CRIMINALLY GOOD: Interview with author Margaret Addison

IMG_1587 (2)1) So, who are you & what have you written?

I’m Margaret Addison, author of the Rose Simpson Mysteries, a series of country-house murder mysteries set in England in the 1930s. I published my first book, Murder at Ashgrove House, in December 2013 and went on to write five further books in the series; I am currently writing my seventh, Murder in the Folly.

My books feature an amateur detective heroine called Rose Simpson, who becomes acquainted with, and is invited into the homes of, the British aristocracy. Whilst the majority of my stories have focused on country houses and the lives of the rich, this is not always the case. One book, Murder at Renard’s, was centred around a murder during a fashion show held in a dress shop, and in Murder in the Servants’ Hall the story was seen very much from the perspective of the servants. In the book I am currently writing the action is concentrated around the rehearsals for a Shakespeare play to be performed by an amateur dramatic company in a folly. Whenever I am asked to describe my books, I tend to say that they are a bit like Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey!

Murder in the Servants Hall image2) Why do you write crime fiction?

I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember, although it took me quite a long time to decide what sort of books I wished to write. I have experimented with writing children’s books and literary books before settling on crime fiction which I chose for the very simple reason that it is my favourite type of book to read.

3) What informs your crime writing?

I have always loved murder mysteries set in country houses during the Golden Age of Crime era. With my own writing I particularly enjoy devising the handful of carefully hidden clues to enable the reader to try and work out the murderer whilst of course at the same time trying to dodge the inevitable red herrings.

I do like writing about, and immersing myself in, a different age; it feels a bit like stepping into another world. It does mean undertaking quite a bit of research to try and make my books evocative of the period and historically accurate but fortunately this is something I particularly enjoy doing. I especially love reading magazines of the period and trying to picture the people who would have read them.

murder on Bonfire Night image4) What’s your usual writing routine?

It tends to vary depending on what stage I am at in writing my book. I take breaks between books to gather my thoughts and devise plots, but when I am writing I do try and write something every day, even if it is just a paragraph. I always try and write in the morning and often also write in the evening or at night.

Because writing is so creative, I find it very hard to write if I am not in the mood or feeling inspired to do so. Conversely, if I feel in a creative frame of mind I will go with the flow and write whatever the time, be it midnight or five o’clock in the morning. And as I approach the end of writing a book I find that I am writing at all sorts of strange times because I find it becomes all-consuming.

5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?

I have loved Agatha Christie’s books since discovering them aged fourteen or fifteen when I devoured them all in one go. She, of all authors, has influenced my writing so I really must choose one of her books. One of my favourites is Evil under the Sun.

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