Bio: Liz Hedgecock grew up in London, England, did an English degree, and then took forever to start writing. After several years working in the National Health Service, a corporate writing course rekindled the flame, and various short stories followed. Some even won prizes. Then the stories began to grow longer... Liz now lives in Cheshire with her husband and two sons, and when she’s not writing or child-wrangling you can usually find her reading, running, or sneaking into a museum.
Novel Links: A House of Mirrors: myBook.to/Mirrors, The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes: myBook.to/NotebookSH, A Jar of Thursday: myBook.to/Thursday, The Case of the Snow-White Lady: myBook.to/SnowWhiteLady
Genre: mystery/crime for all. Additionally, humour for Secret Notebook: adventure, steampunk, SF for Thursday: supernatural for Snow-White Lady
Blurb for A House Of Mirrors:
‘What is your profession, Mr Holmes?’
When Nell Villiers’ policeman husband vanishes on a routine case, her life is wrecked. Placed under protection by Inspector Lestrade, Nell is ripped from her old life and her own secret police work. Instead she must live as a widow, Mrs Hudson, in a safe house: 221B Baker Street.
Two years on, with the case still unsolved, Nell vows to defy Lestrade and use her skills to discover the truth. She takes a lodger to cover her tracks; a young man called Sherlock Holmes. How could she know what would happen?
‘It’s always been fun before - but now the police are the enemy…’
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone wanting to write? (Jenny) Start! Write, and keep writing. The only way to improve a blank page is to get some words on it.
How do you approach your stories; do you plan everything out before starting, or are you more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of a person? (Steve) I’m halfway between - a sort of plantser! Before I begin, I’ll know what my main characters are like, and the big plot points, and roughly where I think they’ll be. The rest unfolds as the characters take the plot and run with it.
Of all your characters, do you have a favorite? (Luke) I’d probably pick Nell, the protagonist of A House Of Mirrors. She’s a young Victorian woman with a reckless, mischievous streak. I’m planning the sequel to A House Of Mirrors right now and looking forward to seeing what she gets up to next!
How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)? (Joy) I write the first draft quite quickly, but I’m pretty thorough in the edit. I wrote the draft of A House Of Mirrors in 6 weeks, then put it away for 6 months, and took a month to edit it.
What motivated you to write your novel? (Ami) I was reading a Sherlock Holmes story and it struck me how little we know of Mrs Hudson. She runs 221B Baker Street, removing all domestic cares from Holmes and Watson, but we barely see her. I began to wonder about her viewpoint, and how she would tell a Holmes story. Then I wondered where Mr Hudson was. And the story unfolded...
Name three favorite authors and why they impress you. (Kay) Joanne Harris. Not just for her wonderful books, but also for writing different books after the success of Chocolat. Also because she speaks her mind on Twitter.
Terry Pratchett, for the amazing multilayered Discworld.
Barbara Pym. The world she depicts is small, but packed with minutely-observed details which reveal her characters’ inner lives.
Would you rather set your story in a place and time you are familiar with, or would you rather research a totally different setting? (Ruth) I like to have something to hang on to. Four of my books are set in Victorian London; I grew up in south London (not in Victorian times, though!), and I did a master’s degree in Victorian Literature. I still do research though, which is great fun.
Do you have any little writing rituals or quirks? E.g. an object you have to have on your desk, a particular drink or snack. (Liz) If I don’t have a cup of tea on the desk, I feel a bit peculiar. I also have a little wooden ‘writing rhino’ who sits behind my keyboard. Sometimes I rub his bottom for inspiration.
How do you own experiences influence what you write? (Bill) I try not to pinch too much stuff from real life, although some of my kids’ best lines have made it to the page! Being a woman and a parent definitely influences my writing, though. A House Of Mirrors came from imagining what it would be like to be the person who cleans up after Sherlock Holmes and puts his dinner on the table, since the domestics at 221B Baker Street are largely invisible. And the book I’ve just drafted has a heavily pregnant protagonist who solves a crime in the spare moments between dealing with her toddler.
If you had a group of celebrities to plan the perfect heist who would they be and what would you be after? (Aaron) This is hard! OK, in my criminal gang I’d have Stephen Fry, because he knows everything and we might need some completely random information; Derren Brown, to perform mind tricks on the guards and convince them we weren’t there; and Amanda Abbington, who plays Mary Watson in Sherlock, for ruthlessness. What would we be stealing? The formula for a perfect novel!
How do you deal with writer's block? (Marissa) I haven’t suffered from writer’s block yet - not a proper big ‘can’t write a thing’ block, anyway. If I feel stuck while writing, I get a notepad (I write on the computer) and scribble down how I feel and what I think the problem might be. Getting it down on paper helps me unstick myself.
What is your favorite part of the writing process? (i.e. first draft, editing, etc...) (Greg) First draft, because I get to tell myself an exciting story and meet loads of new people at the same time.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one book, what would it be? (Ominbuses, complete works, and how to books are forbidden!) (Laura) It’s probably a cliche, but I’d pick Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Or maybe Our Mutual Friend…choosing is so hard!