I am delighted to welcome my dear friend, Lisa Hartley, to the blog on the day that she publishes her debut novel, On Laughton Moor. The cover is so wonderfully atmospheric, I can’t wait to start this one. Here is Lisa to tell us a little more about it.
Can you describe your new novel in one succinct but sensual sentence?
I’ll give it a go.
On Laughton Moor is about revenge, exploitation, brutality, relationships (romantic and not so romantic) and the ways in which the past can rear its ugly head when least expected.
Who is your favourite character and why?
This is a little bit easier! It’s probably a huge cliché to go for my main character, Detective Sergeant Catherine Bishop, but I’m afraid I’ll have to. I like her humour, her approach to her job, and the fact that she makes mistakes. She’s someone I could imagine meeting and getting on with. Another favourite is DCI Keith Kendrick, who I’d probably be terrified of if I met him. I have a soft spot for several of the characters though.
Which authors have been your main inspirations?
I’m not sure about inspirations exactly, but the first crime writer I read, like many people, was Agatha Christie. I love the way she manages to tell her story in comparatively few words, painting her characters perfectly as she goes. I also enjoy the work of Susan Hill and P.D James because their writing, while still focusing on crime, is very lyrical and descriptive. I also think they raise as many questions in the mind of their readers as they answer in their plots. Other writers I love to read are Mari Hannah, Mark Billingham, and Stuart MacBride. There are so many though, I could write pages on this subject. I think if you want to write, it’s so important to read too.
How does your writing process work; confusion and paper flying everywhere or calm and ordered?
I sometimes make a few handwritten notes, but not very often. It’s usually just a list of character’s names, because I have a bit of a thing about getting the right name for the character, the ones that are going to feature in more than one book anyway. Several of my police officers are named after people I’ve known, a teacher that really encouraged me to write, for example. I write sitting on the settee with my laptop, so there’s often a cat walking across the keyboard as I’m typing, or my son telling me something about tractors or trains, with the washer going in the background.
What is your guilty pleasure when writing? (Chocolate, wine, coffee…)
I have lots of cups of tea, a more or less constant supply really. Sometimes a few squares of chocolate, or some cake (coffee cake is my favourite). I don’t really drink, so not wine, but another treat is crusty white bread with real butter and proper strawberry jam. I run and go to the gym to balance things out a little bit.
Please share your blurb with us.
I’d love to. I think this part was much harder to write than the book itself!
Detective Sergeant Catherine Bishop has an enigmatic new boss, DI Jonathan Knight. How he’ll adapt to life in Lincolnshire after years in the Met is anyone’s guess. When the body of a well known local thug is discovered, an intriguing message found on his battered corpse raises difficult questions. As the body count grows higher, Bishop and Knight find themselves in a race against time to discover the identity of a merciless, faceless killer whose motivation is a mystery.
Thank you for inviting me onto your blog Jane, it’s been a pleasure.
It’s been lovely hosting you, Lisa. On Laughton Moor is available here.
I live with my partner, son and four cats. The cats are noisy, greedy and demanding; the partner and child less so.
I finished university with a BA (Hons) in English Studies. There followed a period of wandering into a various jobs including potting plants and pulling up weeds, microwaving food cooked earlier by someone with far more culinary flair than I’ll ever have, and trying to boss people around as a manager. Eventually, I wandered into the finance office of the company I was working for at the time and eventually settled there, clicking around on spreadsheets and hoping desperately that no-one noticed that I can’t add up.
After the arrival of our son, I had a period of leave from work and sat down one day with the hazy daydream of writing a book. I had written one before, aged about nine. It was titled Aunt Polly and told the story of a woman and a variety of cats with unimaginative names. Amazingly, it never published. Still, undaunted, I sat down day after day and tried to get as many words as possible onto the screen. Eventually, On Laughton Moor appeared.