I’m delighted to have author, Carol Hedges on my blog today. The last time Carol popped over for a chat, it was to talk about a new release – you can read that interview HERE. Since then, Carol has been busy penning a further two books for her Victorian Murder Mystery series.
What is (or was) your occupation?
I trained as a librarian, and worked for Brent Libraries and Camden Libraries as a Children’s Librarian and a Music Librarian, stopping work in 1984 when I had my daughter. It was far harder to hold down a full time job in those days, as workplace nurseries and wraparound childcare just didn’t exist. And I believed raising a child WAS a full time job! So we put up with the privations of living on one wage until she got to 14, when I re-trained (age 46) as a secondary English teacher.
What are your hobbies?
Reading. Reading. Reading … oooh ~ is drinking prosecco and eating cake a hobby? Absolutely! 😉
Where have you lived?
I was born in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire in 1950, then moved to London when I went to Uni. Later, when we got married, we bought a terrace house in Watford, and now I live in Harpenden, which is just ‘up the road’ from Welwyn Garden City, so I haven’t really moved far away from the roots.
Do you have children/grandchildren?
As most of you know, I have two grandchildren, Avalyn is 2 1/2 and Edward is 7 months. When I started looking after Avalyn, to help my daughter return to work, I started a blog mapping our adventures together. It proved very popular ~ though I bet she won’t be happy about it when she grows up! My Victorian crime novels are also brought out under the ‘Little G’ imprint, in her honour!
Where do you like to go for a relaxing day out?
Well, apart from hitting John Lewis, I like ‘going out’ to some Victorian city or town as evoked by Dickens, or Mrs Gaskell, or Wilkie Collins and mingling with the characters there. I’m not a great traveller, and I find being in crowds makes me defensive… fictional ‘going out’ is preferable.
What is the most interesting part of being a writer?
Doing the research is always fascinating ~ more for the bits you discover when you weren’t looking for them. I remember researching Victorian Christmases for Diamonds & Dust, and finding a chapter in a book on tree decorations … which of course I used in the novel. Wasn’t looking for it, but there it was. Same with poisons, and clothes.
How long does it take you to write a book?
A first draft takes about 6 ~ 8 months. Then I leave it for a couple of weeks and revise. By the time I hand it over to my 2 editors, it’s probably taken me nearly a year. I’m an awful tinkerer at the edges of a book…there comes a point when I just have to be brave and let it go.
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
If I’m writing a new book, I try to write every day. Maybe a couple of hours in the morning, then a few more hours in the afternoon. My ‘best’ writing time is 3 ~ 5 pm, for some totally unknown reason. But I also teach A level students, mind my granddaughter and have various blogs to write, plus the dreaded ‘publicity’, so sometimes my schedule is a bit askew. I try not to panic: I think there is enough pressure on one as a writer, especially if you are writing a series, so if I have a day off, no stress. And I don’t set myself a word count either. And when I am writing, I don’t overshare my progress with everybody on social media ~ it’s a solitary activity.
How many books have you written?
I’ve had 4 teen novels published by Scripture Union, 3 teen novels published by OUP, 4 teen crime fiction novels published by Usborne. Then there are the 4 Victorian Detective novels, now self-published. Ooh ~ and 2 of the teen books are self-published eBooks as well. In 2017, all 5 of the Spy Girl teen crime fiction books will be coming out with Accent Press. With new covers. Very exciting!
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?
I think it is the way the pattern of the narrative develops. I’m a notorious pantser and I never really know what’s going to happen in the story, apart from the crime at the beginning and the solution at the end. Every time, it takes me by surprise: that moment when you suddenly go ‘Aha! THAT’S how it all fits together!’ As soon as that happens, I know the book is OK. Until it happens, I just plod on with the writing and hope.
If you were to hold a celebrity murder mystery dinner party, who would you invite (can be dead or alive – no pun intended!)?
Ooh, ooh, how exciting would that be? OK. *thinks* limiting it to a couple of people coz I could invite every writer I like back to Anon C15, I think I’d like to invite Robert Harris, because I love his books. Then Wilkie Collins, not just because he wrote the first detective novel, but because he had a very ‘interesting’ private life. And, if it isn’t cheating of the worst kind, I’d love to invite Detective Sergeant Jack Cully, from my books. Because I really like him. And I could probe him and find out stuff about Detective Inspector Leo Stride, because sometimes, he’s a difficult character to understand.
What is the title of your new release?
The latest book in the Stride & Cully series is Rack & Ruin. It came out in September and has a teal cover ~ one of the new Victorian aniline dyes.
How can we grab a copy?
If you want to read Rack & Ruin, it’s available here as eBook and paperback. It’s got a lot of amazing 5 star reviews and I am very chuffed!
Where can we connect with you?
Amazon Author Page
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you want more, you can connect with me on Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram @authorslwilson or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/resolutionchallenge. You can also find me on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/MotivateMeBlog