About the Book
Tell us a bit about your novel.
It’s really a novelette,(I have a full-length novel in preparation at the moment); a ghost tale set between the 16th century and 1930. The traditional haunted house is the theme – only I hope with a bit of a chill and a splosh of humour.
What gave you the idea for your book? How long did it take you to write?
It started with an image: a skeletal figure (probably left over from Thurnley Abbey and other tales) – dressed in cobwebs, holding out a rotting bouquet . . . I wanted to see how quickly I could write a novella/novelette of publishable length; it took a few weeks to complete, even so( that is, of time broken up between other commitments).
Which character was your favourite to create? Why?
I think most of them were my favourites: Lydia, ‘cause she has to act as hostess and find room for everyone on top of dealing with hysterics and unnerving incidents; Gregory perhaps, because he works it all out, is plucky and at the same time, gentle in a quiet way. But I think Gerry Torbin the historian , that ‘baggy haystack in tweeds, has a special place.
If you were asked to make a soundtrack for your novel, what songs would be on it?
I suppose anything from the 20s, like Charleston, Somebody Stole My Gal – as well as the music used in the trailer, by the talented Kevin Macleod : an excellent atmospheric piece : “Oppressive Gloom” : (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tJkOUmwMIk&feature=g-upl)
If your book was turned into a movie, who would you choose to play the leading characters?
Tricky – there are so many good UK character actors about ... I suppose if the budget could stretch from half of the Downton Abbey cast to half
What’s your writing process like? Was there a part that was difficult to write?
I tend to write in sections which then need to be sewn together; that can be ticklish but usually if I sleep on it . . . things tend to roll together.
Do you ever use real life experiences in your books?
Perhaps unconsciously something gets filtered through – not something I deliberately attempt to do.
About the author
What is a normal day for you? Take us through your usual routine.
Very mixed up – depends what I am doing – preparing a trailer, organising a tour, preparing a spotlight, writing (hah! Yes – even that . . . ) painting/illustrating . . .
When you’re not writing, what else do you like to do?
Would be nice to have time to read properly – painting too; would like to focus on Chinese painting and sculpture, and tons of other things – including gardening.
How do you balance real life (work, kids, getting prepared for the zombie apocalypse) with being an author?
Everything gets slotted together according to priority – and real life for me does also mean being an author. Every day is different ,so planning will vary – as will results!
Tell us about the day you found out your book was going to be published. How did you react?
It was rather quiet and all done by email; I think I felt a sense of relief – but because of the way things are, I don’t rely on anything until I see it out there – whether on a physical bookshelf or a virtual one.
Is there a certain book that has made a lasting impression on you?
Probably Wilkie Collins’s Moonstone; it has travelled with me everywhere; more recently , Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – but then, what about all the others? . . . impossible to choose really.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what five things would you want to have with you?
If I couldn’t have my laptop with internet access (;) ) then at least pen and paper. Probably an empty bottle too . . . and perhaps some seeds for growing vegetables. Might be a long winter there . . . and a tabby cat.
Going back to your high school years, what were they like? Do you think they shaped the person you are today?
Schooling was necessarily a patchwork affair, as my father’s work took us to various continents, so no very fixed memory of anything specific. Reading books – all books – I would say was the main aspect of the shaping process. I feel that if people are taught to at least read and write, they need never be bored or lacking creativity unless they choose to.
Red or white wine?
Red, from the Veneto : pinot nero or raboso.
Favourite movie/TV show/food/season?
Enjoying the latest season of New Tricks, Dr Who, and waiting impatiently for the next Sherlock series.
(B.Lloyd's author in crime, V.R. Christensen, will be spotlighted in a couple of weeks!)