I am always fascinated to see the places where other writers live and work. When – twenty years ago, I can hardly believe it! - I first visited Greenaway, where Agatha Christie lived, I was greatly intrigued, and I mentioned a while back my pleasure at visiting Margaret Yorke in her delightful cottage, with a study crammed with books. And Eileen Dewhurst, now retired but a Wirral based writer of note, has a great set-up in her flat in Birkenhead.
Closer to home in Cheshire, Kate Ellis has for many years worked out in the garden in a specially designed garden room. But now she’s moved her study and workplace indoors. She is a gifted plotter, and it’s fascinating to see how she maps out her intricate mysteries in a very visual way. This is something I don’t do, but it’s a method that has a good deal to commend it, I think. And the success of Kate’s ingenious puzzles shows that it works very well in accomplished hands.
What Kate and I do have in common as writers is that we both know the solution to the main mystery from the outset. My own starting point is almost invariably an interesting motive for murder. And that is why I am not one of those crime writers who does not know where the story is going to wind up when they begin writing. But all methods are valid – they are simply a means to an end. What really matters is the quality of the end product.