Before becoming a writer, Edinburgh-born Marianne Wheelaghan was a croupier, a marketing manager, a chambermaid, a cashier, a Brussels sprouts picker, but mostly she was a teacher. Marianne taught English and Drama in Germany, Spain, the Republic of Kiribati and Papua New Guinea. She also wrote plays. Marianne now lives back in Edinburgh. When she is not writing, she is running the online creative writing school http://www.writingclasses.co.uk.
What have you been up to with your writing since we last spoke?
When we last spoke we talked about my first crime novel, Food of Ghosts, the first book in the Scottish Lady Detective mysteries. At that time the publication date for book two in the series, The Shoeshine Killer, was November last year. However, that didn’t happen. Why? Frankly, stuff got in the way, a lot of it good but some less so. However, the beauty of being an Indie writer with a very supportive independent publisher is that I can be flexible. By the way, if your readers aren’t sure what an Indie writer is, I read an excellent analogy of one by author Andrew Barrett on Kath Middleton’s blog. Andrew likened an Indie author to a free range chicken “ … who takes her pleasure eating any genre of food that takes her fancy. She is free to come and go and experience life almost at whim, and she’s free to drop an egg of any colour and of any shape and size as she sees fit …” http://www.kathmiddletonbooks.com/blog/author-chat-andrew-barrett).
Of course, Andrew is being a but cheeky, but, essentially, he is describing me and I am a free range writer: I write what I can, when I can unconstrained by meaningless deadlines. So, instead of The Shoeshine Killer coming out in November last year, the ebook was published this 27 th July – and went straight into the top 100 kindle chart for International Mysteries and Crime in the UK and Australia. The paperback is coming out in October 2015.
So far what was your favourite book to write in terms of characters and plot?
The Shoeshine Killer is my favourite book because it’s my most recent. I like to think that in this second book my protagonist, DS Louisa Townsend, who is The Scottish Lady Detective, has developed into a more rounded character and my plotting skills have equally improved. Well, I live in hope 🙂
Your novels have become very popular on amazon kindle and get wonderful reviews, how does that make you feel?
I’m totally thrilled that strangers enjoy reading my books especially as my crime thriller mysteries are not particularly main stream. As you know, they are set in very remote locations, which most readers will be unfamiliar with – Kiribati is the third least visited county in the world according to the World Tourism Organisation! Plus, the mysteries don’t follow the usual police procedural format. But from the reviews and sales, there are readers out there who clearly like “… this unusual and great series”.
Have you any events coming up that you can share with us?
I’m doing 6 th form school visits in England in the autumn and have a schedule of library events to confirm in Scotland.
Have you had any ideas about what you would like to write about next?
Being the free range writer that I am, my next writing project is not crime. It is, instead, a follow up to my very first novel The Blue Suitcase, which is an historic fiction about a young Christian girl growing up in Nazi Germany. It is inspired by my mum’s life and based on diaries and letters I discovered after her death. The Blue Suitcase finishes after the end of WW2 when my mum character comes to Scotland to train to be a nurse. The follow-up, called the Brown Paper Parcel, is about what happens next to my mum and her family. It is set in the 50s in Scotland and Argentina. Like The Blue Suitcase, this is a book based on real life events and will not be for the bedside table.
When I have finished writing The Brown Paper Parcel, I will write the next DS Louisa Townsend book which is set in Papua New Guinea – after that, I will be bringing DS Townsend home to Edinburgh.
What has been your stand out moment so far as a Scottish crime fiction writer?
When I started out on the rocky road to becoming a writing, I hoped but never imagined I would see my books published. So, I have to say the best moment was the first time I saw my books on the shelves in Blackwell’s and Waterstone’s. Becoming a member of the Crime Writers Association was also pretty special.
DS Louisa Townsend has moved from Edinburgh to work for the Kiribati Police Service on Tarawa, a remote coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific. Locally she is known as the Scottish Lady Detective.
Louisa is in Fiji for a money laundering conference. From the moment she arrives in the country things go wrong, including some weird perv breaking into her room while she sleeps and mucking about with her underwear. But that pales into insignificance when she stumbles upon the murdered body of a new friend. Louisa wants to help find the truth and the killer. But DI Vika, the officer in charge of the investigation, tells Louisa to keep out of it.
Louisa isn’t happy. Not one little bit. The slime-ball snooper is still breaking into her room, and although Louisa doesn’t know how or why, she’s sure there’s a connection between the break-ins and the murder. Determined to get to the truth, and with the help of Fijian colleague Constable Makereta, Louisa embarks on journey which takes her into Fiji’s underworld and fighting for her life.
The Shoeshine Killer is the second book in the Scottish Lady Detective mystery series featuring Detective Louisa Townsend.
To buy the E-Book for yourself, you can go to the Amazon Kindle Website Below
Amazon Author Page