A delicious 1940s mystery.
Birmingham, England, 1943. While the whine of the air raid sirens might no longer be rousing him from bed every night, a two-decade-old unsolved murder case will ensure that Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is about to suffer more sleepless nights. Young Robert McFarlane’s body was found outside the local church hall on 30th September 1923. But, his cause of death was drowning, and he’d been missing for three days before his body was found. No one was ever arrested for the crime. No answers could ever be given to the grieving family. The unsolved case has haunted Mason ever since. But, the chance discovery of another victim, with worrying parallels, sets Mason, and his constable, O’Rourke, on a journey that will take them back over twenty-five years, the chance to finally solve the case, while all around them the uncertainty of war continues, impossible to ignore.
When and where do you prefer to write?
I write at home. Before Lockdown, I used to like writing in coffee shops, but I’d been moving away from that so I was prepared and able to write from home when there was no other choice. I like there to be lots of natural light, and I have a large screen because otherwise I get headaches from squinting at the screen. (I have my zoom function turned up to 300% in Word).
I’m happy to write at any time of the day. Ideally, I like to get up and complete the majority of my writing in the morning, have a long break, and then go back to it later on. But, sometimes, I get caught up and simply can’t stop myself from writing, and editing at any old time.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
I listen to music when I write, most of the time. It means others at home can go about their usual business without distracting me, and it’s become one of those things that allows me to create. I stick my headphones on, choose my music, and start typing.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
It would have to be with one of the authors who first made me want to write for myself, so Katharine Kerr or Anne McCaffrey. I know Anne McCaffrey always said her PERN books were sci fi, but without a bit of historical fantasy embedded, they wouldn’t have been so wonderful. And Katharine Kerr is amazing. I love her Deverry books. I still remember my first purchase in Forbidden Planet in London (I think it was called that). What an epic moment in my life.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
Oh, I want to be the complex one who can be good, but can also be badJ
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Ah, I’m not really sure I know. I would like to have a chat with no end of characters from throughout history – I’d certainly like to have a chin-wag with Elizabeth I, about all her intended beaus and whether Robert Dudley was really her favourite.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
Sitting in my ‘chair,’ in the kitchen/lounge or very occasionally, outside. I mostly read on my kindle unless I’m researching, and then I like a proper ‘book’ to leave random notes in which amuse me years later when I come across them.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
Sitting at my desk, or out walking in the countryside or to the beach. There’s not a lot else these days.
The lake at the top of Cragside – I walk there once or twice a week.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
I’m always excited when a new book is released, but also quite relieved that it’s complete and released into the wild.
How do you come up with a title for your book?
I have no idea how I came up The Custard Corpses. It really did just appear out of nowhere. I often start with a title, and then write the book around it, but sometimes the title appears later on, and I have been known to change titles before publication.
How do you pick a cover for your book?
For a long time, I’ve made my own covers, and will continue to do so, but I have worked with a cover designer for The Custard Corpses. I knew exactly what I wanted, but didn’t have the skills to design it myself. It was a fantastic experience.
But usually, I have a firm idea in mind for a cover, and I design it using stock images and the ‘font’ that I use on almost all books.
Thank you for inviting me to your blog today.
Thank you, M J Porter and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the Author
M J Porter writes historical fiction set before 1066. Usually.
This is M J’s first foray into the historical mystery genre and the, relatively recent, twentieth century.
M J writes A LOT, you’ve been warned.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Porter/e/B006N8K6X4
Universal Buy Link: mybook.to/TheCustardCorpses