Murder is a Mystery
D.S. Nelson is not your ordinary writer there is this air of mystery that wafts from the words of her very intricate mind, creator of the Blake Hetherington Mysteries with a number of short stories, her creativity is very much built from her love of such classics as Miss Marple and the very nongiant Belgian detective Poirot.
We were lucky enough to catch up with this delightful author and have her take a seat in our authors’spotlight.
First off Dawn, I suppose the obvious question we have to ask is where did it all begin? This love of writing.
I think most writers will tell you that they have written all their life. This is certainly true for me. The first story I ever remember writing was when I was six and I wrote it in a notebook with a picture of Mr Busy on the front. It was about some aliens that landed on Wimbledon common and I had to tell them all about the wildlife found on the common. Unfortunately I no longer have this notebook in my possession. The old adage that we rarely value things until they are lost is very true.
In my teenage years I wrote songs and a truly awful play and the beginning of a novel. Fortunately I do not have these!
In the intervening years I made several false starts at novels always interrupted by the pressure of study or the day job until, that is, I found my genre – Cosy crime. That’s when the writing really started.
Your Blake Hetherington Mysteries look to be developing into a nice series where did the initial idea come for these and where did you get such wonderful covers they so fit the genre perfectly?
Blake’s character just came to me one day. I’d already written a full-length novel involving other characters, but I wasn’t happy with it and it remains in draft format.
Blake Hetherington was inspired by a picture I found in the family archives, of my great grandmothers hat shop.
I loved the idea of spending your days surrounded by hats of different shapes and sizes and then creating even more. Hats and their history have always interested me. I love a good hat! So Blake Hetherington was born; the mystery-solving milliner. He can tell a lot about a person through careful observation and the hat they wear.
The covers for the first two novelettes are pictures by a very talented artist and acquaintance Nancy Thompson. . I give her an idea of what I would like and she comes up with these wonderful covers. She captured the genre perfectly and they really give a feel for the story inside
Can you tell us how you approach writing a new novel, do you have a set routine that you follow or is every book different?
I always have a basic plot; this is normally only a couple of sentences. For example a person is murdered because of such and such and the overarching theme is…
Because of the genre that I write I always have a theme. Hats were the theme in ‘Hats Off To Murder,’ gardening was the theme in ‘One For The Rook’. The full-length novel I’m working on at the moment is called ‘Model For Murder’ and is based around the theme of voodoo and pagan ritual.
When I start to write I usually start with basic chapter outlines, characters and places on which to structure the story. This often bares little resemblance to the end product but it helps to keep the story structured and my thoughts ordered. I find Scrivener is very good for helping me to plot a story and I really don’t want to lose the plot.
How much involvement in marketing do you have once the book is published or do you leave this side to someone else?
I do all my own marketing. Networking is a big part of this. Starting out as an unknown author is all about letting people know you’re there. Marketing probably takes up as much time, if not more, as the writing.
With crime writing and thriller, it always about trying to keep the reader guessing how do you approach this aspect of your writing? Is there a magic formula to keeping that who done it feeling?
I don’t think there’s a magic formula, I just try to give the reader just enough clues to keep them guessing. The best way to do this is if you don’t really know who did it yourself. Let the story evolve and discover with your character who did it. If I have an idea of who the murderer might be then a healthy dose of misdirection, framing another character or creating doubt in an alibi, never goes a miss.
What does the future hold for D.S. Nelson can we expect more of the Blake Hetheringon Mysteries?
At the moment I am writing Model For Murder the third Blake Hetherington Mystery. It is still in the first draft but I’m hoping to have it ready by the latter part of this year. I have another four or five ideas for novels, so Blake’s definitely around for the foreseeable future.
I am releasing a paperback anthology, which comprises of the first two mysteries and a short story. This will be published by the end of March and available through my website.
Just one last question Dawn before we ask a few fun ones, what advice can you offer to any new author starting out, what should they be concentrating on writing or marketing?
Write because you enjoy it and don’t lose sight of that. Have a passion for your art and share it with others. Write, edit, edit and then edit again. Get it to the highest standard you can and then you can market it. Without quality writing you have nothing to market. Once the writing is out there you will have plenty of time to keep chipping away at the marketing rock face.
Right now as always we like to ask a few fun questions
Where is the world would you most like to visit?
The Amazon. I love the wildlife and the unchartered territory the jungle promises. I’m not sure I’d ever be brave enough to follow this idea through though; I’m far too fond of my home comforts.
I have a fish tank with tropical fish native to the Amazon, I think that’s the closest I’ll get for now.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside writing?
I have so many hobbies it drives my husband mad. I’ve always got about three or four projects on the go at once.
I love quilting, sewing, crafting, upcycling, jewellery making, oo and gardening.
Occasionally I share my endeavours on my Blog and Pinterest.
What type of music do you like to listen too?
I have very eclectic taste in music. One of my main characters, Delilah Delibes is named after one of my favourite composers. I enjoy opera, pop music, breakbeat, indie and many more. If it’s got a good beat, I like it. One of my favourite bands at the moment is Bastille
Who in the world would you most like to meet?
I think this has to be Agatha Christie doesn’t it? The more I read about her the more I think she would be an amazing person to talk to. She is after all the queen of a genre that I love.
What was the last movie you watched?
‘The World’s End’. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are always great value for money. However, none of their films have ever beaten their performances in ‘Spaced’.
Well all I can say is it has been an absolute pleasure Dawn getting to talk to you and please let us know all your news and happenings in the future.
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