Join me in welcoming Nicola Slade!
Writing is such a challenging endeavor. What got you started on it and what keeps you doing it?
I wrote stories all the time as a child so I never remember a time when there wasn’t a story in my head. As to why I keep doing it, it’s something I have to do – the stories and characters keep nagging until I write about them.
What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Did you still have them?
The first ‘published’ pieces were poems in the school magazine and they’re probably still around somewhere. My first paid-for work consisted of 3 stories for the children’s page of a women’s magazine, when I was 22.
What made you choose to write in the genres/time periods you write in?
I currently write two cozy mystery series, one is contemporary and the other is set in the 1850s which is a period I love, a time of so many innovations. I’m passionate about history and fortunate enough to live in an area of great historical interest. I was brought up on Victorian novels and have a large collection of them.
What do you enjoy most in the writing process? What parts of it do you really dislike?
I love it when the writing flows and you come out of a trance to find you’ve written several thousand words and they’re not all rubbish! I find the promotion side of the business difficult; writers tend to be shy and introverted so it’s hard to push one’s work.
If you write in multiple genres how do you make the switch from one to the other? Do you find it a welcome change, crazy-making or a little of both?
It doesn’t seem to bother me and I can switch quite easily.
Historical fiction takes a lot of research. What is the most memorable or interesting thing you’ve learned along the way?
That timbers from the USS Chesapeake were used in the framework of a mill about 20 miles from my home. The ship was captured by the British in the War of 1812 and when it was eventually broken up, the timbers were sold off. You can still see them today!
What do you to keep all your research information and plot ideas organized and accessible?
Er, I’m not very tidy so I have piles of paper on my desk, as well as hundreds of books on shelves all round the study.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?
Don’t try to write against what comes naturally. There will always be something that turns up in your writing so don’t try to suppress it. With me, it’s the humour. It bubbles up irrepressibly so I just let it take me where it wants to go.
Tell us a little about your current project.
My 5th novel, A CROWDED COFFIN, published 31st January 2013, is the second in my contemporary cozy series featuring recently retired teacher, Harriet Quigley and her clergyman cousin, Sam Hathaway. This one has lots of history and is set (as are all my books) in and around the historic city of Winchester, ancient capital of England. There’s a death in the Cathedral that sets the cat among the pigeons.
What’s up next for you?
I have two books out this year. September sees the publication of my third Victorian cozy, The Dead Queen’s Garden, set at Christmas 1859. This features my feisty young Australian widow, Charlotte Richmond, who just can’t avoid stumbling over the occasional corpse! Lots of fun, lots of history, plenty of melodrama and in the finale Charlotte uses the most bizarre weapon ever to fend off a murderer!
A Crowded Coffin is available from Amazon and other internet booksellers, as well as the publisher, Robert Hale Ltd www.halebooks.com This publisher sells mainly to libraries and only does hardbacks so I like to encourage readers also to request my books from their local public library. (Of course, I’m happy if they buy them too!)
The first in my contemporary series, Murder Fortissimo, is now available on Amazon.com as a Harlequin Worldwide Mystery Library paperback.
You can find Nicola online at:
Her website and blog: (Would love to have more people sign up to Follow my blog which carries articles about history and mystery based around Winchester.