I'm pleased to welcome Lesley Cookman to the blog today. Lesley writes the Libby Sarjeant Mystery series. Murder Out of Tune is the the 14th book in the series.
Kathy: Libby Sarjeant is a retired actress. You were once an actor as was I. Studying theatre is more useful in "real life" than non theatre people realize. How do those skills help Libby?
LC: I think they help in questioning people’s motives and how they react. Playing a character on stage requires you to think about the background, and play the “what if” game quite a lot! And Libby can pretend to be both more intelligent and more dumb than she really is quite convincingly.
Kathy: In Murder Out of Tune a member of a local ukulele group is found dead. I must admit, I've never heard of a ukulele group. What made you choose ukuleles?
LC: It was my elder son’s idea. (He has quite a lot of them.) In the UK at the moment there is a ukulele craze, and every town and village seems to have a group. Ukes are comparatively easy to play, although the results can be a bit ear shattering, and it seemed to be a good setting for yet another murder.
Kathy: Libby and the gang are gearing for a Christmas concert and pantomime. Do you have any special memories of such events in your past?
LC: I am involved in pantomime almost every year at our local theatre, and my pantomimes are performed all over the UK so I have so many memories they get all muddled up. I have also written a book about pantomime, which is now in its third edition.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
LC: I read all my parents’ Golden Age detective stories when I was young, and they have remained my favourite genre of fiction. Libby, I hope, follows in its footsteps.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
LC: I have written romance (not very well!) and there are two books available somewhere under a different name, both written in the eighties. Not telling you about them!
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
LC: The Libby Sarjeant series is a cosy series in the amateur sleuth tradition, with a regular setting and cast of characters.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
LC: I love them all, but apart from Libby, perhaps Harry, the chef-patron of The Pink Geranium restaurant, because of his brashness, irreverence and hidden vulnerability.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
LC: The first book was inspired by learning about the history of Hop Pickers in Kent in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It grew from there.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
LC: I was approached by my publisher before the first book was finished. I had been a working journalist and stage writer for years before then.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
LC: Ngaio Marsh, Jerome K Jerome, Dodie Smith and Rex Stout.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
LC: The Cinderella Killer by Simon Brett.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
LC: Reading and theatre – particularly pantomime and Music Hall.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
LC: Tinned tomatoes, minced (ground) beef, onions, potatoes.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
LC: Murder In the Blood will be out in May or June, and Murder En Pointe in October. I have a few ideas for other series, but I’m not sure I will ever get around to them. Libby takes up so much of my time!
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
LC: Working from home, choosing my own hours and the friendship of other authors.