Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Anthea Fraser and A Tangled Thread

It's strange but true that, despite having posted more than 2000 pieces on this blog since its inception, there are still a good many authors of note whom I have yet to cover. The number includes quite a few authors with whom I've been friendly for a long time,and someone who comes into that category is Anthea Fraser. 

Anthea was already a very well-established author when I first met her and her late husband at a CWA conference many years ago. I read quite a number of her books featuring DCI Webb- twelve of the titles in the series had titles with a shared link, all taken from "Green Grow the Rushes-O". It's a series that I can heartily recommend. She's also written a wide variety of other books, and the publication by Severn House of her latest, A Tangled Thread, prompted me to invite her to contribute a guest post. I'm glad to say that she accepted, and here is what Anthea has to say - I was particularly interested to learn of her map-drawing approach to her craft, which I wasn't previously aware of:

"My mother was a published novelist and I’ve been writing virtually all my life. My first novels were on paranormal themes with a crime element in them, and I then turned to straight crime with sixteen books featuring DCI Dave Webb. I’m now working on the tenth about Rona Parish, a biographer and freelance journalist. What I enjoy about a series is that the settings and characters are ready waiting for you when you embark on a new book – like walking into a strange room and seeing people you know.

I also enjoy the freedom of stand-alones involving characters whose story will be completed within the covers of one book, and tend to write them alternately with the series. My latest novel, A Tangled Thread, is an example, where three separate stories are gradually and unexpectedly brought together. Families fascinate me and the tensions between them – the loves, hates, jealousies, rivalries and ultimate loyalties – are, I find, perfect ingredients for a crime story.

Before I start to write, I draw detailed maps and plans of my locations, and sometimes tear out illustrations of interiors from magazines to use as rooms in the main house in the book. By describing houses and streets in some detail, I hope to make readers feel as at home in the environs of the book as I do."

I’m lucky enough to have very vivid dreams which I’m able to remember when I wake, and in fact dreamed the plot of at least one novel and several short stories, which was very useful!


Kacper said...

Thanks for featuring this post, Martin! I do very much enjoy Anthea's books, both the David Webb and the Rona Parish novels. This was really interesting! The details about maps and interiors are fascinating.

Sue said...

I am sure you did an appreciation of Anthea Fraser a few years ago?

I really enjoy her books and in fact currently have one of her books out on loan from the library.

Totally unconnected, but I've just read Hazel Holt's last book "Death is a word" and I love her dedication to her readers. It's interesting how close we feel to authors and their characters - I will miss Sheila Malory.

Martin Edwards said...

Kacper, thanks. And thanks to you, Sue. I did a quick check on the search function, and couldn't find anything I'd written about Anthea, but I've certainly admired her books for a long time. Hazel Holt is someone I read many years ago but then lost touch with.