I am delighted to welcome my good friend and fellow Swanicker, Elizabeth Ducie to the blog today. Her nonfiction books and thrillers are amongst the best I have encountered and now I find she is turning haer hand to cosy crime. I'm sure this new venture will be equally successful.
Writing has always been a big part of my life. After writing millions of words in the form of audit reports and training modules, I started writing creatively in 2006 and have independently published three collections of short stories, four novels, and a series of books on business skills for writers.
My novels were all based in far-flung places. They say you should write about what you know; and after thirty years travelling the less-developed parts of the world, I had plenty of experiences with which to work. I’ve set my books in Russia, Ukraine, Southern Africa, and Brazil. But each of my strong female protagonists has some connection with Devon.
After finishing my trilogy of thrillers in 2018, 1 took a year off fiction to get the characters and settings out of my head. I spent the year writing non-fiction and researching my next fiction project, which was going to be a complex time-slip set in Russia. Half-way through the year, I decided that was far too complicated and what I really wanted to write was a cosy murder mystery, set in the English countryside.
Living is a small semi-rural Devon community after an urban lifetime has been a fascinating experience. There’s so much going on; so much gossip - once over the garden fence, now on Facebook - and so much to smile about. I’d wanted to write about my new home for a while, but assumed I’d have to move house first! Then I started looking at how other writers deal with mixing fact and fiction.
And that’s how Coombesford was born! A fictional village, situated down the road from Chudleigh, with a local pub, very loosely based on an establishment not far from here. It allows me to mix places I visit all the time, with fictional characters and situations. And have fun!
Writers often say their characters take on a life of their own. I was convinced I wanted to move away from the Jones sisters. I started writing Counterfeit! in 2012 so they’d been around for 6 years. But it turns out, Charlie Jones is tired of life in London and has moved her little family to Devon, where they’ve taken over running The Falls, the pub at the heart of Coombesford.
Murder at Mountjoy Manor is the first in the series of Coombesford Chronicles. Think Midsomer Murders set in the Haldon Hills. It is due for publication in October and I’ve already started plotting out book 2 in the series. In the meantime, I’m publishing monthly short stories set in the village as a free gift for my newsletter readers. At the end of the year, I may well package those together for sale as well.
I am currently recruiting Advance Readers for my Murder at Mountjoy Manor launch team. If you fancy getting a free copy to read, and would be willing to give me a hand with the publicity push when we get to publication day, just drop me a line and I’ll add you to the list. The ARCs will be available to download from mid-July onward.
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