Why we love crime!

Walk into any bookshop and you will see a whole host of fictional genres – history, romance, supernatural, science fiction, thrillers…and crime.  And, even if you’re not a reader, you can turn the TV on and discover a whole host of great dramas featuring crimes and criminals.

So, what is it about the criminal mind that fascinates us?

It would be very enlightening to have a conversation with Agatha Christie today to see what she thinks of the modern day crime writing – but also to discover why she started writing crime fiction in the first place.

Her first full-length novel was ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’, published in 1920.  It was in this book that  she introduced the Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, and the rest, as they say, is history!

It’s no wonder, then that heroine Janie Juke, young librarian and amateur sleuth, has been avidly following her hero Poirot, hoping to learn all there is to know about the criminal mind.

Find out how she does in the Janie Juke trilogy – The Sussex Crime Mysteries –  available now for pre-order as a compilation – at a special pre-birthday price!  Oh, did I forget to mention…on the 15th September is the great Agatha Christie’s birthday!  But until then you can grab yourself a bargain – it’s so cheap it’s criminal!

 

Learning from Agatha Christie

With her birthday on the horizon, I’ve been finding out more about that wonderful Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie – delving into her life to get a glimpse of what inspired her to write over 100 books!

Agatha Christie lived a full life – grasping opportunities to explore and to learn about people, places, experiences.  It seems to me that it was a life well lived.  Inevitably that spilled into her writing and her energy and enthusiasm meant that she just kept on going – writing and living.

Having recently read her biography, I have discovered some interesting facts about her.  Here are some of them:

·        her ideas for plots, characters and settings came in a random way – she filled numerous notebooks, but there was no order or organisation to her note-taking

·        she lived a busy life outside of her writing and was prepared to try her hand at all sorts of pursuits – even windsurfing!

·        she travelled extensively

·        she loved her privacy.

And, of course, over the years, many crime authors and scriptwriters have learned some tricks of the trade from Agatha Christie.

So, where does Janie Juke fit in?  Well, she is a young librarian with a passion for amateur sleuthing, having learned her trade from the great Hercule Poirot!  Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, the Janie Juke crime mysteries are perfect for everyone one loves a good whodunit!

Now, to help celebrate the birthday of our wonderful Queen of Crime, you can buy the whole Janie Juke trilogy in one compilation.

The Sussex Crime Mysteries is available now for pre-order via Amazon at a special discounted price for just eight more days – don’t delay, the clock is ticking…

 

 

 

 

Why is Agatha Christie so famous?

While reading about Agatha Christie I have tried to deduce what it was about her writing that made her as famous and well-loved as she was – and still is.

Here are some thoughts:

·        Agatha Christie lived for 85 years and was writing for most of those years – her first book was published in 1920 – when she was thirty years old, and she was still getting great reviews for newly published works in the 1970s – fifty years later

·        her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been read by millions

·        it seems to me that her focus was always the story – she loved the psychology of crime – creating twists and turns throughout to keep her readers guessing.

In the words of her biographer:

‘Agatha’s books last because they are good, if sometimes hopelessly improbable stories.  The reader, once hooked, wants to know what happens next.  They deal with myths, fantasies, obsessions shared by people of every sort: quests and contests, death, sex, money, murder, conspiracy, transformation, power, the triumph of the simple over the complex, the importance of the mundane as well as the cosmic.  They construct a pattern, assigning facts and emotions to their appointed place as problems are resolved and guilt and innocence established.’

‘Agatha Christie – A biography’ by Janet Morgan (published 2017)

So, where does Janie Juke fit in?  Well, she is a young librarian with a passion for amateur sleuthing, having learned her trade from the great Hercule Poirot!  Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, the Janie Juke crime mysteries are perfect for everyone one loves a good whodunit!

Now, to help celebrate the birthday of our wonderful Queen of Crime, you can buy the whole Janie Juke trilogy in one compilation.

The Sussex Crime Mysteries is available now for pre-order via Amazon at a special discounted price for just ten more days – don’t delay, the clock is ticking…

A promise of a better life

On 29th August 2018  BBC News reported that some of the child migrants who were sent to Australia from the UK are planning to sue the UK Government.  The article explains…

Between 1945-70, some 4,000 children were separated from their families and sent to Australia and Zimbabwe.

The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) considered the children who were forcibly relocated in the post-war period.

A scheme saw children from deprived backgrounds who were often already in social care – some as young as three years old – sent away with the promise of a better life.

I have read many of the accounts bravely shared by victims of this dreadful policy – children who were costing the UK too much to look after within the residential care system.  The ‘cheaper’ option was to send them off to Commonwealth countries who were looking for ‘good white British stock’.

It makes your heart break.

These and many other stories inspired me to write The Forgotten Children  – in the hope that it will increase awareness about this terrible period in British history.

The Forgotten Children is available now for pre-order from Amazon and will be published on November 29th.

 

Best-selling author of all time!

Any guesses as to who is the most read author in the world? Well, according to a recent Wikipaedia article, it is Agatha Christie – who has estimated sales of between two and four billion!  Even beating the bard, William Shakespeare!

Hercule Poirot appeared in 33 of her published ‘whodunits’ – which numbered 85 in total – not forgetting her  numerous short stories.

It’s no surprise then that young librarian,  Janie Juke, has learned so much from the great man that she has become a successful amateur sleuth.  In the fictional Sussex seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, Janie enlists the help of friends and family to solve crimes and mysteries – with her notebook at the ready and Poirot’s advice always on hand.

Agatha Christie was born on 15th September 1890.

And now, to help celebrate the birthday of our wonderful Queen of Crime, you can buy all three books of the Janie Juke trilogy in one compilation.

The Sussex Crime Mysteries is available now for pre-order via Amazon at a special discounted price of £5.99 for just 13 days – don’t delay, the clock is ticking…

Not lost, but abandoned

It was 1986 when Nottinghamshire social worker, Margaret Humphreys, was first contacted by a former child migrant in Australia.  She was asked if she could help track down his family in the UK.  That was just the start of a long journey for Margaret, and for the many individuals and families she has helped since that day.

In 1987 she established the Child Migrants Trust, which continues to do vital work in tracking down families and raising awareness.

Here is an excerpt from the Child Migrants Trust website that explains a little of what the children were subjected to:

‘After being told fanciful tales of travel to the ‘Land of Milk and Honey‘, where children ride to school on horseback, child migrants were sent abroad without passports, social histories or even basic documents such as a full birth certificate. Brothers and sisters were frequently separated for most of their childhood; some were loaded onto trucks for long journeys to remote institutions, only to be put to work as labourers the next day. Many felt an extreme sense of rejection by their family and country of origin. Others felt like characters from Kafka’s novels; their punishment was obvious – exile from their family and homeland – but the nature of their crime was a complete mystery.

The tragic reality for many child migrants was appalling standards of care which fell well below standards found within British institutions. Children as young as seven, sent to institutions in Western Australia, were involved in construction works without basic safety measures. Many were injured in building accidents at an age when they would have been in school if they had remained in the United Kingdom.’

Families were torn apart – many never to find each other again.  In a recent news article (Daily Mirror, 30th August 2018) Rex Wade – one of the last child migrants to be sent to Australia in 1970 – tells his story:

“The whole experience ruined my life. We were treated like slaves. It was wrong and should never have happened.”

These and many other stories inspired me to write The Forgotten Children  – in the hope that it will increase awareness about this terrible period in British history.

The Forgotten Children is available now for pre-order from Amazon and will be published on November 29th.

The Queen of Crime!

On the 15th September 1890 Agatha Christie was born.  She started writing novels  in her early twenties and a hundred years later her books are still being read by millions!

Among those readers is Janie Juke, young librarian and amateur sleuth, whose hero is Hercule Poirot.  Janie has made a name for herself in the sleepy seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, where she uses all she has learned from Poirot to solve crimes and mysteries.

The Janie Juke mysteries are set in Sussex in the late 1960s – when Agatha Christie’s books were already famous the world over.

Now, to help celebrate the birthday of our wonderful Queen of Crime, you can buy the whole Janie Juke trilogy in one compilation.

The Sussex Crime Mysteries is available now for pre-order via Amazon at a special discounted price for just 15 days – don’t delay, the clock is ticking…

The Forgotten Children

I will let the words of the Child Migrants Trust tell this story…

‘Britain is the only country in the world with a sustained history of child migration. Only Britain has used child migration as a key part of its child care strategy over four centuries rather than as a last resort during times of war or civil unrest.

The reality of this policy was to remove children, some as young as three years old from their mothers and fathers, from all that was familiar to them, and to ship them thousands of miles away from their home country to institutions in distant lands within the Commonwealth. Many of these children were removed without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

In the post-war period, child migrants as young as three were shipped to Canada, New Zealand, the former Rhodesia and Australia, a practice that continued as late as 1970.’

It is only as a result of the tireless work of Nottinghamshire social worker, Margaret Humphreys, that much of the truth has come to light.

When I first found out about the child migrants I was shocked.  Then I was angry and that anger inspired me to write a book.  I realised the best way to help the thousands of people affected by this dreadful policy that lasted for decades, was to raise awareness.

The Forgotten Children follows the journey of a mother, whose child was taken from her at birth.  It is fiction, but based on the many factual accounts I read while researching the book.

By telling the fictional story of Emily’s search for her child, I hope The Forgotten Children will encourage more people to be shocked and angry.  Perhaps then the individuals and families affected will finally receive the support they deserve.

The Forgotten Children is available now for pre-order from Amazon and will be published on November 29th.

Isabella Muir joins me to share her #selfpublishing journey ~@SussexMysteries #Sussex #CrimeMysteries #indieauthor #selfpub #amwriting #amediting #CreatingPerfection

Some insight into the publishing journey for an indie author…

Creating Perfection ~ Freelance Fiction Editor

It’s been a while since I last featured a self published author case study so I’m delighted to have Isabella Muir share her journey with me today.

Thanks for joining me, Isabella, could you introduce yourself and tell us when your journey began?

I am Isabella Muir and my writing journey began in earnest about four years ago when I completed my MA in Professional Writing

Tell us about where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish, etc.

Towards the end of last year, I published two novels and I have just completed the first draft of the third in the same series. My novels are in the crime/mystery genre, set in the last 1960s in Sussex.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I love the independence it gives you.

What’s the best thing about self-publishing?

As an indie author I…

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Wolf Summer!

How about this for a chilling break to our heatwave…wolves amid the wildfires of Denmark…

Christoffer Petersen

After 199 years, the wolf has returned to Denmark. Big wolves, similar in size to Timber Wolves, cross the border from Germany. The first was spotted back in 2012, which was interesting, as I was living way north – practically in white wolf country – in Qaanaaq, at the top of Greenland. I did live in polar bear country, and bought a shotgun at the supermarket – as you do – at the suggestion of a local hunter. The area around Qaanaaq is a denning area for bears. But, despite bears coming in the night, I didn’t see one, and no wolves in the two years I lived there. But, wolves were in Denmark, and it made the move back a little more palatable.

The Danish nature was/is rewilding.

But wolves have a habit of stirring up trouble, regardless of statistics, and that got me wondering. The idea of Paint…

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