Nicola Slade is the next Crooked Cat Books author to be featured on this website. A prolific author, her most recent is The House at Ladywell.
Here are Nicola’s responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. (How does end with a W.)
Who is author Nicola Slade?
Writer, wife, mother, grandmother, former antiques dealer, former secretary/admin. I live about five miles from the ancient city of Winchester, in the south of England.
What does she write?
Historical and contemporary cosy mysteries and romantic novels. I have two mystery series, both set in and near Winchester:
Charlotte Richmond Investigates – in 1858 a young Australian widow arrives in England to live with her late husband’s wealthy family and promptly starts discovering the occasional corpse!
The Harriet Quigley Mysteries – my contemporary sleuth, Harriet Quigley, is a recently-retired headmistress who, with her cousin and best friend, the Reverend Sam Hathaway, finds herself embroiled in intriguing and occasionally perilous situations.
My latest novel, The House at Ladywell, is a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes, about a young woman whose unexpected inheritance leads her to discover secrets about the house and about herself.
When did she begin writing?
When I was about six years old I discovered that books came out of people’s heads and decided that was what I wanted to do. My first short stories were published in my early twenties followed years later by magazine shorts and now by eight (so far) novels.
How does she write?
It starts with a vague idea which gradually gathers momentum until I can’t ignore it. I usually have a rough plan in my head, particularly if it’s a mystery: how it starts, whodunnit, what they did, who they did it to, why they did it and how. I like to have the title very early on and I usually write the last few pages long before the book is finished. That doesn’t change much so I have a beginning and an end with a yawning gap in the middle!
Where does she write?
Anywhere at first, with scribbled notes on scraps of paper as I jot down ideas until I realise I’ll probably lose them so I start a Word document for notes. I write straight to my desktop but I save a few chapters at a time to my Kindle as I find it easier to spot typos/inconsistencies/etc that way. I share an office with my husband but he has the window side because I prefer to stare at the wall and not get distracted by the garden.
Why does she write?
Because I have to. There’s always a screenplay going on in my head and now and then a character will insist on have her (usually it’s ‘her’) story told.
“A hare carved in stone, and the scent of flowers in a house full of echoes – can Freya’s inheritance help her to leave the past behind?
‘Had I gone completely crazy that first day? To open the door, take one astonished look round, and decide on the spot that I would live there? To fall in love with a house?’
When Freya Gibson inherits an old, run-down property she has no idea she is the last in a long line of redoubtable women, including the Tudor nun who built the house. Unknown to Freya, these women, over centuries, fought with whatever weapons came to hand – deception, endurance, even murder – to preserve their home and family.
Freya falls in love with the house, but her inheritance includes an enigmatic letter telling her to ‘restore the balance’ of the Lady’s Well. Besides this, the house seems to be haunted by the scent of flowers.
In the past, the Lady’s Well was a place of healing, and Freya soon feels safe and at home, but she has demons of her own to conquer before she can accept the happiness that beckons.”
Historical cosy mysteries – Charlotte Richmond Investigates:
Murder Most Welcome
Death is the Cure
The Dead Queen’s Garden
Contemporary cosy mysteries – The Harriet Quigley Mysteries:
A Crowded Coffin
The Art of Murder
The House at Ladywell (see above)
Nicola Slade on social media: