The past three-and-a-half years have been a wonderful kind of crazy!
Back in 2016, I worked flat out to complete the first draft of a crime fiction novel set in the fictitious village of Fontcastel in the French Pyrenees. There’s nothing better than pure fiction. I love creating new characters and had a ball with this book – from ex-DCPJ investigative agent Manon Maury who solves cold cases she stumbles on through her carpentry business, to eccentric priest Father Domanova, to the Catalan mayor who spends as much time drinking pastis as he does at his desk.
Year two of craziness was 2017 which came with a tough deadline to write Françoise Malby-Anthony memoirs within twelve months. Sounds like a lot of time but it isn’t when all the information you need is in other people’s heads! It was a fantastic feeling to press send on 15 December 2017 and dispatch the manuscript to Pan MacMillan London. What a relief, but no down time allowed because the publisher was also chasing a tight deadline and we went straight into editing. Not many changes, thank heavens, and before I knew it, it was June 2018 and I was in London for the book launch.
Heady days. An Elephant in my Kitchen was an instant bestseller and is still receiving great reviews. Do writers ever get tired of hearing that readers loved their book? No, they don’t.
So what’s next?
July 2019. I’ve relished the company of my old friends from Fontcastel: Manon Maury and her unlikely helpers: Father Domanova, lover of vin doux and fado music, and with forty-six years of village confessions and secrets under his dog collar; Franck Rigail, her not-quite-ex and his extensive, illegal access to data; Malika Kabila, feisty Congolese forensic lab owner; Daniel Delgado, family friend, silver fox and mayor; Commandant Chevalier– gendarmerie head honcho who turns a blind eye when her investigative techniques get too creative. And let’s not forget Duc, village postman and source of all gossip.
Next step, getting these friends into print!
Photo credit: Kim Mcleod