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Author Interview, Character Traits

Meet Violet Whitehouse of A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide

Jessica Thompson’s novels are an interesting mix of murder and cooking. A fellow darkstroke books author, she has released two: A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder and A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide. And key to her culinary cozy mysteries is the character Violet Whitehouse. Here, I will let Jessica tell you about her in what I call my Character Traits series.

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JESSICA THOMPSONViolet Whitehouse. Here I will let Jessica tell you about her — and her books — in what I call my Character Traits series.

Who is your character?

Violet Whitehouse, newish bride, struggling caterer, and neat freak that hates being called a neat freak.

What does she look like?

Like a younger Jennifer Connelly. Think of her at about 25 years old or in the movie Inventing the Abbotts.

What is your character’s back story?

It hasn’t come up in a book yet, but she used to be that little kid that was always dirty. She didn’t avoid dirt because she didn’t care, until she got a staph infection at about ten years old. For the week or so that Violet was in the hospital, she learned to appreciate good food (and not the hospital food) and clean conditions. She has been learning to cook and avoiding dirt and chaos ever since.

What is your character’s role in your novel?

Violet is the main character. In this book she is acting as a personal chef for a group of ladies on a pre-holiday retreat, but usually she is a caterer for events big and small. She is also recruited to investigate the murder that happens because they are snowed in and the police won’t be able to get to them for days.

Why should readers care about this character?

I think I care about her because she cares about things so much. She wants things to be clean and she wants to make it a perfect retreat for her clients. She loves her husband and so wants to become a mom. She puts so much care into the food, into cleaning, and into this murder investigation.

Here’s an excerpt featuring.

“Watch the knives!” Jake winced and lunged forward, but he was too late.

Violet’s whole body was already tense from the cold weather and the long trip, but her muscles clenched into paralysis as she heard her bag of tools tip and clatter to the ground.

She shifted the box she had just taken out of the back of their rental van and swept aside her curtain of chestnut hair with her free hand. She forced her green eyes open, steeling herself to look down. The kitchen tools she had brought with her on this trip, the ones she couldn’t live without, lay scattered over the packed and soiled snow of the lodge’s parking area.

Violet’s skin crawled and her scalp tingled as she thought of the dirt, engine oil, and even traces of animal poop that were probably on her tools now.

As Jake, her husband and fellow caterer, took the box from her arms, Violet attempted a return to sanity with a deep breath and a look around at the glittering scenery. Other than the parking lot, clean, fresh snow covered the landscape and swept all the way up to the frozen pond and brightly lit windows of Summerhaven Lodge. The mounded snow shone coral in the waning evening light and eased her jangled nerves. She noticed tiny hopping footprints from a rabbit near the tree line and got close to smiling. The air was still and biting and she wrapped her favorite white scarf more tightly under her chin to keep it out. The scarf was a thick wool and didn’t get enough use back home in Austin, Texas.

This week would be a welcome break for all of them. Violet and Jake had been so tense the last few months that they had eagerly accepted the request to travel to another state and cook the entire week before Christmas for Carina Moretti, the mother of their friend Laurel. Laurel had spoken so highly of Violet’s cooking, and maybe a bit about her sleuthing, during her wedding last year that most of Violet’s clients these days wanted to hear the story while they tasted her creations.

Jessica Thompson’s bio

When Jessica discovered mystery novels with recipes, she knew she had found her niche.

Now Jessica is the author of the Amazon best-selling culinary cozy mysteries “A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide.” She is active in her local writing community and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas and the Storymakers Guild. She received a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University but has always enjoyed writing and reading mysteries.

As an avid home chef and food science geek, Jessica has won cooking competitions and been featured in the online Taste of Home recipe collection.  She also tends to be the go-to source for recipes, taste-testing, and food advice among her peers.

Jessica is originally from California, but now has adopted the Austin, Texas lifestyle. She enjoys living in the suburbs with her husband and young children, but also enjoys helping her parents with their nearby longhorn cattle ranch.

A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide synopsis

While acting as personal chef for a friend’s mountain retreat, Violet and her husband, Jake, must set aside their stress over infertility and create a magical and delicious holiday – until tragedy crashes the party.

Being snowed in and unreachable from town, Violet and Jake end up hired for a different kind of job – finding out which of the guests committed murder and why they’re trying to frame their hostess.

Violet must find a balance between following her gut and keeping it all under control until the police can reach them, while still managing the kitchen. But can she sniff out the killer before anyone else bites the big one?

A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide will give you a culinary holiday you won’t forget!

Another excerpt

Violet was furious with herself for not seeing it before. Her gut had led her in all the wrong directions. Mercedes had been the one to rebelliously go outside, and apparently it had not been an isolated incident.

It made Violet fume. How many times has Mercedes come outside? she thought. She was angry with Mercedes, but mostly she was kicking herself. Why had she thought that trusting her instincts would be a good idea? Her gut had definitely not done her any favors last time she had investigated a murder. She was mad at herself for not seeing it all, mad for ignoring Mercedes’ trips outside, and mad for looking past the woman just because she had made hot chocolate and been kind to her. All of that must have been an act. She must have been doing it to manipulate people. Perhaps the real Mercedes was the one that had erupted out during her argument with Carina.

The rage and the glowing fury that had shown in Mercedes’ face during that argument should have been a dead giveaway.

Violet followed the smell of cigarette smoke that lingered in the chilled air and mingled with the clouds of her breath. Cigarettes usually made Violet’s skin crawl, but she was too indignant to care now.

Violet caught a glimpse of a cloud of breath coming from behind the tool shed that formed one wall of the carport and crunched over the refrozen snow of the parking lot.

“Yes, sir. I’ll put you on speakerphone so you can hear, but it’s usually best to let Violet talk. She really has a way of getting these ladies to talk.”

Violet didn’t hear any of it. The blood was rushing through her ears as she whipped around the corner of the shed to find Mercedes huddled behind it.

Mercedes had been bent over, but now rose with terror in her eyes as Violet felt her face contort with disgust.

“It was you!”

Book links

http://mybook.to/catererholiday

http://mybook.to/caterersguide

Social media:

http://Jessicathompsonauthor.com

https://instagram.com/jessicathauthor/

https://facebook.com/jessicathauthor/

https://twitter.com/jessicathauthor/

https://pinterest.com/jessicathauthor/

http://goodreads.com/jessicathauthor/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jessica-thompson-ede71ffc-5762-4778-a116-3c3a048cb45f

http://amazon.com/author/jessicathompsonmystery

https://tiktok.com/@jessicathauthor

 

http://amazon.com/author/jessicathompsonmystery

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The Unquiet Spirit Best seller
Character Traits

Character Traits: Dr Kate Wilson of The Unquiet Spirit

Penny Hampson 2020

Author Penny Hampson

One of the bonuses of being part of an international publishing house is making friends with authors across the pond, as they say. Penny Hampson is a fellow author with Darkstroke Books. Here she writes about the character Dr Kate Wilson from her book, The Unquiet Spirit, which she describes as a spooky mystery/romance. I like books with strong and complex female characters, which fits the bill for Penny’s protagonist. Here I will let Penny tell you all about her.

Dr Kate Wilson is an independent woman in her early thirties, and she is the main character in my spooky mystery/romance, The Unquiet Spirit. She’s intelligent — she’s got a PhD — and is passionate about history and books. When I came up with the idea for Kate I needed someone who wouldn’t be restricted by a nine-to-five job, hence her career researching the family trees of wealthy patrons.

Kate is down to earth and doesn’t believe in ghosts — well, not at first, though she does have a few hang-ups. She doesn’t like enclosed spaces, won’t go in lifts (elevators), and a traumatic experience with a neighbour’s pet has made her fearful of dogs. I confess, I share some of these feelings.

Kate has recently been badly let down by a boyfriend; he’d told her that he was single when he was very much married. So suspicious of men, and wanting a fresh start, she is ready to give up her academic life in Oxford and move to the house she’s unexpectedly inherited in Cornwall. Wouldn’t we all like to wake up one morning and discover we own a beautiful seventeenth century house near the coast?

An only child, Kate gets on well with her parents even though they don’t always see eye-to-eye. Kate’s mum wanted her to study science, but encouraged by Win, her godmother, Kate chose to study history instead. Kate’s relationship with Win is very close, built up over the years when Kate used to stay with her in Cornwall as a child. With no children of their own, Win and her late husband treated Kate as a daughter, so Kate is devastated when Win dies in mysterious circumstances. Despite their closeness, Kate is still taken by surprise when she finds out that Win has left her The Beeches in her will. She makes up her mind to look after the house that she has grown to love, and to discover the real reason for her godmother’s sudden death.

When the librarian, Ruth Morris, asks Kate if she can help Sue Pellow to sort out her family papers, Kate readily agrees, showing what a kind-hearted person she is. She is a little more reserved with Tom Carbis, a surly chap she bumps into several times before learning that he is her next door neighbour. Let’s just say that Kate’s first impressions of him aren’t good ones! But who can blame her when she is still bruised from her toxic relationship with her last boyfriend?

I like to think that when readers first meet Kate, on the run from a stalker in Oxford, they see Kate at her best — determined, resourceful, and unwilling to give in to adversity. She might be frightened, but she keeps calm and holds her nerve, she even manages to keep her sense of humour. Will she be able to deal equally as well with the new challenges that face her when she moves to Cornwall? You’ll have to read The Unquiet Spirit to find out!

An excerpt from The Unquiet Spirit

No young man to celebrate Christmas with, then?asked Win, a wicked gleam in her eye.

Kate chuckled. “’Fraid not… Not that Id neglect family at Christmas. Men are too much trouble anyway.She sipped her gin and tonic, enjoying the tang and feeling of warmth as it went down her throat. It soothed the lingering bitterness of her last break-up. Robin had certainly been too much trouble. She silently wished him a miserable Christmas, hoping his wife was giving him a hell of a time. He deserved it. She would never have got involved if shed known he was married his divorce just another of his fabrications. She wondered how long it would be before she could trust someone again.

Win sipped her whisky and gave Kate a speculative look.

You should come down to Falmouth. Help me with a bit of research if youre at a loose end. I think it would be just up your street.

Oh? Whats that then?” Kates interest was piqued, despite her inner gloom.

Wins mouth pursed. Im not going gaga, but Im sure…well, Im almost sure that The Beeches is haunted.

Youre having me on?Kate got the impression that Win wasnt joking.

No, Im not. But…perhaps I am imagining some things.A thoughtful expression crossed Wins face. No, I didnt.” She shook her head. I definitely heard noises last week and…Ive seen things, Kate.

So who is Penny Hampson?

Penny Hampson writes mysteries, and because she has a passion for history, you’ll find her stories also reflect that. A Gentleman’s Promise, a traditional Regency romance, was Penny’s debut novel, which was shortly followed by more in the same genre. Penny also enjoys writing contemporary mysteries with a hint of the paranormal, because where do ghosts come from but the past? The Unquiet Spirit, a spooky mystery/romance set in Cornwall, was published by Darkstroke in 2020.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

Find her on social media

For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/penny_hampson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pennyhampsonauthor

Penny Hampson’s Books

THE GENTLEMEN SERIES (Regency Historical Mystery/Romances)

A Gentleman’s Promise (revised 2nd edition coming soon)

An Officer’s Vow: purchase link ~ mybook.to/AnOfficersVow

A Bachelor’s Pledge: purchase link ~ mybook.to/ABachelorsPledge

The Unquiet Spirit (A spooky contemporary mystery/romance) purchase link ~ getbook.at/theunquietspirit

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Deep Level cover
Character Traits, Horror, On Writing

Character Traits: Meet Rosalind Brown of Deep Level

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Author Richard E. Rock

It’s time to feature a new character in this blog series. Richard E. Rock, an author from South Wales, writes about Rosalind Brown, who he created for his horror novel, Deep Level, published by Darkstroke Books. By the way, I love Richard’s comment below: “I like to think that Deep Level is a horror novel for people who don’t necessarily read horror.” Okay, Richard, I’m sold. Here. I’ll let him take over.

Before I begin, let me first thank you, Joan, for giving me this opportunity to tell your readers all about Rosalind Brown, my favourite character in my horror novel Deep Level.

Deep Level began life as a nightmare, a ferocious, vivid and terrifying nightmare. When I awoke from it my first thought was, “Wow! That was incredible! I gotta write that down!”

I first of all wrote my nightmare up as a short story, and in this incarnation there was only one protagonist, a frustrated bookseller called Rich who dreams of being an urban explorer. When I expanded my tale into novel length, I introduced three supporting characters, but one of them did not stay supporting for long.

Rosalind Brown refused to accept that she had a “place” and very quickly elbowed her way to prominence in my book, establishing herself as its heart and soul. She’s the character towards whom all others gravitate. When there is a decision to be made, they look to her. When advice is needed, she’s the one they call on.

She’s an unlikely hero for a horror novel, I’ll admit; a fifty-something archivist, happily married with two children away in university. But then, I do like to mix things up a bit. She began life not as a person, but as a taste in music. I loved ska back in the eighties — bands like Madness, the Specials, the Beat and the Selector — so I used that as my starting point when I set about establishing her character. Also, an ex-girlfriend of mine happened to have a made-ya-look resemblance to Pauline Black of the Selector, so I borrowed that attribute and even used that particular line in the novel.

I decided to make Rosalind an immigrant, because why not? She came to London from Sierra Leone as a young girl, only to find herself lost and bewildered by its vastness and its tides of people. When she discovered ska music she also discovered her tribe. The rude boys and rude girls on the 2-tone scene became her new family. Rosalind was on her way.

Fast forward 38 years or so and she’s married to a rocker named Phil and has two bright, intelligent sons, Callum and Nathan, and I’m happy for her. She deserves a happy life. She’s earned it. What a shame she accepted Rich’s offer to go and explore a secret underground Victorian train network. That was a big mistake.

When I write a sympathetic character, I always ask myself one question: “Would I hang out with this person?” If the answer is yes, they can stay. Rosalind stayed. I would definitely hang out with her. There is a little bit of my ex-girlfriend in her DNA, yes. There’s a little bit of my mother in there too. Amongst many other things, she’s an archivist. Rosalind also has other attributes and characteristics borrowed from various friends and colleagues. Over time, as I worked my way through multiple drafts, she grew to be a person in her own right, evolving independently. Eventually, she was telling me about herself and not the other way around. I love it when this happens.

When I began work on Deep Level, I knew that the horror element in the second half would only work if the reader fell in love with the characters in the first. Then, when Rosalind, Rich, Syeeda and Ffion descend into the dark tunnels beneath the streets of London and find themselves hunted by god-knows-what, we as readers experience the terror through them. Every shock and every loss of theirs will be ours too. We’ll hope and pray that the next turn of the page will see their escape and salvation. And that right there is my job as a writer, to create the impression that these characters have lives beyond the pages of my book. That, as people, they are too precious and valuable to die, because there are children who would miss them and partners who would mourn.

I like to think that Deep Level is a horror novel for people who don’t necessarily read horror. First and foremost, it’s a book about four friends — people just like you and I. The only difference is, they happen to find themselves in a situation the rest of us would rather avoid. So why not go and hang out with Rosalind and her little gang for a while? Meet up with them at Jason’s Cafe before they all go off on their adventure. Rosalind’s paying. I guarantee she’ll be good company.

AN EXTRACT FROM DEEP LEVEL

Rosalind ran a hand through her short, greying hair. She had always worn it short. It was part of the rude girl look.

Back in 2007, a lifetime ago, it seemed, she had taken her not unwilling sons to see an exhibition of youth fashion, photography and memorabilia at the V&A. Hand in hand in hand, they had followed the trail through the late seventies and into the early eighties. Quietly and politely, her boys had listened as their mum reeled off stories and memories and reminiscences brought back to life by the exhibits.

She brought them to a stop in front of a monochrome photograph displayed on an oversized canvas. On it were three teenage girls, all DM boots and cut-off t-shirts and attitude, frozen together forever in one immaculate moment.

“What do you think of this one?” she asked.

“I like the girl who’s smiling,” answered Nathan.

Rosalind considered the girl in the photograph, the only one not trying just a little bit too hard to project an image of threat. The only one who looked relaxed and happy in her own skin. Neither Nathan nor Callum realised that they were actually looking at their own mother as a teenager.

Rosalind had bought a copy of the exhibition book, a small token of immortality, which was now sitting high on a shelf in her Acton home. The home she would soon be vacating.

“You know, it’s not going to feel like home until this baby is hung up on the wall,” said Phil.

Rosalind looked over. He was holding in his hands his most prized possession, a framed LP. It was Black Sabbath’s debut album, a first pressing, of course, released in 1970. Beneath the glass, the gatefold cover was open, revealing the inverted cross which contained the track listing and a poem. Also, and this is what, in the eyes of its owner, made it almost as precious as his own children, if not more so: it had been autographed by Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill. The original members. The Sab Four.

“It’ll feel like a home,” said Rosalind, “when I’ve got my feet up on the sofa with a glass of wine in my hand.” At that particular moment, she had her feet up on the sofa with a glass of wine in her hand.

SO WHO IS RICHARD E. ROCK?

Richard E. Rock is a professional writer based in Swansea, south Wales, where he lives with his girlfriend and their cat. By day he works as a commercial scriptwriter in the radio biz and contributes ideas to a legendary British comic for grown-ups. But by night … he writes horror.

He was inspired to do this after experiencing a series of particularly ferocious nightmares. After awaking and realising he could turn these into absolutely horrible stories, he started deliberately inducing them. Deep Level is his debut novel.

His favourite authors include Stephen King, Zadie Smith, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Franz Kafka and Shirley Jackson.

If you’re looking for him, you’ll probably find him wedged up against the barrier at a heavy metal gig, for that is his natural habitat.

LINKS

Find Deep Level on Amazon: https://t.co/u6SoL1tbB4?amp=1

Richard’s website: https://richarderock.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fractured Globe final paperback covers
Character Traits

Meet Janet McElroy of The Fractured Globe

Janet McElroy is a character of Angela Fish’s mystery, The Fractured Globe. Angela is a fellow author at Darkstroke Books, and her The Fractured Globe is high on my t0-read list, especially after reading this post. Here. I will let Angela take over.

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Author Angela Fish

I’d like to introduce you to Janet McElroy. She is a part-time nurse, manages a charity (thrift) shop and also helps out a few nights a week at a “soup kitchen” for the homeless. She is not one of the two main protagonists but without her, the story would not hold together. She is the aunt of Kay Jones, one of two single mums, who meet when their sons are born on the same day, and whose lives intertwine over twenty-five years. She also befriends Tia, the other mum and it is the involvement with both girls that leads to a number of the misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and conflict throughout the story. It is also because of Janet that the mystery of an abandoned child is solved.

Janet had a shaky start. The novel evolved from a writing prompt at my writers’ circle and became, at first, a simple short story told from one of the sons’ point-of view. It was well-received by the group and it was suggested that I try writing something from the child’s mother’s point-of view. Not the same story, but something which complemented and added to it. That was fine, so I decided to continue and compile a series of about six such stories. Janet was next. However, at that time she had a slightly different role as a social worker, and I found that after a few paragraphs, I had nothing more to say so I abandoned her in favour of someone else. Unfortunately, I lost the plot (literally!) and put it to one side as the children’s books I had also been working on had been accepted for publication.

Some years later I attended a seminar on how to pitch to agents/ publishers and I had the idea to pull apart the short stories and reconnect them as a full novel. It took some time and the characters underwent many changes, especially Janet, who became both catalyst and lynch-pin. There was no real-life inspiration for her — she just grew into the role. As for her name, it just seemed to “fit” her character. She’s a strong woman who knows her own mind, and is quite different from her sister, Ruth, who is Kay’s mother. Janet chose to remain single to develop her career and, while she loves her life, she sometimes wishes she had a family of her own. The work that she does, her support of her sister, Kay, and Tia, highlight her practical and empathetic nature. I think if I met Janet, I’d like her very much!

EXCERPT FROM THE FRACTURED GLOBE

“You remember that girl I told you about, the one we’d seen hanging around the square? Well, she only turned up in a right state outside the shop and collapsed on the pavement. Looked like she’d been knocked about and I think she was miscarrying. The ambulance came right away and they carted her off to A & E. I did think about going with her, but I couldn’t leave Marge to manage the shop. You know what a drama queen she is!”

Ruth finished her tea and put the cup down quietly. “So, what happened?”

Janet grimaced. “I don’t know. I was going to go and see her later, before my shift started, but they’d taken her to St. Jude’s, not Rowan Tree District. When I thought about it, I convinced myself that it wasn’t a good idea to get involved. I might still go, though. What do you think?”

Ruth screwed up her mouth. “That’s up to you, love, but if it was me, I’d probably stay away. More tea?”

The sisters drank a second cup almost in silence, each thinking of Kay and the impact of her disappearance on their lives. Ruth leaned forward and tapped Janet’s hand.

“Before you go, there’s something I want you to see. It’s in the front room.”

They crossed the hallway and Ruth paused for a moment before opening the door and standing back for her sister to enter. Janet blinked as the room was in darkness except for a faint glow in the far corner. She moved towards it, then drew in her breath sharply.

“You still have it.”

She reached out her hand to caress a large snow globe and stood transfixed as a pale blue light flickered over the figure of Jack Frost that sat on a dead tree trunk. Everything inside the globe was made from crystals and as the snow swirled, the whole scene glistened and shimmered. Ruth flicked a switch at the base and Janet shivered as the haunting strains of A Winter Lullaby filled the room. She felt the hairs on her neck stiffen and realised that she was crying. Her! She wasn’t ever the soppy one.

As she gazed into the globe, she remembered how Kay had been afraid of it when she was small and that it had eventually been banished to the spare room cupboard. They’d all laughed at her at first; at her insistence that Jack Frost knew what she was thinking and that he was going to take her away. Now, in the eerie stillness of the room, Janet  thought she understood the little girl’s fears. There was something ethereal about the globe, something unexplainable, yet she felt a more positive energy from it. It took a lot of effort for her to stop looking at it but eventually she turned to Ruth who was crying quietly.

“I couldn’t bear to part with it. I never understood why Kay was so scared of it. When I plugged it in this morning, all I could see was her face in the snow. It just gives me some connection, some hope, you know?”

Janet nodded.

It was when Janet was driving home that she realised her niece’s baby was due any day, and that Ruth hadn’t mentioned it. She kicked herself again.

ANGELA FISH’S BIO

Angela has lived all of her life in Wales and has worked in Medical Research, Electrical Engineering, and Education. She has been an avid reader all her life and began writing at age seven, although did not contemplate publishing until many years later! The Fractured Globeis her first novel. She has previously had four children’s books published, as well as poetry, critical, and academic work.

She has a love of mythology, and myths and legends from around the world, and also finds the psychology of human behaviour fascinating, especially the nature/nurture debate, which is the focus of The Fractured Globe.

Angela loves books and cats, probably in equal measure. She also shamelessly eavesdrops, particularly on public transport, or in queues – for research purposes only, of course.

ANGELA FISH ON SOCIAL MEDIA

web: www.angela-fish.com

www.facebook.com/AngelaFishAuthor

Twitter: @angelaEfish

Insta: AngelaFishAuthor

Amazon Author page: https://tinyurl.com/y6zeyrk2

BOOKS

The Fractured Globe   https://tinyurl.com/y3y3hb7q    

Children’s  — all on Amazon Author page: https://tinyurl.com/y6zeyrk2

Ben and the Spider Gate

Ben and the Spider Prince

Ben and the Spider Lake

The Captain’s Favourite Treasure

 

 

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Character Traits

Character Traits: Meet Didier Duclos

Angela Wren, a fellow author at Darkstroke Books, has written a crime mystery series with an interesting twist in that it is set in France. Angela does a wonderful job transporting the reader there. Her main character is the very determined investigator,  Jacques Forêt. But Angela is going to tell us about another character in her series — the fifth was published late last year. Here. I will let her take over.

Hi Joan, thanks for inviting me and my character Didier Duclos onto your blog today. I write the Jacques Forêt cosy crime mystery series set in the Cévennes in south-central France. Didier is AngelaWrenAuthorPicJacques’ right-hand man. However, he didn’t quite start like that!

After Messandrierre (book 1 in the series) was published, I knew that Jacques was going to strike out on his own. In the village, he had been mostly a one-person official police presence with a bit of help from a fellow gendarme Thibault Clergue and five-year-old Pierre Mancelle who wanted to be a policeman.  They made a neat team, but once Jacques had his own investigation business, I knew he would need someone else.  Whilst I was creating the second book, into my head walked Didier Duclos.

I took his name from a war memorial in a village near St Pourcain.  I liked the alliteration and the short sharpness of the words.  It set the tone for who I thought my character was going to be.

We first meet Didier in Montbel, (book 3), when Jacques conducts a team briefing in his office in Mende. Didier is described as a … tall, lean man with a lived-in face that showed him to have earned every crease and line acquired during his sixty-one years, Didier had come to Vaux Investigations to work as a general office manager and investigator. He had been the first person Jacques had recruited following the internal reorganisation across the whole of the Vaux Group in the first few weeks of 2010. Having worked as a detective in the Police Nationale in Mende, Didier had taken early retirement to care for his terminally ill wife. Within the year she had died, and Didier had needed a distraction. …

Didier works closely with Jacques from then on.  He provides a measured approach which sometimes keeps Jacques from acting the maverick.  In Marseille (book 4), we learn more about

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Marseille Port’s entrance

Didier as a person.  He had a life before the police force.  As Jacques and Didier wait on the harbour in Marseille for a contact with crucial information about the case to arrive they watch a traditionally built yacht come in to dock. Didier shares his experience… “A tall ship, Jacques. A long time ago. I once crewed on a 19th-century schooner…”  “Beautiful vessel, four-masted, gaff-rigged…” He tells Jacques. As he smiles to himself, Didier goes on to say… “Just eighteen and had the time of my life!”

That experience and the knowledge that Didier gained becomes essential when he and Jacques move on to the investigation in Mercœur.  Didier’s expertise and his tenacity put him at the forefront of this investigation.

Blurb for Mercœur (Jacques Forêt Mystery No. 5)

On a quiet forest walk, Investigator Jacques Forêt encounters a sinister scene.  Convinced there is evidence of malicious intent, he treats his discovery as a crime scene.

But intent for what?  Without a body, how can he be sure that a crime has been — or is about to be — Village&5BksV01committed?  Without a body, how can Jacques be sure that it’s murder, and not suicide?  Without a body, how can the perpetrator be found?

A baffling case that tests Jacques to his limits.

Author Bio

Angela Wren is an actor and director at a small theatre a few miles from where she lives in the county of Yorkshire in the UK.  She worked as a project and business change manager – very pressured and very demanding – but she managed to escape, and now she writes books.

She has always loved stories and story-telling, so it seemed a natural progression, to her, to try her hand at writing, starting with short stories.  Her first published story was in an anthology, which was put together by the magazine ‘Ireland’s Own’ in 2011.  She also works with 8 other northern writers to create the series of Miss Moonshine anthologies.  Most recently, Angela contributed a story set in the 19th century to the DARK LONDON collection.

Angela particularly enjoys the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work.  Her short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery, and historical.  She also writes comic flash-fiction and has drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio.

Her full-length novels are set in France, where she likes to spend as much time as possible each year.

Links

Amazon : AngelaWren

Website : www.angelawren.co.uk

Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com

Facebook : FacebookAngela Wren

Bookbub : BookBubAngelaWren

Goodreads : GoodreadsAngela Wren

Contact author : Angela Wren

 

 

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