Today I’m pleased to welcome Hemmie Martin to the blog. Hemmie is the author of The Divine Pumpkin, Attic of the Mind, In the Light of Madness, Rightful Owner and Garlic and Gauloises. Her latest novel, What Happens After was published by Winter Goose Publishing on 8 March 2016.
Hemmie answered a few of my questions
1. Tell us a little about What Happens After.
Four couples attend a Parting Ways weekend at a hotel in Cambridge, where they hope to divorce amicably, mediated by two counsellors. When one of the participants is found murdered, DI Wednesday and DS Lennox are faced with a widow, sparring couples, the counsellors, and the hotel staff; with many of them having a reason to dislike the victim.
2. What inspired the book?
I read an article in a Sunday paper about this type of scheme in the Netherlands, and thought it would be a great premise for a murder. I’m also a huge fan of Agatha Christie, and I love the way many of her stories centre around a house or a hotel – they could be transferred onto the stage. Just look at the popularity of The Mouse Trap – which I loved by the way.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?
When I’m writing a crime novel, I have to have some plan in mind – which I usually transfer to a mind map – to ensure that I track each character’s movements at the time of the crime/s. Sometimes the antagonist changes from my original idea, part way through the novel, as the story has dictated I do that. For the backstory of the detectives, I tend to let the characters lead me, allowing myself to be surprised by the turn of events I hadn’t seen coming.
When I’m writing contemporary fiction, I tend to let the words flow freely, which I do find a more relaxing way to write.
It takes me about a year to write and edit – firstly by myself and secondly with my Editor at the publisher – a novel.
4. Having been through the creative process of writing and publishing a number of novels is there anything that still surprises you about the creative process of creating a book?
I still find that half way through each novel I have written, I believe I’m writing drivel and I should bin the story. I never have, as I’ve learnt that ploughing on does get results eventually, but it can be a tough time emotionally.
I still never really know when to stop editing. It’s a process I enjoy, and I’m always trying the sharpen a sentence or remove ‘dead wood’ from paragraphs. I would say editing has become easier overtime, and I’ve learnt a lot from my Editor.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I’m an avid reader, and I enjoy reading crime and contemporary fiction. I will read the opposite genre to the one I am writing so ideas from the novels I’m reading don’t leak into the one I am writing.
At the weekend, I love going to see live cover bands playing rock music in pubs. It’s a great way to relax, socialise, and sing along without anyone hearing me!
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
Ooh this is a tough question. I’m tempted to say ‘Testament of Youth’ by Vera Brittain as it is a hefty tome!
7. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Where do I see myself in five years’ time? In an ideal world – which I know we are far from currently – I would like to be sitting in my own study in a house in Norfolk, with a small dog at my feet. I would love the DI Wednesday series to be serialised on the television, and I would still like to be writing a new crime or contemporary novel every year. I would also dearly love to be featured in the Saturday Guardian’s review section, as I have bought many of the books reviewed there.
If any of the above does happen I will be an exceedingly happy bunny!
Thanks very much for answering my questions and for appearing on my blog.
Thank you for having me, Janet, your questions have been fun to answer.
About the book
“What happens after the murder? A killing has occurred during a Parting Ways weekend, where couples make an attempt at divorcing amicably. The fallout points in many directions as Wednesday and Lennox are faced with a widow, sparring couples, the group facilitators, and the hotel staff, all as suspects. While the confounding case strengthens Wednesday’s negative views on relationships, it brings Lennox to a place of reflection as he analyzes his past and contemplates his future.”