Life has been so busy this year that I haven’t been able to support Brook Cottage Books as much as I would like. Today, I’m putting that right with an interview with Lesley Cookman, author of Murder by the Barrel.
As well as an interview with Lesley, there’s a chance to win one of two e-copies of Murder by the Barrel at the bottom of this blog post.
Murder by the Barrel
When the village of Steeple Martin announces its first beer festival, the locals are excited. Beer, sun and music, what could possibly go wrong?
But when an unexpected death shakes the village, it’s up to Libby Sarjeant and friends to solve the puzzle.
Was it just another rock star death or is there something more sinister afoot?
An Interview with Lesley Cookman
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Lesley. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing and Murder by the Barrel in particular. Firstly, please could you tell me a little about yourself?
I’m a former journalist turned author. In the past, I’ve been a model, actor, air stewardess and disc jockey, and I live on the Kent coast with two cats and occasional returning children.
Without spoiling the plot, please could you tell us a bit about Murder by the Barrel?
Steeple Martin, the village where Libby Sarjeant lives, is hosting its first beer festival, which is somewhat marred by Libby’s discovery of a body. She and her friends, of course, get drawn into the investigation.
Why do you write?
Sorry about this, but it pays the bills…
(I think that’s a fabulous answer Lesley – so many people ask authors what their ‘proper’ job is aside from writing. Good for you!)
When did you realise you were going to be a writer?
It rather grew on me after Which Computer asked me to write an article 35 years ago.
What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I’m rather haphazard about routine, but I do have my own office where most of the work gets done.
How has teaching writing affected your own craft?
I suppose it clarified my thoughts. It surprised me, too. But I don’t think it actually affected my writing. I’ve long since decided no one can be taught how to write, only the practicalities of the business. This is not to decry those who still teach it – I have the greatest respect for people like Sue Moorcroft, whom I’ve known for years. We shared a publisher for a while, both having written “HowTo” books. Mine was on Pantomime!
(I love Sue Moorcroft too!)
You studied for an MA in Creative writing. What was the most valuable thing you learnt about writing during that time?
I met my publisher! Apart from that – nothing. See answer above! It was a very early MA, taught mainly by Worthy Welsh Poets. I knew more about the publishing industry than they did.
As well as murder stories, you also write romances under another name. How far do the two genres overlap and how far do they differ?
I’m answering this in self defence! I don’t do romance! Those two were written in the 1980s and republished under a pen name to preserve my anonymity by my publishers, Accent Press. Like a lot of people, I was under the misapprehension that anybody could knock off a Mills and Boon. No, they can’t. I now number several romantic authors among my best friends, including two Mills and Boon best sellers, and I’m ashamed of my former attitude.
(I think many others may have had that same attitude Lesley!)
Murder by the Barrel has a cover that reminds me of an old master painting and makes me think of a traditional, Agatha Christie type book . How did that image come about and what were you hoping to convey (without spoiling the plot please!)?
My publisher decides on the cover images, merely asking me if I approve before they go in the catalogue!
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
My own genre, and a lot of it!
About Lesley Cookman
Lesley Cookman writes the Libby Sarjeant Mysteries and the Edwardian mystery series, The Alexandrians. She has a varied background as a model, an air stewardess (when it was posh), a nightclub DJ (in a silver sparkly catsuit), editor of a Music Hall magazine, The Call Boy, a magazine called The Poulty Farmer, and pantomime writer and director. She lives on the Kent coast and has four grown up children who are variously musicians and writers, two grandchildren and two cats, not necessarily in that order.
Thanks to Brook Cottage Books and Lesley, for your chance to win one of two e-copies of Murder by the Barrel click here.
Please note this giveaway is run independently of Linda’s Book Bag.