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Guest author - JL Merrow

March 24th, 2015 (12:22 pm)

Lovely to welcome Jamie here today. How are you doing, toots?

Hi Charlie – thanks for having me on your blog! It’s great to be here today as part of the Heat Trap blog tour. J

Charlie: Got to ask - when and why did you 'turn to crime'?

JJamie: I’ve always had something of an affinity for crime... No, this isn’t about to turn into a confession! Growing up, I was a voracious reader, and as there was a limit to the number of books my library would let me borrow at a time, my reading was supplemented by my mother’s (fairly vast) stock of paperbacks, and so I read what she read: science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries.

 These days I read very little science fiction and fantasy, but I still love a good mystery. I think perhaps it’s partly because in classic science fiction and fantasy, the characters and, to a lesser extent, plot were sometimes secondary to the science and/or world-building. Mysteries and crime fiction, on the other hand, depend a great deal on plot and character. Now I’m older I find I have less of an attention span for meticulously crafted worlds. I just want to get straight down to the story, and increasingly it’s the characters that make or break a book for me.

I’m also very fond of the “ordinary bloke in extraordinary circumstances” sort of plot and crime is the perfect genre to play around with this idea. I think it lets the reader identify with the character in a way most people can’t with a highly trained police officer, whose reaction to sudden mortal peril or stumbling over a dead body is bound to be different to the average person’s. Which is why, in the Plumber’s Mate books, Tom the plumber is my narrator and not Phil the private investigator. J

Charlie: What's different between writing mystery and romances?

Jamie: Well, to be fair, my mysteries are also, to greater or lesser extent, romances. I find writing mysteries both harder and easier than straightforward romance—mostly, I think, harder! Yes, having a mystery plot at the heart of the book gives you something to hang the romance on, but mystery plots can be tricky little devils to work out. Plotting my work before I write it is not something that comes naturally to me—I’m a dyed-in-the-wool pantser—so writing mystery novels tends to take me longer and involve more tearing of hair.

On the plus side, I think a mystery plot adds an extra dimension to the book, over and above the will-they-won’t-they of a romance (and let’s face it, in a romance, we’re pretty sure they will!)


Charlie: How do you make sure you play fair with the reader?

Jamie: I have some excellent critique partners who are ruthless in rapping me over the knuckles if I don’t!

Charlie: If you could borrow somebody else's sleuth to be in your story, who would it be and why?


Jamie: Ooh, so tempting... It’d have to be someone to knock heads with Phil, I think, because I do love to be cruel to my characters! Maybe BBC’s Sherlock—Phil would hate him, seeing him as an arrogant, over-privileged git. And he’d be jealous of his clothes. I think Tom and John Watson would get on well, though, and Tom and Phil would both like and respect DI Lestrade. Tom might just possibly have the tiniest bit of a crush on him, in fact. Which would lead to Phil not liking the Detective Inspector quite so much, when he realised. But he’d still respect him. Probably. ;)

Or maybe Lord Peter Wimsey—I play with ideas of social class in my Plumber’s Mate books, so it’d be fun to bring in a true blue aristocrat. Phil wouldn’t hate him—Wimsey’s too much of a gentleman to be actively hated—but they’re not likely to end up drinking buddies, either, and it’d all be grist to the inferiority complex mill. Tom, of course, would be fine with any or all of Wimsey, Bunter and the Dowager Duchess, and he’d probably end up charming Harriet Vane as well. Tom can get along with anyone.

***

Jamie's Giveaway: I’m offering a free ebook from my backlist (including Heat Trap) to a randomly chosen commenter on this post.

And there’s a grand prize of a signed paperback copy of book #2 in my Plumber’s Mate series, the EPIC award finalist Relief Valve, plus a pair of rainbow-coloured merino wool blend wrist-warmers, hand-knitted by the author, for one lucky commenter on the tour.

rainbow_mitts

I’m happy to ship internationally, and the more blog posts you comment on, the more chances you get!

Please remember to leave an email addy in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win.

I’ll be making the draws around teatime on Wednesday 1st April, GMT (no joke!)

Good luck! :D

HeatTrap72web


The wrong secret could flush their love down the drain
It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit with a shocking revelation about his family. His lover, P.I. Phil Morrison, is pushing this as an ideal opportunity for Tom to try to develop his psychic talent for finding things. Tom would prefer to avoid the subject altogether, but just as he decides to bite the bullet, worse problems come crawling out of the woodwork.
Marianne, a young barmaid at the Devil’s Dyke pub, has an ex who won’t accept things are over between them. Grant Carey is ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets between him and Marianne, including an old friend of Tom and Phil. Their eagerness to step in and help only makes them targets of Grant’s wrath themselves.
With Tom’s uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the revelation of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, suddenly Tom’s not sure whom he can trust.
The body in the Dyke’s cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.
Warning: Contains British slang, a very un-British heat wave, and a plumber with a psychic gift who may not be as British as he thinks he is.
Available in ebook and paperback: Samhain |   Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | ARe
 

Comments

Posted by: helenajust (helenajust)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 12:48 pm (UTC)

This was fun! I agree with your comments on science fiction and fantasy; I liked John Wyndham, but can't be doing with the word-building in modern books. Mysteries are favourites, too -- I started with old Enid Blyton books, moved on to Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy L Sayers via Agatha C., and haven't looked back. I'd love to see Lord Peter with your boys!

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 01:51 pm (UTC)

Oh, I was totally addicted to Enid Blyton as a child! I used to scour second-hand book shops searching for rogue Famous Five books - I think I had the complete set in the end. :D

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 03:36 pm (UTC)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 03:37 pm (UTC)

Posted by: helenajust (helenajust)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 07:43 pm (UTC)

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: April 1st, 2015 10:14 pm (UTC)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: April 2nd, 2015 01:31 pm (UTC)

Posted by: susana (susanaperezrodr)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 01:13 pm (UTC)

I have just finished reading Heat Trap and loved it. I just have a problem now, that is having to wait for the next instalment of the series. I do not think I have enough nails to bite while waiting...

susanaperez7140(at)gmail(dot)com

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 01:53 pm (UTC)

So glad you enjoyed Heat Trap, Susana!
And I'm writing as fast as I can! ;)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 03:41 pm (UTC)

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 11:22 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Allison Hickman (Allison Hickman)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 01:24 pm (UTC)
Great series!

I'm in the middle of Heat Trap right now after having reread the first two. Such a wonderful book and series! I've always been a big mystery reader as well. Allison

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 01:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Great series!

Thanks, Allison! Glad you enjoyed it. :D

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 03:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Great series!

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 03:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Great series!

Posted by: Toni Aquilante (Toni Aquilante)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 01:29 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the fun interview! I'm looking forward to reading Heat Trap.

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 03:48 pm (UTC)

She writes a good book, that gal.

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 01:54 pm (UTC)

Thanks, Toni - hope you'll enjoy it! :D

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 25th, 2015 12:42 pm (UTC)

I really appreciate that you've responded to all comments, sweetie. Many authors don't.

Posted by: rapidess (rapidess)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 02:17 pm (UTC)

Thank you for sharing :)

The Plumber's Mate Series is awesome ;)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 03:51 pm (UTC)

I'd have to agree!

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 06:23 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Wax Applelover (waxapplelover)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)

Lovely interview. I think that so many of us (myself included) read mysteries as a child for the wonder of it. I loved the challenge of thinking through who the baddy could be and enjoyed that "aha!" moment in each book. I think that's why I continue to read them. :)

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 06:25 pm (UTC)

*nods* I think, too, children are often very moral and like to see that rules are enforced, so they enjoy stories when the bad guy gets caught and punished. It's something most kids can relate to! ;)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 09:28 pm (UTC)

Posted by: marasmine (marasmine)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 07:25 pm (UTC)

Great interview and some very thought provoking ideas. I reckon it's the wrist warmers generating all these comments. No disrespect to what sounds like a great book! :)

I'm going to pick a buy link and indulge in some retail therapy.

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 09:29 pm (UTC)

LOL sounds good.

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 11:20 pm (UTC)

Posted by: red_day_dawning (red_day_dawning)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 10:01 pm (UTC)

I love the idea of a BBC Sherlock crossover with your Plumber's Mate series. It's so easy imagining Sherlock striding around dismissing Tom's 'finding', even as he's utilising it.

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: March 24th, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC)

Oh lord, don't tempt me! ;D

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 25th, 2015 12:43 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Alleson Lawless (Alleson Lawless)
Posted at: March 25th, 2015 12:02 am (UTC)

I will read anything. Fantasy, mystery, comedy, biography. As long as I find the premise even remotely interesting, I'll read the heck out of it.

allesonl at gmail dot com

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: March 25th, 2015 12:45 pm (UTC)

I have similar reding habits. Just has to be a good book.

Posted by: Su Holland (Su Holland)
Posted at: March 31st, 2015 08:57 pm (UTC)
JL Merrow Blog Tour

Hi

I just had a funny thought of Phil & Tom meeting various literary detectives at various ages in their lives? I wonder how they would have dealt with the Fantastic 5, Phil would probably had got annoyed by the privileged children, but I think they would both be very polite to Mrs Marple. What about Philip Marlow PI, cynical, dry sense of humour, not keen of rich folk, hmm interesting! :)

Thank you for the giveaway chance slholland22 {at} hotmail {dot} com

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: April 1st, 2015 10:42 am (UTC)
Re: JL Merrow Blog Tour

That would be such a hoot!

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: April 1st, 2015 11:18 pm (UTC)
Re: JL Merrow Blog Tour

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: April 2nd, 2015 01:32 pm (UTC)
Re: JL Merrow Blog Tour

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