Welcome to my first author feature for 2023. Today I’m joined by two authors, Nina and Clare, who write collaboratively under the name of Nina Whyle. They’re chatting about their fifth novel, From Dusty With Love.
Welcome Nina and Clare. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourselves?
Nina: I worked in the TV & Film Industry for several years, working on such British classics as “Prime Suspect” and “Benidorm”. I also wrote, directed and edited a short film, “Sucking is a Fine Quality in Women and Vacuum Cleaners,” which did the festival rounds and picked up an award for Best Comedy short at Swansea Bay Film Festival. You can watch in on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB7Q7L_IWQg&t=16s
Clare: I worked in luxury retail in London and Copenhagen which took me all around the globe, before moving back to England and working in geotechnics (it’s much more interesting than it sounds). After years of collaborating across the North Sea, we now live in neighbouring villages. Serendipity!
What inspired you to start writing?
Nina: I have dabbled in writing on and off for many years. I studied Theatres Studies at university so I enjoyed devising plays and then when I left university I wrote a couple of short plays, which were performed at the Man in the Moon pub in Chelsea (it had a theatre in the basement; no idea if it’s still there). I worked as an Assistant Film Editor for several years, which I absolutely loved. Not long after finishing my short film I became pregnant. I knew I couldn’t balance the long film hours and look after a baby so I left the film industry and became a ‘stay-at-home-mum’. But I still had an urge to keep creative so I began writing what became our first book, Moving up on Manolos.’ I was having trouble with the story so I sent it to Clare, who was living in Denmark and dating my brother at the time. Clare immediately came back with some ideas and new dialogue and that was it, we committed to writing the book together there and then. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Clare: From the moment I could read, I wanted to write. My mum bought me a second-hand typewriter for Christmas when I was about 7yrs old – she had to sell a piece of jewellery to get the money together. (Thank you Annie x). I was constantly inventing fantastical stories, on paper and in play – often involving someone swallowing a key for some reason? There would always be a labyrinth, maze, or magical door. Very enamoured by the world of Narnia and Turkish Delight at that age. Then… some years later I met Nina whilst over in London, to coin a cliché, it was writing at first conversation. Our burning desire to write turned into a fireball of… Yes, let’s do this. Something magical happened on that day. Our writing synergy took off and has never stopped.
Tell me about your journey to publication?
When we first started self-publishing, we didn’t have much idea on how to go about it we just rolled with it. Our rookie error was a big one. We published the book without getting it professionally edited (I know! I know! What were we thinking!) The reviews came in thick and fast; many were lovely despite the obvious lack of editing. We quickly back-peddled to get the book edited and apologised profusely. It was all very embarrassing and we vowed never to make that mistake again. The book did well and nearly made it into Amazon’s coveted TOP#10 but got pipped at the post by Shades of Grey.
Our fifth book has been a while in the making, life became… challenging for a couple of years and we lost our mojo for a whyle! But are now back with a spring in our typing steps. We did write a TV series which we’d love to get off the ground and then started writing Dusty, Dusty quickly took over.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
Dusty and her bad-ass partner Yazmin are tasked with their first mission: to infiltrate a Moroccan hotelier and suspected arms smuggler. Only snag, it falls on the exact same weekend as her sister’s hen weekend, the one she’s supposed to be organising. So, Dusty has a clever idea and decides to kill two birds with one stone, she invites all the hens to Marrakech. What could possibly go wrong?
How did you come up with the title for your book?
‘From Dusty with Love is a nod to James Bond’s ‘From Russia with Love’. We love a bit of Bond.
How did you celebrate publication day?
We walked the dogs and had a coffee on actual publication day! There was too much to do, as we fit it around our day jobs. We’re going to do something in the New Year – Maybe dress up, have some bubbles and hopefully be joined by others. We’re open to any suggestions!
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Yes!!!! We’re working on book 2 in the Duty Calls series, A Licence to Thrill
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
Nina: Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club. It delighted in so many ways. I wasn’t aware of the hype and came across this book last month. I have since read all three books. I adore the characters but particularly Joyce and Elizabeth. I could quite easily imagine our characters Dusty and her flatmate Jodie living out their twilight years in a similar place and with similar aplomb. Four amateur sleuths meeting every Thursday to solve cold cases until an actual hot murder lands in their laps. It’s so well written, lots of laugh out loud moments but also some genuine poignant moments. A warm, funny book about murder.
Clare: Memoirs of a Midget by Walter de la Mere. Other worldly and unusual.
What are you reading just now?
Nina: About to start Holly Jackson’s Five Survive. Actually, her other books, A Good Girls Guide to Murder, is another book I’d recommend.
Clare: I’m still on Stephen Fry’s, ‘Moab is my Washpot.’ Huge admirer of his, and the fact you have to google words you’ve never heard of.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Nina: Bridget Jones Diary. Bridget is perfectly imperfect.
Clare: Anything of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, fell in love with the books during my A-levels and the Jazz age. Although we’d come up with a lot more books if Nina & I were stuck together with no distraction!
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
Nina: Ours. If that’s not allowed [Any thoughts Clare?]
Clare: Bob Mortimer’s, ‘And Away.’ He’s so funny and abstract, such a brilliant comic. And of course, all our books!
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: @NINAWHYLE
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Nina: I confess, I devoured Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series so, I’d probably go back in history and choose to be Daphne in The Duke and I or maybe Kate from The Viscount Who Loved Me. Or Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. I once worked as a secretary for Producer Sue Birtwistle on Wives and Daughters. When I was being interviewed for the job she had a giant cut out of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in his office. I always remember her telling me it took her eight years to get that Pride & Prejudiced produced.
Clare: Quite like to be Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, comfy clothes, unassuming with a razor-sharp mind. Always in fantastic settings and dressing for dinner with a cocktail in hand. The longevity of the series and so much to solve.
Thank you both for sharing your favourite books and of course telling us about your own book.
From Dusty with Love is available in paperback and ebook now.
You can order a copy here: From Dusty With Love
One thought on “#AuthorsInTheSpotlight: Nina Whyle | From Dusty With Love | @NinaWhyle”
What a great interview. They sound like a dynamic writing team.
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