Monday, 27 June 2016

Q & A with Louise Marley

1.             Did you always dream of being a writer?

No, around the age of ten I wanted to be a movie star, and then a rock star! Unfortunately I can’t act or sing, so that was short-lived.

2.             How did your writing career develop?

I began by writing short stories for the women’s magazine market but got my break by entering Poolbeg’s ‘Write a Bestseller’ competition. I didn’t win but I was shortlisted – and they offered me a three book contract.

3.             You have written a lot of books, can you tell us about your most recent one?

Trust Me I Lie is a murder mystery with a little bit of humour and romance. Milla Graham arrives in the picture-perfect village of Buckley to investigate the murder of her mother. But there’s already one Milla Graham buried in the churchyard and another about to be found dead in the ruined family mansion. So she must be lying, right?

4.             What was your inspiration for the book?

Several ideas came together to inspire this story. While on one of my walks I came across a ruined Georgian manor house, almost at one with the forest surrounding it. This became the inspiration for the burnt-out Graham family mansion. I’d also recently re-watched a movie called The Brothers Grimm, which has lots of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them fairy tale references, and I thought it would be fun to write a story in the same way. The heroine’s mother was an artist, illustrating classic fairy stories, so this is not quite as random as it sounds!

5.             Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Milla is a journalist specialising in reviewing gigs and festivals. She won’t commit to a relationship and she can’t settle in one place. Although she has an apartment she lives out of her car, and has no memory of how she received the strange, burn-like scars on the palms of her hands.

DI Ben Taylor grew up in a family of criminals but was determined to leave all that behind and become the perfect police officer. Dependable and reliable, even his colleagues think he’s a stick-in-the-mud. But he’s about to meet Milla – and his safe, comfortable life will be completely turned upside down.

6.             How would you describe your style of writing?

I didn’t realise I had a writing style until I tried to ghost-write for somebody else! No matter how hard I tried, my own irreverent humour kept coming through. I’d love to be able to write a dark, noir-ish thriller but I can’t. My characters would probably crack a joke at an inappropriate moment. So I’ll stick to writing romcoms and murder-mysteries.

7.             Where and when do you write your stories?

In theory, I’m a full-time novelist. In practice, I often spend my time writing other things. I’m a creative writing tutor, so sometimes I’m marking assignments or writing critiques. In the past, I’ve ghost-written fiction for others but now I prefer to write my own.

I’m lucky enough have my own study but I also enjoy writing outside when the weather is fine. I do have to have music playing though!

8.             What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

I live in a very beautiful part of North Wales, so when I’m not working I like to get out and explore – especially the medieval castles, they have fascinating histories.

9.             If you could switch places with a character from a book, who would it be and why?

Someone from a Jilly Cooper novel, because they always seem to lead such glamorous lives.

10.         What books have most influenced your life most?

There are several authors who have influenced me. The first was Enid Blyton and her Adventure series. Also Jilly Cooper’s humour, Harlan Coben’s twists, Anne Stuart’s dark heroes, Kathy Reich’s strong heroine, and Stephen King for everything else.

11.         What are you working on at the moment?

I have two books planned. One is a sequel to Trust Me I Lie, the other is a romantic comedy.

12.         What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love creating characters, giving them problems to solve – and then making their lives hell!

13.         Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

First I’d pick Stephen King, because he’s my absolute hero – although I’d be so nervous I wouldn’t know what to say to him. So I’d better pick Oscar Wilde too, who would have no trouble keeping us all entertained, and hopefully no one would notice his tendency to recycle his jokes. And finally Charlotte Bronte, because she wrote one of my favourite books, Jane Eyre.

14.         Imagine any of your books would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

I’d love to see Trust Me I Lie turned into a movie. For Milla I’d pick Sasha Agha, and for Ben I’d choose Tom Mison, who plays the part of Ichabod Crane in one of my favourite TV shows, Sleepy Hollow.

15.         You also have a blog, what kind of posts do you publish?

I find it hard to talk about my personal life on social media as some writers do, so I set up my blog as a way of sharing information about myself and my books. My blog posts are usually about the inspiration behind my stories, and my visits to various old houses and castles around Wales.

16.         Coffee or tea?

Coffee! We were once without power for three days and the thing I missed most was coffee! My husband very kindly drove to the local store and bought me back takeaways!

17.         Paperback or e-reader?

I never leave the house without my Kindle. I get through 2 or 3 books a week, mostly romance or crime.

18.         Mountains or the sea?

I love the views from the mountains (OK, hills) around my home but they are such hard work to climb, so I’ll say the sea!

19.         Summer or winter?

I love snow at Christmas, so long as I’m not actually out in it. Apart from that, winter doesn’t have a lot to recommend it. I’ll choose summer.

20.         Sweet or salty?

In addition to coffee my other addiction is chocolate, both of which are very bad for me!

Louise Marley

Louise Marley writes murder mysteries and romcoms. She lives in Wales, surrounded by fields of sheep, and has a beautiful view of Snowdon from her window.
Her first published novel was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which was a finalist in Poolbeg’s ‘Write a Bestseller’ competition. She has also written articles for the Irish press and short stories for UK women’s magazines such as Take a Break and My Weekly.
Her latest novel is Trust Me I Lie.


Twitter: @LouiseMarley

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