My guest today is murder mystery author Paula Williams whose books like mine are published by Crooked Cat. I hugely enjoyed reading Murder Served Cold and Rough and Deadly so I’m keen to find out more about the person who wrote them. What can I get you, Paula?
I’d love a black Americano – with a lovely squidgy chocolate brownie please
Great choice! Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions about yourself and your writing. Firstly I was wondering, if you could be any fictional character for a day who would you choose?
If it’s only for a day then I’d like to be Scarlet O’Hara. I’d love to be as feisty as she was. But I think 24 hours in her skin would probably be enough. Oh yes, and I’d make sure she had the sense not to let Rhett Butler walk away!
What have you been reading lately?
I’ve just finished a psychological thriller “While You Were Sleeping” by Kathryn Croft. It kept me up reading until 3.30 in the morning. It really is one of those books you just cannot put down. I see that she has written other books so I’m looking forward to reading them but I think I’d better wait until I have a free weekend!
How would you describe your perfect day?
A walk with my dog (and husband) in the morning, something special for lunch followed by an afternoon at my desk working on my current WIP. Then early evening drinks with friends and a quiet evening at home – just me, my husband and the dog. Of course, if my children and grandchildren were there, too, that would turn my perfect day into a super-perfect one – although it would be far from quiet.
In fact, that more or less describes my usual day. I am so very lucky to be living somewhere I love, with people (and a dog) I love and doing a job I love. I hope that doesn’t sound smug but at my age (and no, I’m not telling!) every day is a special one, to be enjoyed and treasured. And I do! – although, it has to be said, the WIP doesn’t always go as well as I would like. But that’s all part of being a writer, isn’t it?
That sounds a lovely way to spend the day. How does where you live inspire what you write?
Absolutely 100%. My Much Winchmoor series of murder mysteries is based in a small Somerset village that bears an uncanny resemblance to the one in which I live. And although, as far as I know, none of my friends and neighbours are murderers, they (and the beautiful Somerset countryside) do provide me with a rich source of inspiration.
What was you favourite childhood book?
There were so many. I learnt to read very early and have been an avid reader ever since. Enid Blyton was one of my earliest favourite authors but things took off for me when my mother introduced me to Agatha Christie at the age of 12. I have loved crime fiction ever since. And I was beyond thrilled recently when my 12 year old granddaughter read and enjoyed Murder Served Cold, my first murder mystery. Whilst I am in no way comparing my writing to that of Agatha Christie, I would love to think that my books inspire my granddaughter to a lifelong love of crime fiction.
I’m sure they will! What do you find the hardest aspect of writing a novel?
Finishing it! Murder Served Cold was my debut novel and I loved the whole process, including the editing until it came to the final, final read through before publication. I found it almost impossible to hit the ‘send’ button.
Ah, I know that feeling! When did you start writing and what got you started?
I’ve been writing all my life, starting with plays and pageants that I ‘persuaded’ my unfortunate younger brothers to act in. They claim to be still traumatised by the experience. I turned the account of my earliest pageant into a only slightly fictionalised story which I sold to Woman’s Weekly. It was the start of a long and happy association with them.
I now write mostly serials and novels and am lucky enough to have had the first two novels, Murder Served Cold and Rough and Deadly, in a series of murder mysteries published recently by Crooked Cat Books.
How do you deal with rejection?
I’m philosophical about it. I started my writing career writing short stories for women’s magazines where the rejection rate is notoriously high. I’d have given up years ago if I hadn’t learnt to take a deep breath and walk away to lick my wounds for a while. Then take another look at it with an open mind, try and see why it was rejected, edit if necessary and send it out again. Of course, that was a lot easier to do when I started writing for women’s magazines, when so many magazines had a fiction section. Not so easy now, unfortunately.
What’s the best piece of advice on writing you’ve been given?
Never give up. I have a sign above my desk that says
“Most of life’s failures are people who didn’t realise how close to success they were when they gave up”. Wise words.
Yes, that’s great advice. What are you working on next?
I am currently working on my third Much Winchmoor novel. I am also writing a serial for a woman’s magazine as well as a monthly column called Ideas’ Store for the UK magazine, Writers’ Forum which I have done for over eleven years now. It all keeps me pretty busy and my laptop is never idle.
I can imagine! Thanks Paula and best of luck with your new Much Winchmoor mystery – can’t wait to read it.
About the author
Paula Williams is living her dream. She’s written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it’s only in recent years that she discovered to her surprise that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it.
Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, where she lives with her husband an a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke. She started out writing fiction for women’s magazines (and still does) but has recently branched out into longer fiction. She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers’ magazines, Writers’ Forum.
But, as with the best of dreams, she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading ‘the play what she wrote’.
Books by Paula Williams
A quiet English village where nothing ever happens. Until…
After her boyfriend runs out on her with the contents of their joint bank account, Kat Latcham has no choice but to return to the tiny Somerset village of Much Winchmoor, where she grew up. A place, she reckons, that is not so much sleepy as comatose, and she longs for something exciting to happen to lessen the boredom of living with her parents.
But when she and her childhood friend, Will Manning, discover a body, and Will’s father, John, is arrested for the murder, Kat suddenly realises she should have heeded the saying “be careful what you wish for”.
Much Winchmoor is a hotbed of gossip, and everyone is convinced John Manning is guilty. Only Kat and Will believe he’s innocent. When there’s a second murder, Kat is sure she knows the identity of the murderer – and sets out to prove it. But in doing so, she almost becomes the murderer’s third victim.
Readers of Sue Grafton might enjoy the Much Winchmoor series of cosy murder mysteries spiked with humour and sprinkled with romance.
Everyone knows Abe Compton’s Headbender cider is as rough as a cider can get. But is it deadly?
When self-styled ‘lady of the manor’, Margot Duckett-Trimble, announces she wouldn’t be seen dead drinking the stuff, who could have foreseen that, only a few days later, she’d be found, face down, in a vat of it?
Kat Latcham’s no stranger to murder. Indeed, the once ‘sleepy’ Somerset village of Much Winchmoor is fast gaining a reputation as the murder capital of the West Country and is ‘as sleepy as a kid on Christmas Eve’ when it’s discovered there’s a murderer running loose in the community again.
Kat has known Abe all her life, and she is sure that, although he had motive, he didn’t kill Margot. But as she investigates, the murderer strikes again. And the closer Kat gets to finding out who the real killer is, the closer to danger she becomes.
This second Much Winchmoor mystery is once again spiked with humour and sprinkled with romance – plus a cast of colourful characters, including a manic little dog called Prescott whose bite is definitely worse than his bark.
How to buy
Connect with Paula
Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author.