Welcome to my stop on Vanessa Robertson’s Death Will Find Me blog tour! 🙂
Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Group Tours for arranging the following interview with Vanessa Robertson…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
My name’s Vanessa Robertson, I’m from the Midlands but have lived in Scotland for the last twenty years. In 2015, I was a winner at Bloody Scotland’s Pitch Perfect event. Death Will Find Me is the book I pitched and is out now. It’s a crime thriller set in 1920 and is about a woman who, when her husband is murdered, has to prove her own innocence by finding the actual killer. In a wider sense, it’s about the way that even after the Great War – any war for that matter – the things that people had to do can still haunt them.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
All sorts of places – odd newspaper stories, conversations in the village shop, a podcast… I think writers are like sponges – we notice things and file them away at the back of our minds to ferment and one day a story emerges, often quite by chance. But ideas breed ideas and the more you write the more ideas seem to appear.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
No. Although my heroine Tessa has not-quite-a-love-interest who is named after a school friend of my brother-in-law’s. I’ve never met the real Bill Henderson, but I’ve always just thought it was the perfect name for my Bill who is a truly good and loyal person.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
The main characters generally appear with their names. As soon as my heroine came to me, I knew that she was called Tessa Kilpatrick. I have no idea where that came from. And her friend Hetty appeared out of the blue while I was writing a scene set at a party and I just knew her name from the start. For minor characters where I do have to think of a name I just work through my son’s school friends, old phone directories and so on.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I’m not organised enough to have anything you could call a process. I wish I did. I have a friend who is a meticulous plotter and I’m in awe of that. I tend to use Post Its to work out a plot and I turn that into a linear outline of about 5k words. And then the first draft is me telling myself the story and then the next draft is telling the story to my readers. It’s not the fastest and most efficient way of working but it suits me.
I’m about halfway through the first draft of the second Tessa Kilpatrick novel at the moment and I’m pleased with how it’s coming together.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
I can’t! I was a bookseller for too long, I might offend people!
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’m very lucky in that my background in bookselling (my husband and I founded The Edinburgh Bookshop) means that I know a lot of writers but I’d love to meet Jilly Cooper. She’s such a consummate storyteller. Riders and Rivals in particular are impossible to put down. She does humour and romance and sadness so well, in the same chapter at times. If you can keep a dry eye when Sailor dies in Riders then you have no soul.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Absolutely. I was allowed to have my Young Adult borrowers ticket early because I’d read everything in the children’s section. Then I went through the YA section and was allowed my adult library card. That was a momentous day. I read widely and I do remember when I was about 14 that I’d added a DH Lawrence novel to my pile (probably to see why people had made such a fuss about Lady Chatterley) and the librarian raised her eyebrows at me and put it back on the trolley.
When did you start to write?
I wrote a lot as a child – I had a blue portable Remington typewriter that I used to bash what were almost certainly truly dreadful stories out on. Then I stopped in my early teens because I went to quite a bitchy girls’ school and it was best to keep your head down and not stand out. And then when I was an adult I wanted to write but didn’t think it was feasible – I felt I’d done the wrong degrees and so on, as though you had to apply for it like a job. Then I ended up owning a bookshop and realised that I was perfectly well-qualified, I just had to tell a compelling story and do it well. When we sold the bookshop I decided to devote more time to writing and here we are.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
I can’t think of any. I’d like to have written something hugely well-respected but I’m happy writing what I write. Obviously the royalties from something like Harry Potter or 50 Shades of Grey would be nice. But I don’t tend to waste energy on wishing I’d done things, I prefer to concentrate on what I am doing and what possibilities lie ahead. I’m beginning my writing career in my 40s and I don’t have time to waste on regrets.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
I’d never be so vain as to write an autobiography. Maybe I could hire a ghost writer to do it and they could make me sound more exciting?
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I don’t know about coffee but I wouldn’t mind taking Rebus out for a pint. His creator has a great sense of humour and I’d like to know if his creation does too. We’d go to The Oxford, obviously. And I would love to invite Rupert Campbell-Black out for a champagne-fuelled long lunch and see how utterly outrageous and indiscreet he was.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing the second Tessa Kilpatrick book – currently untitled – and then I’ll be spending a bit of time on another project that’s on the back burner – a thriller set in the art business. And I have another couple of ideas… Maybe I do need to learn to write faster!
How can readers keep in touch with you?
My website is www.vanessarobertson.co.uk and if you join my readers club then you’ll receive the odd update, free short stories and so on. And I can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ness_Robertson and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ness_robertson/
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Vanessa! 🙂
Meet Tessa Kilpatrick; heiress and war-time covert operations agent.
Finding her husband – the feckless James – with another woman at a 1920s country house party, she demands a divorce. But when his body is discovered in a lonely stone bothy the next morning, Inspector Hamish Rasmussen sees Tessa as his only suspect.
Back in Edinburgh, links to another murder convince Rasmussen of her innocence. He enlists her help and together they set off on a pursuit that will bring Tessa once again face to face with the brutality of war as well as revealing to her the lengths that desperate people will go to in order to protect those they love.
Will Tessa be able to prevent a final murder or will she become the killer’s latest victim?
This book will be perfect for anyone who’s enjoyed the work of Catriona McPherson, Sara Sheridan and Jessica Fellowes.
Book Funnell Link
happy reading 🙂