This week on Wordy Wednesday an interview with Michelle Birkby, who writes historical crime fiction, focusing on women.
So of course I asked her why and she said:
I love history, and crime, and think there aren't enough female detectives - or villains for that matter - out there, so I wrote some. I'm currently writing the Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson Investigations, which starts in The House At Baker Street and continues in The Women of Baker Street.
Mrs Hudson is, of course, Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper and Mary Watson is Dr Watson's wife. In The House at the Baker Street they take on a case Sherlock Holmes rejects, dealing with a blackmailer and it becomes far more dark and dangerous then they could imagine. In The Women of Baker Street, Mrs Hudson finds herself in hospital, and sets about investigating mysterious deaths there, as Mary investigates the disappearance of street boys. They soon find the two cases are linked.
Intriguing indeed! and now, knowing more about Michelle's books, we must move on to the probing questions you all know and love, don't worry, she is asked the biscuit question...but first
Do you have another job or are you a full time author? If you do something else (international spy?) what is it and do you like it?
I was surprised as anyone when I woke up the day after my first book was published and found I wasn't immediately as rich as J.K. Rowling! So, until that happens, I do agency admin work. It means I get to work in lots of different places, doing lots of different things, meeting lots of different people. It can be fun, and it can also be awful. I would prefer to write full time.
Why did you start writing?
I've always written, ever since I was a child. My head is just full of stories that I had to get out. It wasn't enough just to tell the stories to myself, I wanted everyone to read them.
3 things that are guaranteed to make you smile.
A new book to read
Do you have any pets?
No pets now.I did have a Russian Dwarf hamster called Boris once. He kept biting people and was very bad-tempered, so suppose pets do become like their owners. (I don't actually bite...)
Who is your favourite author? Do they influence your writing or are they a total break from the sort of thing you write?
Just one favourite author? No, I need two. I love Charlotte Bronte - all that dark passion and angry, independent heroines. And I love Agatha Christie. She writes perfect crime stories. They totally influence my writing. Would Jane Eyre stand for this? Could Miss Marple solve this?
Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
The Crusades by Thomas Asbridge. I've read about this era in historical fiction so many times, I wanted to read a non-fiction book about it. Les Parisennes by Anne Sebba, another non-fiction book, this time about the women of Paris during World War Two. I just finished Die of Shame by Mark Billingham, which was really good, and I'm just about to start The Shadow Queen by Anne O'Brien. She's one of my favourite historical fiction authors and this one, about Joan of Kent, looks really good.
I can never stick to one book at a time.
Which three cities would you most like to visit and why?
Paris, again! I've been to Paris so many times, but I'm always happy to go again. I love wandering around Montmartre.
Venice. It's beautiful, and it's disappearing.
Rome. All that history! I've read all the Mary Beard and Tom Holland books about it and now I want to see it.
Tell us about the character that you've written that you like the most - no spoilers!
I'm tempted to say Mary Watson, as I like her ability to just charge straight into any situation. But I think it's Mrs Hudson. She's quiet and still and stands in the background and everyone ignores her. However she sees and hears everything, and she's clever, and when the moment is right, she steps into the limelight and is magnificent. I always cheer when she does that.
What is your favourite biscuit?
Bourbons. I like to pull them apart and eat that cream then the biscuit. I am aware that this makes a monster in some people's eyes!
In the film of your life who would play you?
Olivia Colman! Because I just think she's wonderful, and she's so good at playing those characters everyone underestimates, and seems so ordinary and clumsy, but have brilliant moments. And she got to act with David Tennant and Tom Hiddleston. Lucky woman.
If you could genetically cross an animal and a vegetable, what would you pick and why? I like the idea of asparagus and a giraffe...tender neck
A tomato and a small dog. So you'd end up with something small and round and furry and eminently cuddleworthy, and also bright red, my favourite colour.
Grab a copy of The House at Baker Street here
and a copy of The Women of Baker Street here
And find Michelle on Facebook here
Do check out her words this Wednesday (or any day!) and as always a big thanks to our author this week, Michelle Birkby.
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