I’m thrilled today to welcome fellow Darkstroke Author and Agatha Christie fan, Angela Wren, to my blog.
Thanks for inviting me onto your blog Jo, and that’s quite a question to answer. But, having thought about it, I suppose that becoming a reader of books was my first step on the road to becoming a writer.
I’ve always been an avid reader and one of my earliest and most enduring memories is of being taken to Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross road in London. I was about four years old, and I recall being awestruck by the size of the place. I did eventually choose a book and it went with me everywhere afterwards. It was a rag book, so it got shoved in my mother’s washing machine every so often. Unfortunately, mum’s washing machine was also where it met its final demise.
That amazing experience got me hooked on stories and reading. So, it was a bitter disappointment to me when I was told I was too old for bedtime stories. I wasn’t daunted, I just started making them up for myself.
At the age of 11 or 12, when my mum was busy chatting to the Librarian, I wandered across the floor to the Adult Section and discovered Agatha Christie. During the summer holidays that year, I practically lived at the local library as I worked my way through just about everything she had written. If it had her name on it – I read it.
Having devoured Christie’s works I moved onto Conan Doyle, Poe, Collins and any number of others in the same genre. I couldn’t get enough of crime.
Until I became a love-lorn teenager! It was then that I discovered Hardy, D Lawrence, Hawthorne, James and many others. It was at this point that I started writing stories down and I told my parents that I wanted to be a writer. This announcement was received with a studied silence. Shortly afterwards I found myself included in a series of follow-up talks about paying bills, managing a mortgage and needing a steady and wholly reliable income.
Yes, I did get the message in the end and schoolwork and exams became my focus. But I didn’t stop reading or writing down stories. I just stopped telling other people about them.
Move on a number years and I finally take the decision to ditch the day job – it was very demanding but it did involve a lot of drafting. Although I wasn’t writing fiction I was and always had been ‘writing’ in some form or other for work.
With the the stress of the 9-5 gone I looked around for other things to fill my time. Spending more time in France very quickly went to the top of my agenda. Along with that came the previously unacknowledged need to write. I discovered that I actually missed putting words on paper, so I joined a local writing group and started entering competitions. An early success was the encouragement I needed.
Shortly after that, a sudden change in the weather whilst in France, set my mind racing. That morning in late September, with the snow on the ground, my thoughts turned to murder and the first story in my Jacques Forêt mystery series was born. Not in its entirety, of course, but in embryo. The whole story took a few more years to develop and about 4 to write – but I was learning my craft and in doing so, I was finally fulfilling my teenage ambition. It just took me a little longer than I thought it would!
Angela Wren is an actor and director at a small theatre a few miles from where she lives in the county of Yorkshire in the UK. She worked as a project and business change manager – very pressured and very demanding – but she managed to escape, and now she writes books.
She has always loved stories and story-telling, so it seemed a natural progression, to her, to try her hand at writing, starting with short stories. Her first published story was in an anthology, which was put together by the magazine ‘Ireland’s Own’ in 2011. She also works with 8 other northern writers to create the series of Miss Moonshine anthologies. Most recently, Angela contributed a story set in the 19th century to the DARK LONDON collection.
Angela particularly enjoys the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. Her short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery, and historical. She also writes comic flash-fiction and has drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio.
Her full-length novels are set in France, where she likes to spend as much time as possible each year.
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Blurb for Mercœur (Jacques Forêt Mystery #5)
On a quiet forest walk, Investigator Jacques Forêt encounters a sinister scene. Convinced there is evidence of malicious intent, he treats his discovery as a crime scene.
But intent for what? Without a body, how can he be sure that a crime has been – or is about to be – committed? Without a body, how can Jacques be sure that it’s murder, and not suicide? Without a body, how can the perpetrator be found?
A baffling case that tests Jacques to his limits.