Deirdre Cossette is the self appointed carer for the elderly on The Avenue and all of her friends have stories to tell. Margery, whose comfortable life was destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan, who made a mistake as a young footballer which cost him his friends and his self-respect. Marina, whose slim and stylish figure hides a terrible secret from the summer of Live Aid. And, Oliver and Archie, who have survived everything from post war homophobia to a family tragedy – and they have done it together. Deirdre believes that everyone should have a choice. If they want to live on a diet of cakes, drink the alcoholic equivalent of a small hydrotherapy pool, or take on a toy boy lover in spite of a dodgy heart, Deirdre believes it is their right to do so. If they remember her in their wills afterwards, that’s not her fault, is it? However, not everyone agrees with her. When disgruntled relatives from the present meet up with disgruntled ghosts from her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I combine writing with being a full-time carer for my ninety-three-year-old Mother. She likes a nice lie-in in the morning, so anytime before she wakes up works in well. This also fits in with the fact that I have an early morning brain – by five o’clock in the afternoon it only seems good for watching soaps or fluffy television! I generally write at home but I like to write during long train journeys, maybe the gentle rocking is good for my creative juices! However, taking a trip to Edinburgh every time I needed to sort out my writer’s block may work out a little expensive!
– Do you have a certain ritual?
Not really, although I find I have a habit of reading back what I have written almost obsessively, tinkering with a word here and there. This means there is the danger of it becoming the literary equivalent of the Forth Road Bridge – it will never be finished – unless I become harsh with myself!
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
I start of with herbal teas and graduate to coffee mid-morning. I need a lot of liquid, so if I drank coffee all the time, I would be floating on the ceiling …
– What is your favourite book?
It tends to fluctuate, but the following books are always somewhere on the list. ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt. ‘Just Henry’ by Michelle Magorian, ‘Blacklands’ by Belinda Bauer, ‘No Night Is Too Long’ by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendall) and either ‘Rough Music’,’A Place Called Winter’ or ‘Sweet Obscurity’ by Patrick Gale
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I’m always thinking about writing different genres. Both ‘Postcards From Another Life’ and ‘Killing Them With Kindness’ were quite different. ‘Postcards’ I would describe as a cross between a ghost story, murder mystery and gay love story while ‘Killing Them With Kindness’ is more of an ensemble piece of Woman’s Fiction. However, both of them are set in more than one time zone and both have mysteries which gradually get revealed during the novel. I would certainly rule nothing out, if an idea interested me, I’d try and write about it, regardless of what genre it was.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Apparently, I do! I was chatting with a friend, discussing ‘Killing Them With Kindness’ and he asked me to name my favourite character from the book. I veered away from the main characters and chose Piers Harper-Vallée. To which my friend grinned and said ‘Of course he is. He’s Ian isn’t he …?’ When I thought about it, I realised that I had given Piers many of Ian, my partner’s, most attractive characteristics.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Maybe I should! I’m getting to the age when I think: ‘That’s a good idea, I’m definitely using that ..’ only to have completely forgotten what I was thinking about by the time I reach a pen, paper or computer!
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I don’t think there is any I actively dislike. Growing up in the seventies there always seemed to be a Western on TV and a lot of the lads at school read Western novels, while I preferred Agatha Christie or Victor Gunn murder mysteries. Now though, I realise that they have all the subject matter that I find fascinating: love, revenge, betrayal.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I have been lucky, since I started writing, to have met loads of wonderful authors from many different backgrounds. I would write with any one of them. However, I think writing a book with Amanda Prowse would be ridiculous fun and I also love Patrick Gale’s writing style.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
Iceland. There is something about cold countries that I find fascinating, emotive and mysterious. I also think that a country that spends most of the winter with only five hours of daylight lends itself to a few cracking murder mysteries. I would love to spend a year there, immersing myself in the country and see what I came up with at the end!
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog.
Thank you, Andy Paulcroft and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Andy Paulcroft grew up in Weston-super-Mare, and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister’s copy of Five Run Away Together and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. After many years of writing two to three chapters of a book before discarding it, he finally published his first novel Postcards From Another Life – in December 2017. The wonderful feeling of completing a novel was only surpassed by receiving a positive reaction from people who had read it. He retired from catering and recently published his second novel Killing Them With Kindness. He is now working on his third book.
@Andy.Paulcroft (Facebook Page)