Today my guest is rather unusual. She is someone I know in real life! We’ve actually met up for a great afternoon natter and coffee near her home in the Auvergne. Yes, please welcome Tottie Limejuice, a fellow-naturalised Française!
I know you love dogs, so just make a fuss of Lily for a minute and she’ll leave you alone.
Hello Lily, can you smell Fleur and Rosie? They say hello. I’ve not brought them today as Fleur is a thug.
Right! I invited you over today to talk about your fantastic change of direction. Firstly, can you tell us about your previous works?
With pleasure! Under my pen name of Tottie Limejuice, I’ve written a series of three travel memoirs, ‘Sell the Pig’, ‘Is That Billinge Lump?’ and ‘Mother Was It Worth It?’. They’re about the rather mad decision to move to France with my elderly and dotty mother and my depressed dipsomaniac brother.
I’ve also written a small hand book about writing press releases, also as Tottie Limejuice, about getting free publicity through the media.
I started out in life as a journalist, I did pre-entry training at the Harris Institute in Preston, then did a three-year probationary post on a newspaper in Greater Manchester. I worked mainly as a court and coroner’s court reporter. I also worked for the Crown Prosecution Service for a time, as a case tracker.
More recently I have worked as a freelance copywriter and copy editor, from which I retired in July 2014, leaving me free to do more writing. I’ll be starting on another of the travel memoirs soon.
They have done extremely well but now you are writing murder mystery. Come on, spill the beans. How did you get the idea and how long did it take you to write it?
This is going to sound incredibly cheesy but I did literally dream up the idea. Crime has always been my favourite genre to read but it never occurred to me to write one, until the age of 62. I know, I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes!
Then the night before Christmas I had an amazing dream which was the complete outline for a crime thriller, characters and all. So when I woke up and had walked Fleur, I just sat down at the computer and started to type like an even more demented than usual thing.
I only broke off briefly for a couple of hours on Boxing Day when I had to go and pick up new dog Rosie.
This is very good cake, by the way, thank you for baking a special gluten free one for me, and lovely Earl Grey too, my favourite.
It’s a pleasure, we always try to find favourites in the Bingergread Cottage! Do go on, I’m fascinated about this crime thriller.
The crime thriller was such a huge departure from what I am best known for that it was a bit of a gamble but it has been very well received so far. I wrote that under the name of L M Krier, which is actually a part of my real name.
When I told friends I was taking to writing crime, I know some of them were pretty horrified as it’s quite a saturated market, just about everything has been done to death. Luckily the dream provided me with someone very different in the form of my police detective. I got fed up of reading about ones who were very tall and good looking, or heavy drinkers/gamblers, all in flaky marriages. My character, DI Ted Darling, is very different from the norm. He is quite small, he’s gay, and he is in a steady long-term loving relationship.
I wrote it in about three weeks. I always write like a steam-train but that was something of a record. I had so much fun doing it and the characters took over my life to such an extent that there will be a Book II and I have already started roughing it out on paper.
Do you read crime at all? Or watch it on TV? My taste is quite old-fashioned. I like TV classics like Cracker, Frost, the early Prime Suspect. I’m not too keen on the modern trend for arty-farty. I keep falling asleep in Broadchurch, for instance.
Yes, I do, I watch a lot of it on TV. In fact that is how Cameron Lawton was inspired to write his two gay military investigators – we must introduce them to your new character! Do have some more cake.
More cake? Well, if you insist, it would be impolite to refuse. I’d love the recipe, thanks.
As well as the crime stuff, I am also planning to bring out a couple of children’s books this year, old fashioned animal adventures, like the Enid Blytons and Pullein-Thompson sisters’ books I used to read as a child. They’ve fallen out of fashion, sadly, but I think there is a nostalgic appeal to that type of thing, a novelty to children and a return to childhood for their parents. They will appear under the name L M Kay, as I don’t think Tottie is quite the right name for a children’s author and using my crime-writing name might scare them off.
It’s true. The Otter stories I put on this blog are very popular with adults even though at first glance they appear to be children’s material.
But it’s really the crime I want to concentrate on for the future as I enjoyed doing it so much.
Thanks for having me, it’s been lovely to chat. If Lily will get up off my feet now, I better get back to Fleur and Rosie.
As always, it has been a real pleasure to chat with you and I’m sure you’ll be back soon. Now let’s hear how we can get our hands on your books and learn more about you. Thanks so much for coming, Tottie. Safe journey home xx