to its ultimate destruction. Hill is a poet, and his way with words and phrases has me gasping for breath. He isn’t a ‘well known’ writer and seems to maintain a low profile, but I love all his books.
The book I go back to time and time again
Archangel, by Robert Harris. It is a ‘what if’ story, based around the premise that Stalin might have fathered a secret son. The descriptions of the icy wastes of Russia and the taut, claustrophobic atmosphere affect me every time. It’s so well plotted too, as are all his novels.
The book that inspired me to write my books
Well, I could say ‘anything by Charles Dickens,’ but I’m going to plump for Bleak House. It has politics, poverty, heartrending scenes, one of the first literary detectives and more characters than you could shake a stick at. If you are going to attempt to write historical fiction, you cannot do better than read the finest writer of the period. He notices tiny things that only a contemporary would see ~ a milk can dangling from a railing, the brittle laughter of a fop, a child’s agony at being abandoned.
The book I am writing
I’m just 13k words into the 6th Victorian Detectives. Current working title: Fear & Phantoms. Not sure what is going to happen (I’m a pantster) but that’s what makes writing exciting. I’m waiting for Stride and Cully to lead me through the dark alleyways of 1865 London. I know they will.
Wonders & Wickedness (5th in the Victorian Detectives series)
1864 marks the arrival of a brand new department store right in the shopping heart of Oxford Street. What owner John Gould does not expect, is the presence of a dead man in one of his display windows. How did he get there? And why has Gould’s store been picked out as a murder location?
Meanwhile Sir Hugh and Lady Meriel Wynward are not expecting to hear from their daughter Sybella, who died in a railway accident two years ago. So when a letter written in her hand arrives unexpectedly, on what would have been her eighteenth birthday, it throws them into turmoil. What is going on?
Bleak expectations dog the progress of Stride and Cully ,two of Scotland Yard’s finest detectives , as they embark upon their most complex case so far. The twists and turns of the investigation will lead them into a murky mire of murder and blackmail, and the strange dark underground world of Victorian spiritualism.
Praise for The Victorian Detectives:
‘Carol Hedges, in her wonderful Victorian Detective series, channels the most Dickensian of tropes without the overly sentimental, I-get-paid-by-the-word-so-I-never-use-one-where-six-would-do Dickensian mush.’ ~ Barb Taub, reviewer
‘Transports the reader to Victorian London: each scene is crafted to perfection.’ ~ The Lady
It’s got 10 FIVE STAR reviews!!!
The cover was designed by Gina Dickerson of RoseWolf Designs. The lovely evocative background photo was taken by a Twitter friend, who kindly let me use it.
Universal Link for book http://Universal link getBook.at/Wonder
Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carol-Hedges/e/B0034PUES6