– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Broken’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.
What if you lost the memory of who you are?
What if you had to pick up the loose ends of life that wasn’t yours?
What if you had to fight somebody else’s battles?
What would YOU do ?
Camilla’s life will never be the same after her beloved son Christopher is sent to prison .
Father Joseph’s faith is sorely tested when a deranged psychopath uses the sanctity of the confessional to gloat about his most heinous crimes.
Both Camilla and Joseph are paralysed by doubt and inaction.
But then their lives collide…
BROKEN explores where it takes a stranger to break through one’s bindings and inhibitions in order to do the right thing.
It is a story of a mother’s love for her son and a priest’s blind adherence to the seal of confession.
It is a story about Fate’s intervention.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I became an author (well, maybe not an author, but definitely a writer after a fashion) as soon as I became a reader. I wrote “books” from an early age, usually shameless and pale imitations of my favourite writers, and I personally illustrated them by copy-tracing pictures from my father’s encyclopaedia. There were a few harder images which I actually cut out and glued into my “books”. (sorry, Dad).
Writing has been my escape throughout my extensive travels when I would find myself suspended between my old, familiar worlds and the new, alien ones. When you are a newcomer in a new unfamiliar world, writing about what you know keeps you grounded and sane. I wrote my first serious novel when I lived in total isolation and obscurity, jobless and teetering on the verge of depression, in the touristy town of Rotorua in New Zealand. That book was personal and cathartic, and will probably only be published after I’m dead (if at all).
Although I was always planning to be a writer, I actually trained to be a lawyer and spent many bemused years practising law. Originally I dreamt of studying Russian literature, or archaeology, or philosophy, or journalism. My parents greeted all of those ideas with disdain, but they said they would support me if I went for something sensible, like law or education. Indeed, after years in law, I requalified as a teacher and spent another decade doing … something other than writing books. But I never stopped dreaming of becoming a writer.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I loved Jules Verne and read all of his books from my school library. Some of them I read more than once. If I saw a new cover for the title I’d already read, I would try it again just in case Mr Verne had added something new to the story (I didn’t realise he was long dead). When I ran out of Verne’s books, I immediately embarked on writing follow-up stories featuring his characters who I could not bring myself to say goodbye to. I think nowadays you’d call that fan-fiction.
I don’t read Jules Verne as a grown-up, but I will watch every adaption of his books, including animations. They just take me back in time to happier days.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
So many of them for so many different reasons, but perhaps I should mention Ruth Rendell. I love her suspense and psychological thrillers, especially those written as Barbara Vine. I would ask for some tips on balancing pace and action with introspection and tension building. She was a master at getting into the villain’s head without losing compassion for the victim and compromising her wider social awareness.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
For tea? Hm… There are a few characters I’d love to have a word with but I’m not sure I’d want them over for tea. So for tea – it’d have to be afternoon tea with Belgian pastries and chocolates – I would invite Hercule Poirot. And maybe Miss Marple could join us. I imagine it would be a very pleasant afternoon and I could rake their brains for a tensely plotted murder case.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Oh yes! Who doesn’t? I start with a lot of pacing and thinking; sometimes I think aloud – that’s a euphemism for talking to myself. Then I scour Twitter and online news for the purpose of procrastination. I make coffee and light a candle. Sometimes I add an incense cone so that my brain can bathe in aromatic fumes while thinking. I open my manuscript and promptly return online to check if anything new has occurred since I last looked (which was only some ten-fifteen minutes earlier). I make a fresh coffee as the old one has gone cold. I re-read and edit my previous chapter. Then I have a quick glance at my emails – you never know I may have been awarded a CBE for services to literature and need to respond to that quickly (can’t make the Queen wait!). At long last, if I have any time left before the dog walk, I write my next chapter. That may explain why my chapters are getting shorter.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Yes, but not unduly. I do borrow real-life events and model my characters on people I know, but if I am to be brutal by creating a nasty, evil personality in my story who is then promptly killed, the character will be so drastically altered that its prototype will be unrecognisable. I also mix and match people’s characteristics so nobody in my books is a faithful replica of a real person.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am a plotter who invariably becomes a pantser as the story unfolds. My storylines (as tightly-plotted as they are at their conception – following my aforesaid endless pacing and thinking) tend to go off the piste and meander through various detours, gaining unexpected (to me) twists and turns along the way. Usually they end up in the place I originally planned but getting there is another story altogether.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
My biggest mistake at the start of my writing journey was overwrought prose which I kept re-editing and “improving” endlessly. I tried too hard to be original. I devised too many and too fancy similes, metaphors and other linguistic features that caused my story and my pace to be lost in the jungle of words. And then I read Hilary Mantel’s advice which boils down to this five-point plan:
1. Keep your hand moving
2. No crossing out
3. Forget grammar
4. Forget logic
5. Embrace the scary
Can’t argue with Hilary Mantel.
What are your future plans as an author?
Okay, so this is my three-point plan:
But seriously, I want to continue with my existing crime fiction projects, but I also want to diversify a little into other genres, such as alternative history thrillers or black comedy, and just some genre-defiant writing that I will simply enjoy writing.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Put yourself in the shoes of a mother whose son is a convicted criminal. He’s her baby boy and she will never accept his guilt, not even when the evidence stares her in the face.
Put yourself in the shoes of a priest who is bound by the seal of confession. He hears the confessions of a dangerous psychopath, and he feels tainted by the man’s evil acts as he continues to harbour his secret.
Deep down the mother and the priest are paralysed by inertia. Wouldn’t you want to put them out of their misery? The question is how.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Anna Legat.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!