Good morning to you all,
Another dreary and cold day in North Yorkshire today! Has everyone got their central heating on? I certainly have!
Someone just reminded me that two months today it's Christmas Eve! I didn't really appreciate the reminder, thank you! However, I have bought two Christmas presents up to now!
Today's interview is with the lovely Angela Wren, so I won't waste any more time.
Eva: Good morning Angela! Thank you for taking part in this series. Now, tell us all about yourself (as in, a bit of a biography).
Angela: Thank you Eva, for featuring me on your blog. I’ve spent a lot of time working as an actor and director at a small theatre a few miles from where I live in Yorkshire. I’ve also spent far too much time working as a project and business change manager – very pressured and very demanding. I did manage to escape, and now I write books and short stories.
I’ve always loved story-telling, so it seemed a natural progression, to me, to try my hand at creative writing. Once I’d kicked the day-job into touch, I starting with short stories. My first published story was in an anthology, which was put together by the magazine ‘Ireland’s Own’ in 2011. But, I also work with 8 other northern writers to create the series of Miss Moonshine anthologies. Most recently, I have collaborated with 8 Canadian writers to create the anthology Seasonal Paths anthologies and we are about to issue our third in that series.
I really enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery, and historical. I have a stab at comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio.
My full-length cosy crime novels are set in France, where I like to spend as much time as possible each year.
How many books have you written up to now? Are they published or self-published? What genre are they?
My book count is as follows:
Jacques Forêt Cosy Crime mysteries = 6 all published by Darkstroke Books
Miss Moonshine Anthologies = 3 all self-published by our collective of 9 northern writers and these are romance, feel-good and I can’t help but put a bit of mystery in mine.
Seasonal Paths anthologies = currently 2, but a third on the way and all self-published by our collective and these are multi-genre collections but my stories are mainly cosy crime.
I also have short stories in a couple of the Dark World series of anthologies published by Darkstroke books. My stories in those are much darker.
Of all the genres there are, is there any genre/s that you feel you wouldn’t be able to write and why? Is there any genre that you really wish you could write, but feel you wouldn’t be able to do it justice?
I loved Sci-Fi as a teenager and still read it sometimes, but I don’t think I could ever do it justice. I don’t really have a scientific mind and I’d be constantly worrying about whether I had got something wrong.
As for genre’s I don’t feel I could write, I guess horror is one and erotica would be the other.
The first I do read a little, the second I just don’t read and never have.
Do you have any favourite ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ words that you like to use in your books? What are those words? Also, what words used by other authors irritate you more than they should?
Not really. For me, conveying the scene as accurately as possible is always key. So, I choose
words that fit and if that means searching the dictionary/thesaurus for the right ones, then I do
Incorrectly used words, i.e. words in completely the wrong context, irritate me the most.
Do you sing at all, be it karaoke, in a choir or have done so professionally? Whether you have or not, have you ever written (or had the urge to write) any song lyrics? Have those lyrics been used at all?
I sang in the choir at school and I have once or twice sung on stage because the role I’ve been playing has required it. But I much prefer to keep my singing voice for the car when I’ve got a favourite CD playing. Song lyrics – no never even thought about writing any of those.
What question would you like to pose, (if you were to ever interview your favourite author), which never seems to get asked in author interviews? And who is that favourite author?
Just the one favourite author!! Really! There so many of them that I would love to interview. For the living ones, and if you are forcing to choose, I guess it would have to be Alan Bennett. He is one of our greatest living playwrights and memoirists and I only have one extremely important question for him – Can I please sift through your filing cabinets so that I can see what you’ve taken out and saved?
For all the dead ones – it would have to Agatha Christie or Shakespeare. For Agatha I would want to know in her own words what really happened when she disappeared. As for William, I would sit him down with my copy of his full works and make him be honest about the authorship. And yes I would get down to single words and sentences!
If you were to ever write a children’s book, (and those of you who already do) would you/do you do the illustrating yourself, make use of a family member or friend’s talent or pay an illustrator? Do you solely write or do you have any other creative pursuits?
That would never happen. I have no children so I have no idea of what they are interested in. Books for kids are just that far out of my sightline.
Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite? And why?
I’m kind of attached to all my characters, but at the moment I’m having great fun writing a new character. She appears in Autumn Paths and is in my story in Spring Paths which is due out soon. But she also has an adversary who is especially interesting to write – but I’m not going to say why. Sorry.
Have you ever killed off a character in your books (I’m sure you have)? If so, was it because…it fitted nicely into the storyline? OR…Did you start to really dislike the character and, with too much work involved to re-write without that character, think it the easiest option to have that person die?
As I write cosy crime, there is always a body somewhere, so I regularly kill off characters. For major characters who are around for more than one book, then yes I have killed two of them. But in each case, the death was planned and an integral part of the individual story-lines.
Are any of your characters based on family members or friends? Have you kept their characters totally true to life or have you given them bonus traits that you wish they possessed in real life?
No. I build all of my characters in the same way – irrespective of whether it’s for stage or page. I kind of build my characters from the feet upwards. Physicality, gait, weight, height, hair colour etc come first. Then their life story so far. What happens to us influences how we think and how we react to situations and I need to know the character that well before I start to write so that I can make them live on the page.
Relationships/family life aside, what are your TWO main regrets in life?
I had to think long and hard about this question, because I’ve always considered myself to be very lucky. But, I became an orphan too soon and I sometimes wish that my dad could have stayed around longer. We were great reading buddies and there are so many books I’ve read that I know he would have enjoyed. And in comparison with that, any other regrets are meaningless.
What was your passion as a child? Did that passion stay with you during your adult life OR did you, as you grew up begin to detest what you once enjoyed?
Stories were my passion as a child. Memories of sitting on dad’s knee and reading fairy tales together on Sunday afternoons has remained with me. And that passion for books and stories is still with me as the vast numbers of books I have all over my house demonstrate.
What was your best subject throughout your school years? And your worst?
English and drama were my best subjects and Latin, my worst.
Tell me about your favourite teacher throughout your school years? Was it a crush you had? Were they just an excellent teacher of your favourite subject?? Or some other reason…kind, fun, generous…?
My drama teacher. She really opened my eyes to what theatre was all about.
Did either of your parents ever express a wish to write? Are they supportive and proud of your work? Or do they just choose to not get involved, but they are pleased for you?
No. But my uncle did get his book published but I’ve never been able to find a copy.
Tell us about your ultimate ambition, be it personal, travel, writing, work, hobby related or other?
I want to keep writing and keep travelling, but most important of all, I never want to stop learning.
Do you have any phobias and if so, what are they? Have you ever conquered any phobia and if so, how did you do it?
Spiders are my phobia and no, I’ve never managed to conquer it.
Most people I know are not happy with something physical about themselves (face/body etc.,) but if you could change anything about your personality, what would you wish to change?
I wish I was taller. At 5 feet 2 I struggle with just about all supermarket shelves!
What is your ‘go to’ snack, whatever the time of day? And drink of your choice?
Chocolate – in any form, so that includes cake and biscuits. Coffee first thing in a morning, just plain water is fine through the day and then, perhaps a glass of wine in the evening.
Cats or dogs? What do you have? Do you introduce any pets into your books?
No pets in my house. But I prefer dogs to cats. Because my mysteries are set in rural France then yes, animals are included because it’s a farming area. But, one of my young characters might be getting a dog for a birthday present.
AND FINALLY, Hit me up with all your Amazon book-links? And the links to your website and social media profiles?
Amazon : AngelaWren
Website : www.angelawren.co.uk
Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com
Facebook : FacebookAngela Wren
Twitter : TwitterAngelaWren
Instagram : InstaAngelaWren
Threads : ThreadsAngelaWren
Bookbub : BookBubAngelaWren
Goodreads : GoodreadsAngela Wren
Contact an author : ContactAnAuthor
Thank you once again for taking part, Angela. It's been a pleasure!
This coming Friday, we have author, Sara Sartagne in the spotlight!
Have a great week, people!