Name Lesley Cookman
Age Over 21!
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, I live in a seaside town on the Kent coast in England with my two cats, Gloria and Godiva and an occasional returning child. I have four, so that happens regularly. I also have two small grandchildren.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m currently writing the fifteenth in the Libby Sarjeant Mystery series, which will be out in June. The fourteenth, Murder Out Of Tune, came out last October and topped its genre charts on Amazon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When I was about four! I was an early reader and wanted make more books. And later, when I began writing for Which Computer magazine.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I began writing features for Which Computer and other trade magazines.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Friends who belonged to the Romantic Novelists’ Association in Britain were convinced I could write for HMB. I wasn’t, but I tried. Two of those are actually still available as ebooks under an alias! Written in the eighties – and don’t they show it! Also I was never really happy with romance. I have a few favourite women’s fiction authors, all of whom are friends, and I read their books, but that’s about it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m told I do – my books are heavy on dialogue, probably because of my other life as a former actor and playwright, so I tend to tell the stories through conversations.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
All my titles begin with “Murder”, the idea of my publisher, who chose the title of the first in the series. All I have to do is think of something vaguely relevant to the story to go with it.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not unless it’s the triumph of good over evil! In each book I try to cover a serious subject although my books are supposed to be light. I have covered illegal immigration and people trafficking, homophobia, honour killings, incest and all sorts of unsavoury things.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Once readers accept that my heroine and her friends keep getting involved in murder cases, which is highly improbable, the rest of the characters and settings are as realisitic as I can make them.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All authors use some material gleaned from their own lives, even if it’s only remembered emotions. My main protagonists, Libby and Fran are both ex-actors, and Libby is the director of a local theatre. All of that comes from my own life, but otherwise, no. And I don’t base any of my characters on anyone I know – despite what my family and friends think!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
My parents’ collection of Golden Age detective fiction and my favourite children’s series by Monica Edwards and Pamela Brown.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Lamentation by C J Sansom
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Um – can I pass on that one?
Fiona: What are your current projects?
The fifteenth in the Libby series.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My publisher, Hazel Cushion of Accent Press.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It has been my career for the last thirty-odd years.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Oh, don’t ask me that! I change things right up to the last minute!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
See one of the first questions!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I don’t do that, sorry.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have so many – all of whom are dead! Jerome K Jerome, Elizabeth Goudge, Ngaio Marsh, John Dickson Carr…I could go on and on.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No – I cleverly set the series in a made up part of Kent, my home county. Any other places I use I already know, but I change their names usually, rather than get in to trouble with the locals.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Someone appointed by the publishers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Sadly, no. I’ve been doing it too long!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep going and read, read and then read some more.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
No. I just want them to like the books and the characters and be entertained. I want to write books I woud like to read.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I do, and I still have it, but the title is no longer politically correct!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My family, mostly.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I know this is a question often asked in interviews, but to be honest, I’m wary of meeting people I admire in the flesh – I have been frequently disappointed in the past.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Missed by her children.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
My writing is my day job, not a hobby. My hobbies are reading and the occasional project at my local theatre, and when possible, going to see one of my four children in performance. They are all professional musicians.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
British detective and historical dramas and documentaries – particularly history documentaries.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Indian and Morrocan food, favourite colour is red and music – eclectic! Everything from plainsong to pop.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Carried on being an actor.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
This has links to my Twitter and Facebook pages, and my blog.
Thank you for having me, Fiona.