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My Next Big Thing...

Monday December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013!   I would like to begin this New Year by thanking my dear friend and fellow Mystery Maker, Jane Finnis, for tagging me in "My Next Big Thing" - this series of questions that give authors a chance to tell people about the current book in hand. As a fan of Jane's no-nonsense Roman heroine, Aurelia Marcella, I am very much looking forward to reading the next installment in her chronicles - Blood on the Road.  (So hurry up and finish it, Jane!)


First, I should mention that the second Faith Morgan mystery, The Advent of Murder, is due to be published by Lion this coming July.   But, the book that is covering my writing table and filling my head just now is my next Jarrett mystery.

So here goes: My Next Big Thing...



What is the working title of your book?

Given that none of my working titles have ever ended up on the cover the eventual book published (I am quite dreadful at coming up with titles), I hesitate to say; but if you promise not to hold me to it: The Colour of Love.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

From a visit to a stately home in Yorkshire.  I was struck by the way the house rose, solitary and ornate, out of an expanse of flat, arable land.  It was that first encounter on a still, late-summer day that led me into this story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical Mystery.    It is detective fiction set in a specific historical period and place (the north of England in the early 1800s), with a dash of action adventure and a smidgen of romance thrown in.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

A movie version?  Wouldn't that be nice!  I find this question almost impossible to answer; fashions in actors change so quickly and I think readers should be allowed to form their own idea of what characters look like. 

But... if I could cross Richard Roxburgh (far left) with a bit of Daniel Craig and fix him in his early 30s - that would be something like the Raif Jarrett I see in my head, but that is just my head.   I tried looking for contemporary paintings that might suit my characters.   I've put up a few on so readers can take a look and see which actors they might like to play them.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

An old friend, an officer on campaign, asks Jarrett to go to the assistance of his new bride who is experiencing sinister events at the property he has recently inherited; the staff don't want a new mistress and a couple of the previous master's louche house-guests won't leave, then a member of the household is found murdered.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am represented by Rupert Crew.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I am bad at this sort of question - it seems as if other people should be the judge of that.    If you like Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales, or Lyndsey Davies's Falco series, I hope you might like Jarrett too.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The character and world of F R Jarrett emerged out of my love of the historical period.  I began with an addiction to the Scarlett Pimpernel in my early teens.  That led me to start collecting diaries and journals from the late 18th and early 19th centuries (approximately the generation of Jane Austen, but a bit broader).   Raif Jarrett combines the rational reasoning mind of the Enlightenment with the passionate imagination of Romanticism.  He is a man who tries to maintain a sense of justice in a world at war, and as part of a society marked by extremes of wealth and poverty; an old, complacent society that is being re-cast by industrialization and an explosion of human creativity.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

 If you like house mysteries, I hope you will like this one.   If you don't know Jarrett, he may visit but he doesn't live in the safe, polite world of Jane Austen.   The cloying hierarchy of the isolated big house, its uneasy relationship with the surrounding farms at harvest time, and the brutal reality of the rootless poor in a land of apparent plenty, all play their part in the story.   (& if you liked the first two Jarrett mysteries - this story gives the indomitable Lady Catherine an airing, and Raif Jarrett and Henrietta Lonsdale have the opportunity to investigate a murder together.)


 And now for the next author in this series...

So that is my Next Big Thing.   I would like to pass you on to my good friend Dolores Gordon-Smith, whose detective, the dashing Jack Haldean is a man who might have been good friends with Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey.   I am looking forward to learning about his Next Big Thing in the fascinating, exuberant world of the 1920's from her blog, which should appear soon on her website, here.



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Reader Comments



Hi Rebecca! I just finished Death of a Radical -- so so good! This blog post has made me even more excited for the next Jarrett mystery! I will be eagerly awaiting it!

From: Ally, Saturday July 20, 2013