…one of the great ‘buzzes’ yeez get from being part of the universal quill-scraper family is to acquire marvellous new pals… and they just happen to be wunnerful scribblers into the bargain… today’s Guest Blogger is high on my ‘favs’ charts… meet Authoress, Frances di Plino… she has a new title launching on October 28th… LOOKING FOR A REASON…
…it’s the fourth in the Detective Inspector Paolo Storey series… the courageous Ms di Plino (p’raps foolishly) agreed to allow me to throw a few kinda ‘wobbler-type’ questions her way… if D.I. Paolo is able to react as ably as she has done, we’re all in safe hands… here’s the gig:
- Your main character, Inspector Paolo Storey is a highly credible personality. Is he crafted on anybody (or anybodies) in real life?
He is a composite of several men I have cared deeply about over the years – which is why I’m more than half in love with the man.
- Your novels are gripping and psychological in certain aspects. On a scale of 1 (low) to 10, how unhinged are you? Reasons for your answer?
I would say I’m about a 15 or thereabouts. I always tell my husband as long as I’m writing crime he doesn’t need to worry, but the moment I hang up my keyboard he should run and never look back.
- What was the first book you ever disliked as a read?
I can’t remember the title, but it was one of Georgette Heyer’s detective novels. I’d devoured her entire Regency and historical list and discovered she also wrote detective fiction, so bought one and was really looking forward to it. I hated it – one of the few books I couldn’t finish.
- Do you see the eBook phenomenon as the Big Baddie or a Heaven-sent development for you as an authoress?
As a writer, I think it’s a wonderful invention as the vast bulk of my sales are in that form. The only downside would be if I couldn’t sign copies and interact with readers out there in the real world, which is why I’m really pleased Crooked Cat Publishing also has my novels in paperback.
As a reader, I love my kindle, but there are still a few authors where I buy the paperbacks.
- The 64-trillion dollar question—how much balance do you give to the actual writing of your works versus activity on the social networks?
I probably don’t do anywhere near enough promotion on social networks – mainly because I find it hard to shout out about myself. I find it much easier to help other authors with their promotions. So, to answer your question, I would say it’s 80% writing and rewriting and only 20% social network activity. Must try harder!
- How long between finishing your first novel until publication? Any teeth-gnashing or hair-tearing-out during that process?
Bad Moon Rising, the first in the D.I. Paolo Storey series, was finished in 2009 and made it as far as the acquisitions stage in a publishing house before it was rejected. I then submitted to Crooked Cat Publishing in 2011 where it was accepted almost immediately and published in 2012. So, no, I think I had a fairly easy ride on that one.
My children’s novel, Vlad the Inhaler, was a completely different story. Finished in 2005, eventually found an agent in 2008, had near misses with the top houses for the next few years, went almost bald from tearing out hair on a daily basis, parted company with agent in 2011, submitted to US publisher in 2012, accepted in 2013 and published in 2014.
- What are the most difficult areas in doing a ‘series’, and the easiest?
For me, the most difficult aspect is feeding in the backstory of the characters and events from the earlier books without giving away any important plot points. I hate it if I read a book in a series out of sequence and I find out stuff that spoils the earlier books for me.
The easiest part is character development. The more I write in my series, the better I get to know the characters – what they will and won’t do or say. I know exactly how each of them would react in any given situation. They are very real to me and seem to be to my readers as well, judging by the feedback I get.
- How often do you catch yourself talking to your characters in public?
See question 2! It’s one of the reasons I’m a 15 on the madness scale. I talk to them, they talk to me All. The. Bloody. Time. The buggers won’t shut up!
I once wrote in my Writing Magazine column about an experience I had in France talking to some frozen peas about the best way to cut up a body. I looked up to find I was being observed by a nervous looking woman on the other side of the frozen food aisle. Fortunately, I don’t think she understood English. Had she done so, I would now be in a nice padded cell parlez-vousing to the walls.
- How do you define ‘being successful’ with respect to your writing.
Having people tell me they enjoyed the books. I was at a business event last night and a delegate came up to me to say she’d bought the first in the series for a friend, who’d finished it in two days and was raving about how good it was (or maybe she was just raving). Anyway, that kind of feedback is how I measure my success.
Of course I want to earn megabucks (so please buy my books) but it is genuinely more important to me that readers love the series.
10. Your first television series detective you can recall? What traits of that detective stuck out?
I’m going to show my age now. As a child I know I watched Dixon of Dock Green, but can’t remember too much about the storylines. I think the earliest I can truly recall was Starsky and Hutch. I loved the humour and interaction of the main characters.
11. Chewing gum for the brain’ or ‘complicated plot line’ movies?
Yes to both. There are times when I simply want to be entertained – make me laugh or make me cry, but don’t make me think. At other times, I want to watch something that requires concentration and thought.
12. What’s your ‘go to’ comfort food and drink?
Fish and chips. During the years I lived in France, fish and chips were something I longed for, but couldn’t have. Fish in batter with chips? Sacre bleu! Then we moved to Spain on the Costa del Sol, where there are probably more Brit restaurants than Spanish, so I can indulge my weakness when feeling low.
13. This is question ‘13’. Do you have any superstitions?
Yes, I have a phobia about that number. In my children’s novels I number my chapters 12, 12A, 14.
14. Favourite male and female film stars?
Idris Elba and Philip Glenister
The dames: Judy Dench and Maggie Smith
15. When you win the Booker prize, who will you thank first?
All the people I bribed along the way.
16. Worst and best subjects at college?
Dreadful at French – although after the years in France, where I arrived barely able to say hello and goodbye, I ended up able to hold conversations on quite complex subjects.
Good at English and maths – still okay with the English, but anything to do with maths now fries my brain.
17. Do you play or watch sports?
I used to play league tennis and am still a great tennis fan, but now more to watch than participate. In the summer I swim for half an hour most days and the rest of the year I walk and/or run.
18. What’s your idea of a fun evening?
Now you’re getting personal! Hmm, it would depend on the time of year and my mood. I love spending time with family and friends, so going out for a meal with lots of laughter around the table is the absolute best.
19. Things you would not do over again?
Agree to answer interview questions! Seriously, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do over again. There are plenty of things I would hate to have to go through over again, but I’d still do them because I really like where I am right now and if I changed an element in the past, I might not arrive in the same place.
20. How long until the subsequent novel after Looking for a Reason?
I’m already well into number five with a proposed publication date in August 2015. Working title: No Easy Sacrifice
Frances di Plino is the pen name of Lorraine Mace, children’s author, humour columnist for Writing Magazine and a competition judge for Writers’ Forum. She is a former tutor for the Writers Bureau, and now runs a private critique and mentoring service for writers.
Writing as Frances di Plino, she is the author of the crime/thriller series featuring D.I. Paolo Storey: Bad Moon Rising, Someday Never Comes, Call It Pretending and Looking for a Reason
…well fielded on my ‘wobblers’, Frances, now the rest of yeez, get cracking and catch her novels here :
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