Monday, November 28, 2016

Westmorland Alone NBtM

Welcome to Westmorland. Perhaps the most scenic county in England! Home of the poets! Land of the great artists! District of the Great lakes! And the scene of a mysterious crime…

Swanton Morley, the People's Professor, once again sets off in his Lagonda to continue his history of England, The County Guides.

Stranded in the market town of Appleby after a tragic rail crash, Morley, his daughter Miriam and his assistant, Stephen Sefton, find themselves drawn into a world of country fairs, gypsy lore and Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling. When a woman's body is discovered at an archaeological dig, for Morley there's only one possible question: could it be murder?

Join Morley, Miriam and Sefton as they journey along the Great North road and the Settle-Carlisle Line into the dark heart of 1930s England.

Delaney’s places were famous for their wide range of entertainments and refreshments, and for the clientele. It used to be said that to meet everyone in England who really mattered one had only to stand for long enough at the foot of the stairs of the Athenaeum on Pall Mall: the same might just as truly be said of Delaney’s basement bars and bottle parties. Poets, artists, lawyers, politicians, doctors, bishops and blackmailers, safebreakers and swindlers: in the end, everyone ended up at Delaney’s.

I’d started out drinking champagne with one of Delaney’s very friendly hostesses, a petite redhead with warm hands, cold blue eyes, sheer stockings and silk knickers, who seemed very keen for us to get to know one another better –but then they always do. She told me her name was Athena, which I rather doubted. Sitting on my lap, and several drinks in, she persuaded me into a card game where I soon found myself out of my depth and drinking a very particular kind of gin fizz, with a very particular kind of kick – a speciality of the house. My head was swimming, the room was thick with the scent of perfumes, smoke and powders, I had spent every penny of the money that Morley had paid me for our Devon adventure, I was in for money I didn’t have – and Athena, needless to say, had disappeared. My old Brigade chums Gleason and MacDonald were watching me closely.

Even through the haze I realised that if I didn’t act soon I was going to be in serious trouble: Delaney was renowned for calling in his debts with terrible persuasion. I excused myself and wandered through to the tiny courtyard out back. There were men and women in dark corners doing what men and women do in dark corners, while several of the hostesses stood around listlessly smoking and chatting, including Athena, who glanced coolly in my direction and ignored me. She was off-duty. Out here, there was no need to pretend.

Ian, thanks so much for stopping by. How did you get started writing?
I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. And then I wrote some more. Is there any other way to start? Or to continue? Or indeed to end?

What was the inspiration for your book?
I think that like a lot of people my problem is not so much finding inspiration as in resisting inspiration. I am constantly inspired: the main thing is to do the work. That’s the difficult bit.

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I would love to write a cookbook. I’m sure that one day I will. I love cookbooks. I think cookbooks are works of art. I prefer cookbooks to most works of fiction.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? If so, why?
I am omdamniverous. I read and write everything. Why not?

What are you up to right now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
Writing, writing, writing. The next books in the series are lined up and ready to go. Essex Poison is due to be published in the UK in 2017 and The Sussex Murders in 2018. I do hope they find a readership in the USA also.

Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?
I do not have a favourite colour.

Favorite movie?
The film I have probably watched more than any other film is Groundhog Day. But I’m not sure I’d call it my favourite. I have a favourite scene though: my favourite scene is the bar scene in Godard’s Bande à part when Anna Karina, Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur do a wonderful clumsy version of the Madison dance. I love that.

Book that inspired you to become an author?
The Bible.

You have one superpower. What is it?
I already have a superpower, thank you. I couldn’t possibly accept another.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
I have 3 children. It would be nice to sit down with all three of them.

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
They’re all me: I’m all them.

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Author Bio and Links:
Ian Sansom is the author of the Mobile Library Mystery Series. As of 2016, he has written three books in a series that will comprise a projected forty-four novels.

He is a frequent contributor to, and critic for, The Guardian and the London Review of Books.

He studied at both Oxford and Cambridge, where he was a fellow of Emmanuel College. He is a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick and teaches in its Writing Program.

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