The Morecambe & Vice Crime Writing Festival is taking place between Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of September at the Midlands Hotel in Morecambe.
Why not take a look at their website because they have a cracking line-up of events ~ https://www.morecambecrimefest.co.uk/
Welcome to booksaremycwtches Jennie Finch, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about yourself and your book as part of the Morecambe & Vice Blog Tour.
To start off with, a few questions about you as a writer and your novel.
•1 What inspired to become a writer?
I have always wanted to tell stories and began to write them down – albeit with very bad spelling – from an early age. It helped me make sense of the world and place myself somewhere I felt in control. My mother kept my first real offering, written when I was eight, and I found it when going through her scrap book recently. I’ve attached it for your amusement!
•2 What was the inspiration for your book?
I took a module on writing detective and mystery stories for my MA and the tutor told us to begin with a strong setting. The setting, she said, should be a character in the story. I lived in Somerset for 5 years in the 1980s and found the Levels beautiful, evocative and rather creepy, especially at night. They seemed perfect as a starting point and the characters and plots grew from this. I have some experience of working alongside probation officers from this time too so I had a good foundation for the books.
•3 If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
There was some debate about this amongst my friends. Several thought Amelia Fox should play Alex but I see her as more hesitant and less physically neat. My choice would be Anna Maxwell Martin. Pam Ferris would be perfect for Ada and maybe Freddie Highmore for the hapless Kevin. I was tempted by Philip Glenister for Derek but I decided to keep him in reserve for the next few books and cast him as Tom from “The Drowners” onwards!
Bloggers and writers
•4 There has been a huge amount of debate within the blogging community about posting reviews of books they have not liked! Do you read book reviews and how do you feel about the idea of bad review?
I do read reviews but try to keep in mind they are always subjective to some extent. I think it is important to know what people think about the books. After all, I want them to keep reading! I have also agreed with a number of comments people have made and I think this can help me become a better writer.
•5 In a time where more and more authors are self publishing, do you think that bloggers and authors working together have the power to influence the success of a book? To give a voice to smaller publishing houses and emerging talent, that don’t have big publicity budgets to work with?
I think they are vital. There are so many books (especially self-published books) now and it is very hard to be noticed outside of the few big publishing houses. This is especially true when the major sellers only stock the “top 100 bestsellers”. I would include the wonderful work done by Independent book shops in this as they can give a space and opportunity to a new or local writer.
•6 Who is your favourite author to read?
My absolute favourite is the American sci-fi writer Sheri S Tepper. I have everything she ever wrote, even obscure short stories and books written under another name and re-read them regularly. They never disappoint.
•7 Just because I’m curious about other people’s reading tastes, what is your favourite under-appreciated novel?
When I was 13 my family moved to a new town with a much bigger library – the only good thing about the whole event for me. I discovered a book by Sheila Grahame called “Things have gone to Pieces” and borrowed it at least once a month for years. It is a little strange and a little depressing (perfect for a lonely teenager) but I found it very comforting in an odd way. I was so happy to find a copy in Barter Books several years ago.
•8 If you could be a character in a book, which would you choose?
I think I’d like to be one of the Dragon Riders from Anne McCaffrey’s “Pern” series, just so I could fly.
•9. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I spend some time looking after our four dogs. One is very old and needs careful walking and a lot of company.
I have always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles. My mother started me on them when I was young as a way of developing my spatial skills and visual memory, though she probably didn’t articulate it quite like that. I find I do some of my best “deep thinking” whilst doing a jigsaw and often solve writing problems without meaning to.
My guilty pleasure is playing computer games, especially simulations such as the Civilization series. I’m not a fan of battle games and actually get car sick playing driving sims. I need something with a narrative.
Cwtch is the welsh word for a hug. It’s about snuggling and cuddling. It has elements of loving and protecting. It can also a safe place in a room or in the hearts of those that care about you and whom you care about. It can be an embrace shared between a parent and a child or lover’s . You can also give a non-romantic cwtch, a heartfelt hug to a friend or someone who simply needs to be comforted.
Who would you want to share a cwtch with? Doesn’t have to be a celebrity if you don’t want it to be!
My immediate choice would be my wonderful partner without whom I would not be the writer I am today. But also –
I would like to share a cwtch with my cousin, Aroha, in New Zealand. When I found my “missing” family she welcomed me in, shared her life and made me feel like a real member of the family. She’s had a hard year so far so maybe a cwtch would make her feel better.
About Jennie Finch
I did not expect to be a crime writer. Although I have always read a lot of crime and detective novels I always thought my work leaned more towards science fiction or horror so no-one was more surprised than I when “Death of the Elver Man” was short-listed for the Impress Prize in 2010 under its original (and rather insipid) title “On the Level”. Since its publication I have been working on the series which now consists of “The Drowners”, (published in January 2013), “The Mothman” (September 2014) and “Smoke and Adders” (September 2016). I am exploring the idea of writing some shorter, stand-alone stories based around specific characters from the novels. Ada Mallory will probably feature in the first but if there are specific people you would like to read about, please visit my web page and leave a request.
Whilst I was never a probation officer like Alex I do live with an ex-probation officer and in the 1980s did a lot of work with offenders and young people at risk. I used to teach psychology for the Open University and still assess and tutor students and young people with learning difficulties.
A note about the setting.
The Somerset I write about is in many ways a lost world. It is the place I remember rather fondly from my time there and though geographically it is as accurate as I can make it, a lot has changed in the past 20 years or so. Some changes are for the better – areas of the Levels themselves are now rich sites for wildlife and rare plants and the industries on these precious lands are far more aware and responsible than in the past. The mix of people living in the towns has changed however and new hazards such as the flood last November (2011) may alter the fabric of the area once again.
The Carnival is still a major feature of life in the towns and if you have the opportunity go and see it for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
You follow the author on https://www.jenniefinch.me.uk/biography/