Wednesday, October 5, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: REBECCA TOPE




ABOUT THE BOOK

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and business at Persimmon “Simmy” Brown’s flower shop is booming. But when Simmy fulfills a string of anonymous delivery orders, she is startled to realize that each contains a secretly menacing message for the recipients. When one of the people who receives a bouquet disappears, it seems that her worst fears have been confirmed.

As if that isn’t enough, Simmy’s friend Kathy turns up, on the trail of her wayward daughter Joanna, who she fears has grown too close to one of her university tutors. When Kathy attempts to reason with her daughter she finds that Joanna’s older lover may be even more dangerous than she had imagined. With both Kathy and Joanna in peril, Simmy and her friends find themselves caught up in a web of deception, blackmail and murder . . .






INTERVIEW WITH REBECCA TOPE


Rebecca, how did you get started writing
?
As a young child, writing letters, diaries, little stories. I joined writing groups from the age of 21 and sold stories and articles for many years before finally getting a book published in 1999.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?

Re-reading work done a month or so ago and realizing it’s much better than I feared. Thinking up convincing plot twists, just when I thought the whole thing was going to collapse into a pit of confusion.

Do you have a writing routine?

Early morning for an hour or two.

Do you write every day?

Yes.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?

Keeping a plot logical and credible. Sustaining consistency. Ploughing on through the middle section (roughly 30-40,000 words) when it all feels like a waste of time and effort.

What’s more important – characters or plot?

Character.

How often do you read?

Constantly.

What do you think makes a good story?
Narrative pace. The reader has to want to turn the page, or what are we doing?

What books do you currently have published?
Fourteen titles in the Cotswolds series. Seven earlier crime titles. Three self-published ebooks. Five in the Lake District series. 


Do you have any secret talents?

I can kill a sheep. I’m good at embroidery. And I’m a constant spinner and knitter.

Is writing your dream job?
Definitely, always was.


What is the worst job you’ve ever had? What did it teach you?

I was a couples counselor. People behaving very badly, full of bitterness, malice and dishonesty. Yuk! It taught me that people can be astonishingly unpleasant when forced to live with someone they have come to despise, fear or resent. Betrayal is seldom if ever forgiven.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
HBO.

How often do you tweet?

About once a month.

How do you feel about Facebook?
Negatively. It’s unthinkably invasive. I do not go near it, ever.

For what would you like to be remembered?
I have to say the books, but also I’m a pretty good Granny, and I plant a lot of trees.

What scares you the most?

Disapproval. (Pathetic, I know) I’m not very good at high bridges that you have to walk across carrying luggage either. (For example on the border between Costa Rica and Panama.)

What five things would you never want to live without?

My spinning wheel and big bag of fleece and knitting needles (That’s really one thing). A large stack of unread books. A radio. Clean underpants (knickers in the UK). A blank notebook and pencil.

What’s one thing you never leave the house without (besides your phone)?
Money. I often leave the phone behind. Seldom use the darn thing.

What do you love about where you live?

The silence. The birds and other wildlife. The open space which is all my own.


What’s your favorite fast food?
Chinese.


What’s your favorite beverage?

Rioja.

What drives you crazy?
Misuse of words on radio and TV (sat/sitting; lay/lie; less/fewer and about a thousand more).

What is your superpower?
Working at high speed.


Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.
Really good at organizing complicated overseas trips. Really bad at keeping the house clean.


What do you wish you could do?
Speak a foreign language fluently.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
Sit in blazing sunshine with no clothes on.

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
Frequently. I like to think it’s so I can have a dispassionate look at myself and see if there’s a remedy for impatience, intolerance,  etc.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Much more than usual. Dog food, cat food, cheese, sausages, milk, beer, and quite a few jars of unidentifiable sauces, pickles, jams. There’s a family meal tomorrow, which explains the extra stuff. Usually it’s just petfood and milk.

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?

Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, UK. Newly built, excellently well stocked. A good friend works there. I was born in that town and have recently been researching how it was in the 1940s and 50s. It is welcoming, comfortable and successful.


How do you like your pizza?

Absent from the menu. I never really saw the virtue of pizza.


What is your favorite movie?

Melancholia, by Lars von Trier.


What are you working on now?

I’m waiting for a small publisher to finish the edit of a biography I have recently finished. He needs a lot of nagging. I will then compile the index. The book is called Sabine Baring-Gould; The Man Who Told a Thousand Stories. I spent 12 years writing it and am now impatient to get it in my hands as a real book.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rebecca Tope is the author of four murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker; Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds and now Persimmon Brown, Lake District florist. She is also a “ghost writer” of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme.

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