Interview with mystery author Ginger Black

Today’s special guest is
mystery author
Ginger Black. Ginger
Black is a writing partnership between Gaynor Pengelly and Julia Thum.
We’re chatting
about their new cozy, Riverside Lane.

Julia Thum left Somerset for London
at 16. She founded & ran her own consumer P R agency representing a range
of international brands including Braun, Molton Brown, Clairol, and Kleenex.
After selling the business she trained as a psychotherapist specializing in
eating disorders and hosted a phone-in show on Radio Luxembourg.
Julia writes bespoke literature & articles for
private clients and visits secondary schools and prisons representing two
national charities in providing emotional support to pupils and inmates. A keen
kayaker and a passionate cook, she lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband
Nicolas and their four children.
Gaynor Pengelly has worked as a national
newspaper correspondent for more than twenty years, interviewing everyone from
the great and the good to extraordinary people in ordinary lives. The rich
variety of her subject matter and their circumstances has given her a rare
insight into human nature and the challenges many people face.
Gaynor’s great loves include sitting
in pavement cafes watching the world go by, National Trust and English Heritage
and hiking across the windswept Yorkshire moors. She lives in Bray-on-Thames
with her husband Jonathan and their son, Freddie James.
During the virtual book tour, Ginger Black will be awarding
a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky
randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free
to visit the other tour stops and enter there, too.
Please share a little
bit about your current release.
Julia: Riverside Lane is a cozy mystery based on a
house swap and set in the picturesque English village of Bray. Luca Tempesta, a
mysterious American, arrives pretending to be on holiday but he has a secret
and the villagers are determined to find out what it is. While busy bodying
around Luca’s life, the characters reveal their own foibles and it becomes
apparent that their visitor is not the only person with something to hide. The
novel is a comedy of manners, gently satirizing the English and focussing on
personal challenges rather than world events. We hope to evoke a lightness of
heart with the beautiful setting along the river Thames and the quirky behaviour
of a lot of villagers who pay too much attention to other people’s lives and
not enough to their own. 
inspired you to write this book?
Julia: For me it
was our beautiful village of Bray on the banks of the Thames, famous for its
turncoat vicar in the middle ages and for its restaurants (it has more Michelin
stars per square foot than anywhere else in the world). When you walk the dog
along the towpath you can actually smell the truffle oil drifting in the breeze
from the Waterside Inn and The Fat Duck. 
Gaynor: Meeting
Julia at the school gates (our children were in the same class) was the
catalyst for me to write Riverside Lane. We were both approaching milestone
birthdays and discovered a mutual lifelong ambition to write a novel, so we
jumped right in! In many ways, it was easier to write a novel with a new
friend, rather than someone I had known for years. It started out as an
adventure, dreaming up our story as we walked the beautiful Thames towpath but
very quickly turned into an all-consuming commitment. I was also inspired to
write Riverside Lane in memory of my lovely father, who sadly passed away, and
who always believed I had it in me.
Excerpt from
Riverside Lane:
bolted the door behind the journalist. Returning to her desk, she locked the drawer
and squeezed her eyes shut. “The blind will see, and those who see will become
blind,” she intoned, blinking furiously to dispel the strange dots that had
started presenting themselves in her vision. They were becoming more frequent;
Ivy knew she should visit an ophthalmologist. She hoped it was not
un-Christian, but the thought of being unable to read her beloved sheet music
upset her more deeply than any of the memories from her past. The Victorian
marble clock, which comforted her hourly with its sweet Handel music,
proclaimed that there was just enough time to deliver the cheque to the bank
and get back to the Village for Evensong.
at the bus stop with the melodious clock chimes still echoing softly in her
head, Ivy caught sight of Luca Tempesta walking through the churchyard. Handel,
she thought, had been sent to law school by his father, just like this
American. The former had abandoned his studies and blessed mankind with the
“Hallelujah” chorus; the latter, according to Ivy’s preliminary investigations,
had abandoned his to set up a private-detective firm; then, some years later,
he had apparently disappeared from God’s Earth without a trace. Except he had
not disappeared. He was here in the Village, living in Clive’s house, next door
to Frank, smoking Russian cigarettes. And Ivy Midwinter planned to find out

exciting story are you working on next?

Julia: We have
already plotted the sequel and are about a third of the way through writing it.
It is another cozy mystery, again on the banks of the Thames but this time set
in the picturesque village of Cookham, home to the artist Stanley Spencer and
the inspiration for Wind in the Willows.
did you first consider yourself a writer?
Julia: What a good question! Is everybody who writes a
writer? Or only those who complete, then get their novel published? I have
loved writing since I was a child dreaming up stories and poems about my life
on our farm in Somerset. I then wrote five children’s novels, one for each of
my children, but I have not, until now submitted any for publication. I admit I
had a moment of validation when we got our first pay cheque for Riverside Lane!
Gaynor: As a journalist
I can still remember the thrill of having my first piece published in The Mail
on Sunday. That was twenty years ago, so I am accustomed to seeing my by-line
in print. But getting a novel published is very different. Having the fortitude
to write and complete it, then the grit and determination to get it out there
and published, and finally the commitment to promote it, ‘ain’t for the
faint-hearted’. But if you have the strength of character to see it through,
and never ever give up, it’s worth the toil. Seeing Riverside Lane on the shelves
in book shops is pure gold.
Do you write full-time?
If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and
how do you find time to write
Julia: I heard a
hugely successful author at the London book fair say he splits his time about
50/50 between writing and promotion. And Ian Rankin has just gone on the record
saying that having to do social media reduces his output considerably. So, I
hope I am in good company when I say I am the same. It takes a lot of time and
effort to create the digital presence required to sell your work nowadays and
after a quick kayak or run around the block I spend the morning on social
media, updating the website and clearing the admin. I have also just started
blogging, reviewing children’s books on my new site so there is a lot of
reading to do. When all that is done I sit down to write. I am on a final edit
for one of my children’s books and the afternoon disappears in a flash once I
start that.
Gaynor: Working as a
journalist I write all day – meeting inspiring people in the public eye and
ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, gives me plenty of inspiration
for our novels! Combining writing novels with a full-time career is not easy, especially
when you throw a family in the mix with their long list of demands – it takes
good organisational skills and a healthy dose of humour!
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Julia: Unlike
Gaynor I cannot see the shape of stories in my head and so to manage the pace
and rhythm of a plot I need to see it written on a page. Obviously, that is
impossible with a huge manuscript but I can somehow get a feel for it by
drawing circles. I draw character circles and plot circles and I shade them
(very roughly – scribble might be a more accurate work) according to the flow
of the story.
Gaynor: I like to plot our
stories on paper. When Julia and I meet she is surrounded by the very latest in
gleaming technology and I appear with a pen and notepad. She is highly
organised and I am completely haphazard, plucking ideas from the sky and bits
of rolled up paper. She is DCI Jane Tennison to my Inspector Colombo! But it’s
a chemistry that works.

a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Julia: An actress. I loved drama, Shakespeare, and
having visited Stratford on Avon I developed aspirations to join the Royal
Shakespeare Company (no other theatre group would have been acceptable to me).
I’m afraid I was one of those dreadfully pretentious kids who drifted around
quoting Ophelia and looking longingly into puddles!
Gaynor: Age 7 I wanted
to grow up and be Donny Osmond’s wife. I loved his rendition of Puppy Love and
the cute little denim cap he wore. By the time I hit my teenage years, I wanted
to be writer, so getting Riverside Lane published, is the fulfilment of a
long-held dream. I’m now happily married, but still have a soft-spot for
Donny’s winning smile.
additional you want to share with the readers?
Julia: As you will
have gathered we are a writing partnership and I’d like to say what a wonderful
thing that is. Of course, we were lucky to find each other, working with
somebody you didn’t like or respect would not do, but writing with Gaynor is
terrific fun, a great learning curve and considerably less lonely than trying
to go it alone. And there is the bonus we only have to write half a book each!
Gaynor: Only that
life is short, seize it and enjoy every moment! And where possible, always try
to be kind.
Thank you for being
here today!

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12 thoughts on “Interview with mystery author Ginger Black

  1. Bernie Wallace says:

    What is your favorite series of books? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  2. Bernie Wallace says:

    Which book would you like to see a sequel to? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)Hotmail(d0t)com

  3. Bernie Wallace says:

    What is your favorite type of book? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)Hotmail(d0t)com

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