I’m joined today by Kim Fleet who has kindly agreed to answer my Author in the Spotlight questions. Her latest novel, Holy Blood, was published by The Mystery Press on 3rd April and is available in paperback and as an ebook. It is available to order online by clicking here.
Thanks for taking part Kim. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I live in Cheltenham with my husband and a very elderly, extremely bossy cat. I love gardening, listening to the radio (which I always think of as the wireless), and visiting old churches. I’m fast approaching fifty, and am in the process of compiling a list of 50 things to do when I’m 50. I’ve got 10 so far, so I’d better buck my ideas up.
What inspired you to start writing?
When I was nine, my Dad gave me a book on how to write a novel and I decided to give it a go. The story I wrote was deeply influenced by Enid Blyton, and featured four children plus dog who go back in time and uncover a plot to assassinate Elizabeth I and put Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. They foil the plot then have to work out how to get back to their own time. It included fantastic dialogue such as, ‘Hello, Queen Elizabeth the First, would you like a cup of tea?’
Tell me about your journey to publication
I think my dialogue has improved slightly! I kept on writing and writing, then a few years ago decided to start taking my writing seriously and send it out to magazines and competitions and it took off from there. I won some competitions and started having work published in magazines. People are always surprised that I write both gritty crime novels and quite gentle romance stories. My first two published novels, Sacred Site and Featherfoot, were murder mysteries set in the remote Australian outback, where I lived and worked as an anthropologist for a number of years. Then my agent asked if I’d like to try writing a straight crime novel, and the result was Paternoster, the first in the Eden Grey series.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
Holy Blood is a time-slip crime novel about a holy relic, supposedly destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It’s set in present day and Elizabethan Gloucestershire, and features determined private investigator Eden Grey.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The relic in question really existed and was known as the Holy Blood of Hailes – it was said to be the blood of Christ, collected during the crucifixion, and was kept at Hailes Abbey, not far from Cheltenham.
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
I’ll be celebrating with a book launch at the Suffolk Anthology, a local independent bookshop in Cheltenham, which actually features in the book.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I’m currently completing the next book in the Eden Grey series – this one’s called Devil’s Chimney. All my books are time-slip, and this time the action in the past is set in the 1980s. I’m having lots of fun reminiscing about my teenage years and yearning for New Romantics and legwarmers!
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
I’ve recently read Victorians Undone by Kathryn Hughes. It’s non-fiction, about the lives of Victorians, exploring them by focussing on different parts of the body. Witty, erudite, and backed up by decades of meticulous research.
What are you reading just now?
I’m currently reading The Power by Naomi Alderman. It’s about women who learn how to fire lightning from the palms of their hands. I’m loving it!
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Vanity Fair – Becky Sharp is such a compelling character.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?
I think Tim Winton’s novels would make superb films. They’re set in Western Australia and the landscape there – with huge skies, empty scrubland, and shimmering ocean – is enormously evocative. How about Dirt Music, with Richard Roxburgh?
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
I’d like to be Tom in Tom’s Midnight Garden. I’d love to step back in time – if anyone ever invents a time machine, I’ll be first in the queue to go in it!