Monday, September 9, 2013

Interview With Joan Bassington-French

My dear friend and CBC, Joan Bassington-French, has just published her first book, a most excellent murder mystery, Christmas at the Tittletons! She is currently hosting a giveaway for a free copy of the book on her blog, Hidden Orchards, and you can find Christmas at the Tittletons HERE on Goodreads and HERE on CreateSpace.

Soon after the publication, I sent my friend an email, requesting an interview with her to share here on my blog. Being the loving CBC that she is, she heartily agreed, and now, m'dear readers, I am delighted to share that interview with all of you!

First, give me a short description of Christmas at the Tittletons.
This is the story of a Christmas party gone terribly wrong.  An unknown man is found stabbed in the alley behind Tittleton House.  Jessamine Warbling, a young London socialite, reluctantly lends Scotland Yard a helping hand at the request of Inspector Fionn, a Welsh inspector who also happens to be my favorite character.

What gave you the idea to write this story in the first place?
You know, Kiri!  Well, all right!!!  The story is based on a play that I wrote several years ago for my family and my CBCs’ family to act out together.  The play was so much fun that Kiri’s mother asked me if I was going to turn it into a book.  The actual idea for the story came to me probably four or five years ago, but I originally meant to set it in the U.S.

Who is your favorite minor character and why? 
My favorite minor character is Inspector Fionn.  Well, he is not exactly minor, but he isn’t one of the main characters, so he counts.  I like him because I have a partiality for Blond Moustaches.  NOT REALLY!   I actually like him because he is UNLIKE most of the Scotland Yard inspectors in stories.  He exhibits intelligence and he is a gentleman and if he arrives at an incorrect conclusion he is knows how to admit that he is wrong.

Is the current ending of Christmas at the Tittletons exactly as you imagined it would be when you first began writing the story?
Well, I hadn’t actually imagined the ending.  The play ends in ambiguity and all the characters have to try to solve the mystery on their own.  So when I wrote the story, I was dreading the ending.  I had no idea how I would end it.  Then, when I reached the reveal and conclusion, everything seemed to fall into place.

Let's suppose that someone just finished reading Christmas at the Tittletons and laid the book aside. What would you expect or hope his/her reaction to be?
His reaction?  Well, as you know, CatT has neither a sad nor a happy ending.  It has merely a resolution.  Therefore, I would expect the reader to be slightly shocked by the conclusion and a little sad that the story is over and sympathetic for the innocent characters who were affected by the evil and happy for the fact that a sequel IS coming.

Now let's switch topics from the enchanting story to the lovely creator. What is your purpose in writing?
My purpose in writing . . .  Well, I suppose I write because I like to write.  I mean, when I write any particular story, I am trying to keep a theme in place, but overall I just write because if I didn’t the stories would explode in my head.  Not literally, of course, but who knows?  If I hadn’t started writing I might be a raving lunatic right now.

What time of day do you find it the easiest to write?
Unfortunately, time of the day is incorrect.  I write my best and most at night, and by night I mean 10:00-3:00.  I am most definitely a night owl, and I find that I can write best when I am not worrying about having to cut my writing time short for anything.  Thus, most of CatT was written during those times named.

Do you often find what you believe coming through in your writing?
Oh, yes!  Yes, yes, yes!  In fact, Mama had to remind me that CatT was not a work of religion but a murder mystery.  In some ways this is good, because I am exhibiting Biblical truths in my writing.  On the other hand, I also have to watch out to make sure that my bad characters aren’t using Scripture quotations in their dialogue.

Every writer struggles with something when it comes to writing, whether it be plot, character development, dialogue, etc. What would you consider your weak point, and how do you plan on perfecting that?
My weak point is definitely character development.  Most of the time I am so wrapped up in the story that my characters ump from one frame of mind to another without an actual reason.  I am working on this by going slower as I write.  The best way to fix this, though, is to simply rewrite!

To wrap up, choose one of the stories you are currently working on (one of your favorites) and give me a taste of it, just enough to make me want to read more. 
I dug out The Dragon Bstirvm recently, so I’ll give you a sample of that:
           “I don’t want to know her name,” said King Edwin.  He looked at me curiously as I groveled on the floor before his throne.  “She is not important.  The fact is that you have a substitute.  Look upon this this woman, Gabrielle,” he said to a beautiful lady standing beside him.  “She is going to save your life.”
            I hated the king with my whole being.  I hated him for the fact that I could not speak, for the fact that he hadn’t the resolve to stand his ground, and for the fact that because of him, I was now an orphan.
            “Take her away and give her a dress befitting a princess, then send her out to the dragon,” said the king, waving his hand grandly.
            “Father, perhaps I could attend to her myself,” said the lady.
            “You!  Attend a commoner!”  The king’s dark eyes glistened with mirth.
            “I must thank her somehow,” said the lady.  “She is, after all, taking my place.”
            “Go, go, and get it over,” snapped the king.  “I don’t care what you do, as long as it is done and the dragon is appeased.”
            Gabrielle took me by the shoulder, and I shuddered at her touch.  I could not hate her, but I desperately wanted to do so.  Because she lived I was to die.
~ The Dragon Bstirvm
Again, if you'd like to add Christmas at the Tittletons to your virtual bookshelves, you can find it HERE on Goodreads, or if you'd like to get yourself a copy to put on your real bookshelves, you can purchase it HERE from CreateSpace, or if you'd like to enter the giveaway, you can click Here to visit the author's blog, Hidden Orchards.

God bless!

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