Welcome Angela Wren to Friday’s Blogspot – having recently had a novel publishing by Crooked Cat Publishing – Messandrierre – she’s here to tell us what inspired her to write it, share an extract and also tell us about herself. If you fancy a read all the buy links are at the bottom of the page. Over to you Angela…
Since being a teenager I’ve spent as much of my spare time in France as I possibly could. This has meant that I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to travel the length and breadth of the country and then some!
From, more or less, the same time I’ve always wanted to write. I can recall – now with mortifying and cringing embarrassment – once telling an elderly aunt that I wanted to be the world’s next Shakespeare. My only defence in making that incredibly rash statement was that I was very young at the time! So, put those two things together and it seems to me that a novel about my most favourite place was on the cards long before I even consciously took up my quill – sorry, I mean biro – and made that very first brief note about an odd idea that had been circling at the back of my mind.
That note was scribbled down in September 2007, the 29th to be precise, as a direct result of a change in the weather a few days earlier. I’d been travelling in the Cévennes and woke one morning to find the stunning scenery transformed by snow. It was that white covering that kept my mind exercised until I had formulated the idea of using snow to cover someone’s misdeeds – and the first page of my story began to take shape.
‘I died beneath a clear autumn sky in September, late in September when warm cévenol afternoons drift into cooler than usual evenings before winter steals down from the summit of Mont Aigoual.
My shallow grave lies in a field behind an old farmhouse. There was no ceremony to mark my death and no mourners, just a stranger in the darkness spading soil over my body. Only the midnight clouds cried for me as they carried their first sprinkling of snow to the tiny village of Messandrierre.
My innocent white coverlet allowing the earth around me to shift and settle unseen and become comfortable again. ’
It was two years later, whilst travelling in the Charente, that I finally worked out who the body was, how the death had occurred, who the killers were and who my hero was going to be. All of which meant a lot of scribbled notes. The really hard work began at the end of 2013 when I started to actually write the story that had been haunting me for about 4 years. Some 50 pages in and I realised I didn’t know enough about my central character, Gendarme Jacques Forêt. This time I did my thinking in the Cévennes, Aude and Hérault. With scenery in the picture to look at, it is hard not to be inspired and Jacques soon became a fully formed character in his own right.
‘…Jacques stared at the page and then up at Gaston. “You know we have no other sightings of these two after they arrived here, don’t you?” He kept his eye on his friend to gauge his reaction to what had just been said.
“Yes. Your colleagues from Mende made a point of telling me that,” Gaston said, angrily stubbing out his Gitanes in the ashtray.
Jacques sat back and tossed his notebook down on the table. “Gaston, you have a record and a history of violence. The Investigating Magistrate will be aware of that and it seems that you are the last person to see this couple alive. Are you absolutely certain that there is nothing you want to tell me?”
“My conviction. Yes, that always surfaces eventually. Back then I was hot headed, seventeen and stupid and I’ve paid for my mistake.” Snapping his receipt book shut he tossed it onto the top tray. He frowned and looked down. “And, OK, I sometimes get a bit rough with drunk tourists, but that’s all…’
“And the fracas at the dance in February?”
Gaston slumped back in his chair. “All right. I got a bit heavy-handed then too. But nothing else, Jacques. I swear.”
There was a heaviness to the smoky air in the room and Jacques let the pause in their conversation ferment for a few moments before he stood up and spoke. “I didn’t put the incident in February on record, Gaston. I ought to have done. But as I was there to smooth things over, I didn’t bother with the paperwork.” He picked up his notebook. “I hope that doesn’t turn out to be a mistake.” ‘
And there you have it – a simple tale that begins with Shakespeare, moves through France and ends with a novel, Messandrierre!
Messandrierre – The Blurb
Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre.
But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.
Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?
Messandrierre – the first in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.
Website : www.angelawren.co.uk
Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com
Facebook : Facebook/angelawren
Having followed a career in Project and Business Change Management, I now work as an Actor and Director at a local theatre. I’ve been writing, in a serious way, for about 5 years. My work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout my adult life.
I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. I also write comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of my stories are set in France where I like to spend as much time as possible each year.