Category: mystery

#71 – Debbie Young – Write Through The Roof

Interview with cosy mystery writer Debbie Young

“Cosy mysteries are an antidote to the strains of modern life”

Episode 71 – Debbie Young – Show Notes

  • Short novels are her favourite form
  • Journalistic background but mainly a pantser
  • Writes a chapter a day in the writing phase
  • Doesn’t always write every day. Needs to recharge the batteries and think
  • Themes of celebrating community and nurturing understanding between people
  • The mystery provides the framework to flesh out with characters and comedy
  • Based on her real village life and her community
  • Closed communities in a mystery; village and classic English boarding school
  • Cosy mystery popularity – an antidote to modern life, resolution and happy ever after
  • Writing without stopping – experiment with the next novel with a little light editing to begin each writing session
  • Different technologies for writing – Word, using Scrivener for plotting, writing by hand with a fountain pen
  • Touch typing
  • Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers
  • Sophie Sayers mysteries are not always murder stories and veer more to romantic and situational comedy.
  • Experimenting with crossing over between the Sayers and St.Brides series and writing more novellas

I’m an organised pantser.”

“Sometimes I feel I’m writing situation comedy sketches.”

Links

#63 – Toby Neal – Write Through The Roof

Interview with best-selling romance & mystery writer Toby Neal

‘People are preoccupied by crime because we want to recognise the wolves in our midst’

Episode 63 – Toby Neal – Show Notes

  • Writing is like a muscle – needs regular workouts
  • 2000 words a day target
  • Both a plotter and a pantser. More pantser for romance and plotter for mysteries
  • Recording affirmations and listening prior to writing session
  • Themes of good versus evil and the shades of grey in everyone and how love can overcome a multitude of problems
  • Dark themes but with hope – fascinated with the duality between dark and light
  • Mastering your craft – Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – the 10,000 hour rule
  • Take off your pants – Libbie Hawker – the hero needs to find a cure for their flaw
  • Unconventional childhood – Memoir – Freckles
  • Putting off writing goals for security – started with an anonymous blog – using real life experience as a school counsellor
  • Speeding up the writing process
  • Dictation, health and accessing creative brain by writing longhand
  • Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens, The Outlander series – Diana Gabaldon
  • Wired Truth: multi-cultural kick-ass female main character. Pushing the envelope for what’s acceptable with female behaviour. Experimenting with different kinds of love.

‘Nothing but writing is going to make you a better writer’

‘I tried to do literary fiction and I bored myself by page 40’

Links

#59 – Rebecca Tope – Write Through The Roof

Episode #59 – Interview with cosy-mystery writer Rebecca Tope.

‘I didn’t get published until I was 50.’

  • Written 35+ murder mystery novels as a pantser
  • Coffee or gin
  • Themes of natural burials & anti-technology.
  • British cosy mysteries featuring a village pub.
  • Mobile phones affecting crime stories & the inclusion of drones
  • Practice – millions & millions of words
  • Writing groups didn’t help
  • Mentoring others helps own writing – seeing the good & bad in aspiring writers
  • Brutal feedback
  • Long apprenticeships & writing competitions
  • Biography of Sabine Baring-Gould – writer of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’
  • Research – a lot of research done for the biography & historical fiction but little research for murder mysteries
  • Celia Fremlin (domestic suspense), Agatha Christie, Lee Child, Kate Atkinson, William de Morgan
  • Settings – real & fictitious
  • The Grasmere Grudge, Secrets in the Cotswolds, the Patterdale Plot
  • One draft

‘Readers don’t mind if they think their house is the scene of a murder.”

‘I only really do one draft.’

Links

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward – retelling Lovecraft in a ‘Serial’ way

I’m a massive podcast fan – I’ve been listening since the iPod era – but I tend to stick to the interview style of podcasts (except for Strange Tales and the BBC Play of the Week audio drama). And despite all the acclaim and popularity, I haven’t ventured into the serialised investigative podcast genre.

But what I have been gobbling up this week is a mixture of the two – The Case of Charles Dexter Ward from BBC Radio 4.

This appeared in my podcast feed as an audio drama of an HP Lovecraft story.

Say no more, I’m in.

I press play.

Then I got confused.

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#50 – Cathi Stoler – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 50 with Cathi Stoler – award-winning crime writer

“When I was younger I wanted to be a spy.”

Episode 50 – Cathi Stoler – Show Notes
  • Writing crime as a pantser
  • Not a plot spreadsheet but a character spreadsheet
  • Real dialogue and real-life crimes – identity theft, fraud, violent crime and how people are affected
  • Eavesdropping
  • Crime writing conferences in the USA – Malice Domestic, Bouchercon, International Thriller Writers Conference
  • Taking classes and getting your character’s details right
  • John LeCarre, Ian Fleming, Sue Grafton, Alison Gaylin, Meghan Abbott, Catriona McPherson
  • Technology, social change and crime writing
  • Bar None

“You’re not going to commit a crime but you like to read about it.”

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#45 – Elizabeth Spann Craig – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 45 with Elizabeth Spann Craig – cosy mystery writer & writing tip gatherer

“Don’t discount the elderly.”

Episode 45 – Elizabeth Spann Craig – Show Notes
  • Started off as a pantser
  • Understanding your genre’s patterns
  • Muscle memory after 26 books
  • Old fashioned puzzle mysteries – escape for the reader
  • Key theme – don’t discount the elderly
  • Set the bar the low
  • Twitterific Writing tips
  • Doubling down on production and reading more
  • Agatha Christie, MC Beaton, Anthony Horowitz
  • A reader’s suggestion inspired Cleaning is Murder
  • Traditional and independent publishing – getting rights back

“Set the bar low.”

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#33 – Kim Newman – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 33 with Kim Newman – novelist & film critic

“My novels are my purest me.”

Episode 33 – Kim Newman – Show Notes
  • Novels as favourite medium, loose outlines and historical research
  • Takeout coffee and working in the dressing gown
  • As a critic putting people into boxes but as a writer refusing to be put in a box
  • Reading, time and never having had a real job
  • The way writing as a career has changed since 1980s
  • Buying first computer with money from writing for porn magazines with Neil Gaiman
  • Editors used to have more time to deal with and develop new writers
  • Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Patrick Hamilton, Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allen Poe, Ramsay Campbell, Peter Straub, David Thomson, Greil Marcus
  • Criticism and deadlines
  • The need for a continuity person during novel writing
  • Big file full of random film quotes

“Some people don’t realise I’m the same person.”

“My critical range is not good or bad but interesting or dull.”

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#30 – Angela Savage – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 30 with Angela Savage – award winning writer & Director of Writers Victoria

“Good strong writing comes from using simple words in a compelling way”

Episode 30 – Angela Savage – Show Notes
  • Writing on the train and “the work of the couch”
  • Inspired by songwriters like Springsteen, Waits and Earl
  • Wine for writing like drinking when playing pool
  • South East Asia, reproductive health, kinship, culture and human nature
  • “Just get the story down”
  • Reading, study the craft, learning, playing with verbs, mentoring
  • Critical reading – underlining and making notes in books
  • Why crime fiction is so pleasurable for some readers
  • Overdoing the research in historical fiction
  • Inspired by Emma Viskic, Julie Koh, Barbara Kingsolver, Christos Tsiolkas
  • Deadlier – 100 of the best crime stories written by women
  • Daughter as sensitivity reader

“My writing was inspired by the fact no one wanted to hear my travel stories.”

“You need to know how it ends to know how it begins.”

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#21 – Amanda Bridgeman – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 21 with Amanda Bridgeman – space opera & sci-fi thriller writer

“Take all writing advice with a pinch of salt.”

Episode 21 – Amanda Bridgeman – Show Notes
  • Not necessarily writing every day, but working on the book business every day
  • Dead cold silence to write
  • Fueled by crumpets
  • Sci-fi thrillers but ongoing character driven sagas with a bit of romance
  • Writing military without a military background; research including Facebook groups and input from fans
  • Learning from other writers but with limits. Finding stories you like and analyse why
  • Ernest Cline, Andy Weir, Emily St.John Mandel, Stephen Moss, Lindsay Buroker
  • Time of The Stripes inspired by a walk to the shop to buy chocolate and current events
  • Setting stories in the US
  • Madeleine’s tip – Taking a Break

“Believe in yourself and your voice.”

“The key to a good book is mystery and intrigue.”

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#20 – Caroline Mitchell – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 20 with Caroline Mitchell – best selling crime & thriller writer

“I say ‘how could you not have ideas?’ Look around you.”

Episode 20 – Caroline Mitchell – Show Notes
  • Writing a synopsis and the hook before starting to write
  • Coffee, music and social media before a day’s writing
  • Dark themes, exploring the darker side of human nature and the ripple effects from crime. Nothing is black and white in the police.
  • Silent Victim is a story of grooming and a body buried in the backyard
  • Keep learning all the time, always push yourself
  • Dictation; first draft without touching the keyboard
  • Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Mel Sherratt, Angela Marsons
  • Combination of her past experiences in the police along with fresh ideas
  • Pivoting to reach more readers
  • Madeleine’s tip – explorations in dictation

“If the gin comes out I’m not having a good day.”

“Dialogue is lot more natural when you dictate.”

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#19 – Karen Rose Smith – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 19 with Karen Rose Smith – Romance & cosy mystery writer

“Writing, along with cats, is my therapy.”

Episode 19 – Karen Rose Smith – Show Notes
  • Writing after back surgery to deal with pain
  • Husband and cats
  • Dictation; more editing involved but writing goes faster
  • Relationships; family, romantic and in small towns
  • Writing every day hones your instincts
  • Writing 13 books before being published
  • Getting manuscripts in early and saying no
  • Daisy Tea Garden mysteries; tea shops, Amish country, family relationships
  • Emilie Loring, Glenna Finley, Kathleen E Woodiwiss, Harlan Corben, Jodi Piccoult, Dan Brown, Lisa Scottoline
  • Madeleine’s tip – dealing with comparisonitis

“When I’m alone in the dark with the tape recorder, I’m good”

“Reading a genre you don’t write sharpens your skills”

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#16 – George Mann – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 16 with George Mann – Paranormal mystery & Dr Who comic writer

“You’re chasing ghosts if you’re chasing trends.”

Episode 16 – George Mann – Show Notes
  • Dreaded Chapter 7
  • Inspiration from music – songs associated with every book
  • Theme of Identity
  • Mystery and fantastical, the bizarre and the weird. More Peake than Tolkien.
  • Trying to be Peter F Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter, and failing.
  • Wychwood was a switch into a modern day setting.
  • Getting police procedures right
  • Initial premise for Wychwood – a BBC Sunday night crime drama with dark spooky elements
  • M. John Harrison, Steven Eriksen, Susan Cooper, Peter Robinson
  • Madeleine’s tip – Artist’s Date

“Write something for yourself.”
“It’s part of the writer’s job to read widely.”

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