Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.
Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.
Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.
When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.
Because, after all, it’s her funeral…
Hello b for book review! Thanks for taking part in the Five Wakes and a Wedding blog tour, and here are the answers to your questions.
When and where do you prefer to write?
I’ve converted a small corner of my small apartment into a extremely small office. I’ve tried working in cafes, but I usually end up having interesting conversations with strangers, rather than sitting industriously hunched over my laptop. And why commute if you don’t have to? When I’m writing a novel, I treat it as a job, and try to keep office hours.
Do you have a certain ritual?
Sit down at nine. Bugger around online. Realise it’s eleven o’clock – how did that happen?!? – and then get on with it.
Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
No. Even coffee is banned, following two unfortunate incidents involving keyboards and large repair bills. I use music for company – the soundtrack to Titanic featured heavily when I was writing Five Wakes and a Wedding.
What’s s your favourite book?
A Prayer for Owen Meaney, by John Irving.
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
A character might occasionally start off as someone I know, but it’s never long before they turn into someone else entirely!
Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
No. Very occasionally I make a note on my phone. But I’ve always thought that the ideas you remember are the one that are properly important.
Which genre do you not like at all?
Science fiction and fantasy.
If you had the chance to co-write a book, whom would it be with?
Mauricio Potchettino, who was recently sacked as manager of the football club I support, Tottenham Hotspur. I’d like to know what really happened that day in the boardroom. And because he’s a genius manager whose likely next move will be to a club like Real Madrid or Manchester United, I’m confident it would be a best seller.
If you travelled to a foreign country to do research, where would you chose and why?
I once spent six months in Spain to write a book, but ended up having an excellent sabbatical instead! It’s so easy to do research online these days. Everything I’ve written to date has been set in London, and that’s unlikely to change. But if I did write something with a foreign setting, I think I’d write the story first, and then travel to the country to see how much I’d got wrong, and to inject some local colour.
Would you consider writing a different genre in the future?
So far, I’ve written romantic comedy – Five Wakes and a Wedding and Mother of the Year – a thriller called The Power Behind the Throne and a gambling memoir, Bets and the City. (Those last two published under the name of Sally Nicoll.) I’ve also ghostwritten a few autobiographies. Genre jumping isn’t especially good for the career, so I think I’ll be sticking to romantic comedy noir from now on!
Thank you, Karen Ross and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
As a former journalist, broadcaster and advertising copywriter, Karen Ross has followed a fairly traditional path into writing fiction. Five Wakes and a Wedding is her fourth book, and like its predecessors, the novel has two common threads: the setting is London’s Primrose Hill – Karen’s own neighbourhood – and one of the characters is a dog . . . this time he’s called Chopper and he’s almost the same size as a Shetland Pony
Karen has been self-employed for many years, and continues to work as a marketing consultant, in the absence of an offer to manage Tottenham Hotspur. By way of credentials, her other ‘job’ is trading profitably on the world’s first football stockmarket, a platform called Football Index, where you buy and sell players with real money.