Delighted to welcome author Carol Hedges to Afternoon Tea today. Carol Hedges is the author of very popular Victorian Crime Fiction novels

Tea or coffee?

COFFEE!! Always. My beloved husband is a tea drinker (Earl Grey) and makes his own, as I am The World’s Worst Tea Maker ~ I have deliberately cultivated it over years of being ‘on tea duty’ at various places of work. It sits nicely with my Rubbish Washer~Up medal. Sadly, since the cancer and radiotherapy, I am only allowed one ‘real’ cup …after which it is decaff.

Cake?

Now you’re talking. I have yet to find a cake that I don’t like ~ and my research has been extensive and is ongoing. Probably, as a writer of Victorian crime fiction, I’d better say: Victorian sandwich cake is my favourite. Closely followed by fruitcake ~ an appellation that has  been applied to me personally on social media.

Outstanding book of the year?

I have really enjoyed Deborah Swift’s latest book on Pepys (A Plague on Mr Pepys). I was recommended it by a friend, and although it’s a historical period I know, I felt she had drawn me straight into the Restoration world. I recommend it,and its predecessor, Pleasing Mr Pepys.

Available Here

How large is your TBR pile?

No, seriously? Never ask a writer that one! Apart from the inevitable books on Victorian London, crime, past-times etc etc, there are so many ‘new’ novels coming out to grab the Christmas Market!

What are you reading currently?

Kate Atkinson: A God in Ruins. I love her style of writing. I have copies of all her books and she is on my ‘regularly re-read’ list.

When are you happiest?

My happy~place is when I can sit back and think: Yup, that bit of writing really lifts off the page. It doesn’t happen often, so my other happy place is whenever I’m with my grandchildren.

What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is realising that I can no longer write ~ maybe because of some age-related illness. I have had 3 cancer ops, and I do worry that post Brexit, there won’t be the radioisotopes to treat any recurrence. My lovely oncologist has confirmed that this may well happen. I have now signed up to Dignity in Dying, made my Will and am putting my affairs in order. Didn’t think, at 68, it would be something I’d have to worry about, but such are the times we live in.

What is your greatest achievement?

Apart from my daughter? The six Victorian Detective novels. Given I was told by my ex-agent that the first one, Diamonds & Dust was so awful it wasn’t even worth sending to any publisher, it gives me great satisfaction to see them strung in a line as my Twitter banner (@carolJhedges). And to know, from the reviews, that people are loving them!

What has made you cry?

Ah. A poem by Helen Dunmore, written while she was dying of cancer.

I have it on my bookshelf.

My life’s stem was cut,

But quickly, lovingly

I was lifted up,

I heard the rush of the tap

And I was set in water

In the blue vase, beautiful

In lip and curve,

And here I am

Opening one petal

As the tea cools.

I wait while the sun moves

And the bees finish their dancing,

I know I am dying

But why not keep flowering

As long as I can

From my cut stem?

What is your advice to a new writer?

Keep reading.

Thanks Carol. Really interesting as always x

Bio and links:

Biography

Carol Hedges is the successful UK writer of 18 books for Teenagers/Young Adults and Adults. Her writing has received much critical acclaim, and her novel Jigsaw was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal.

Her ebook Jigsaw Pieces, which deals unflinchingly with many of the problems that beset today’s teens, is available on Amazon as is her Dystopic Fantasy The Last Virus

Carol is also the writer of ‘The Victorian Detectives’ ~ a series of novels set in 1860s London and featuring Detective Inspector Leo Stride and his side-kick Detective Sergeant Jack Cully.

The six books in the series are:

Diamonds & Dust

Honour & Obey

Death & Dominion

Rack & Ruin

Wonders & Wickedness

Fear & Phantoms

Carol Hedges lives in Hertfordshire with a tortie-siamese cat and a lot of pond fish. When not writing/sleeping/trying to resist cake, she tutors A level and GCSE English Literature. She campaigns as chair of a local action group to save a community urban green space from possible development.

And Carol’s new book

All of Carol’s books are for sale Here

Some Victorian images used were from the site below

Old Design Shop