Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve been writing since my 20s, though only began to actually finish novels when I hit 30. I have written the popular Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series; Casey & Catt, a second crime series; a published historical, Reluctant Queen, under the name Geraldine Hartnett, about the little sister of Henry VIII; a romance, Land of Dreams, set in the Canadian Arctic; and articles on a variety of subjects, including, Historical Biography, Writing, Astrology, Palmistry and other New Age subjects. I’ve also written a dramatization of Dead Before Morning, the first book in my Rafferty series.
I am a Londoner, but now live in Norfolk, England where I moved, with my husband George, in 2000.
Deadly Reunion is my 18th novel and 14th in the humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series.
Please tell us about Deadly Reunion: A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel.
Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation – a poisoning at a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty. Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the Rafferty and Kelly reunion attendees have grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty has to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim’s fellow reunees But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.
What inspired you to write this book?
I suppose it was having attended my own school reunion, with all its remembered emotions and relationships.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I hope it’s exciting! It’s called Kith and Kill and is another Rafferty & Llewellyn crime story. It concerns the murder of Sophia Egerton on her 90th birthday, with all her family in the house. As the investigation gets under way, it’s clear that there are a number of festering emotions amongst the family both towards each other and towards the dead woman. Whilst the murder investigation is continuing, Rafferty has to somehow get his own family on his side about what to choose for a present for his Ma on the occasion of a triple anniversary. But then, once he’s got them to his point of view, he has to get them to change their minds back. But Ma has a mind of her own, as events remind him.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I’ve always considered myself a writer, even if it was without being consciously aware of it and even though, as a child, it would never have occurred to me that that was what I was. Although I don’t come from a writerly family, I was always a real book-worm and got high marks for my stories at school. I started trying to write properly while I was in my twenties, but it wasn’t till I reached the milestone age of thirty that I knuckled under and actually finished a book. I wrote a book a year for six years, only the last of which was actually published. They were all romances. After my seventh effort at a romance was rejected, I felt like murdering someone. So I did. I turned to crime.
My first crime novel, Dead Before Morning, was plucked from MacMillan’s slush pile and published in hb and pb in both the UK and the US. I’ve just brought it out as an ebook on kindle, etc. It was the first in my Rafferty & Llewellyn series and I’m now writing number fifteen.
Please tell us a bit about Dead Before Morning: A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel.
Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty is investigating his first murder since his promotion. What a shame the victim is a girl with no name, found in a place she had no business being – a private psychiatric hospital. With everyone denying knowing anything about the victim, Rafferty has his work cut out, so he could do without his Ma setting him another little problem: that of getting his cousin ‘Jailhouse Jack’ out of the cells. Although he has no shortage of suspects, proof is not so plentiful. It is only when he remembers his forgotten promise to get his cousin out of the cells that Rafferty gets the first glimmer that leads to the solution to the case.
Here’s a link to the trailer for Dead Before Morning.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like?
Yes, I write full-time now, though I probably shouldn’t. Alas, no one wants to employ me. I tend to start the day checking my emails, which now, because I’m a member of so many lists, takes half the day! Once I’ve the emails done, I’ll attend to whatever’s in the in-tray. In January, it was organizing and preparing for this Blog Tour. I’ve also been filling in forms and signing up for this and that. I’ve been preparing for my next talk. Once I’ve done all that, I try to find time for my writing. Lately, I find I have to practically make an appointment with myself to actually get on with the next novel.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write in the living room on my laptop with the TV blaring out daytime telly programmes (my husband’s retired and he only has summer hobbies (metal detecting and fishing). I keep trying to suggest other hobbies for him to do, but it’s no go. I used to work in my little office upstairs, but it’s far warmer in the living room and it’s nearer the kettle! I’m fortunate in that I can work whatever the conditions. I used to write in works’ restaurants and rooms where the staff would take their break during my lunch hours, with the noisy hubbub of my co-workers all around me. Just as well I’m starting to go deaf!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’m not sure I can remember that far back! God! What did I want to do? As little as possible I think. Marry a rich man and retire, probably. I didn’t quite manage to get that Sugar Daddy, although I got the Daddy part as my (entirely sugarless) husband is nineteen years older than me. Perhaps if I’d been born a generation later I would have had a particular ambition. But women of my generation and class didn’t have careers, so had no reason to nurse ambitions unlikely to reach fulfilment. It was unlikely in the extreme, even though I was a keen reader and always got top marks for my stories at school, that I would become a writer. I still regard it as something akin to a miracle that I am one.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I think I might be the example your readers are seeking to encourage them to get started writing. I’m the major exam failure of working-class parents and grew up on a south London Council estate. I went to a State school for the less academically-inclined and left at sixteen. If there was anyone less likely to become a writer that person is me. So that’s your last excuse disposed of. If I can do it, so can you!
I also have a couple of giveaways to commenters during my tour. Gifts include: a signed copy of Deadly Reunion, my latest hardback (Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series), a copy of the e-book Dead Before Morning , a copy of the e-book Down Among the Dead Men, and a subscription to my blog.
Geraldine, thank you so much for your time today. It sounds like you’re on quite a writing roll, and I wish you all the best with future publications.