Thursday, May 09, 2013

Delighted to announce...Anne Perry!

Anne Perry is an internationally-known and bestselling
writer (since 1970! Thirty years of book publishing. We all could want a career like that). She’s also Guest of Honor at the Historical Novels Society conference coming up next month in St. Petersburg, Florida. Perry’s website says, “None of her books has ever been out of print, and they have received critical acclaim and huge popular success: over 26 million books are in print world-wide.”

She has been writing the well-known Victorian crime/mystery series about detective Thomas Pitt and his aristocratic wife Charlotte since 1979, and in 1990 started a new series set about 35 years earlier, with private detective William Monk and sidekick nurse Hester Latterly. She’s still publishing more new creations focused on WWI as well as her most recent novel, a stand-alone, titled The Sheen on the Silk,

set in the exotic and dangerous world of the Byzantine Empire. She lives in Scotland.

As part of building up buzz for the conference, each day in May a different panelist will be featured on a different blog, a wonderful engineering feat organized by author Vanitha Sankaran. I’ll be featuring four authors on each of the upcoming Fridays in May, and I’m delighted that today’s author is such a behemoth of mystery writing. Vanitha wrote the questions, solicited the answers, and gave each of us bloggers free range to cull what to use, and how to illustrate it. Since Perry has literally dozens of books out—I counted 78 but may be incorrect—I have decided to festoon this post with as many book jackets as I can manage.

Now without further ado, here’s a brief Q&A;

How do you find the people and topics of your books?
In present-day news.*

Do you follow a specific writing and/or research process?
Yes, when I've got the topic, I think of the main character (i.e. Pitt or Monk) and what story will carry that theme. Then, I research what is necessary to make sure that story would work. Then I outline the story chapter by chapter then do the final research for the details.

For you, what is the line between fiction and fact?
Fact is what did happen, fiction is what could happen.

Do you have an anecdote about a reading or fan interaction you'd like to share?
Not a specific anecdote, but the thing that's most important to me is when someone says reading something I have written has helped them through a hard, tough patch.

Is there an era/area that is your favorite to write about? How about to read?
One I'd love to write about is the French revolution.

What are your favorite reads? Favorite movies? Dominating influences?
Favourite reads are present-day American mysteries, just for pleasure. Movies: A Good Woman (Oscar Wilde) with Helen Hunt. Intouchables (a superb French film). I think poetry and GK Chesterton in particular.

Is there a writer, living or deceased, you would like to meet?
GK Chesterton! I think sometimes it is better not to meet your idols for fear of they don't like you.

What book was the most fun for you to write? The Sheen on the Silk, because I loved letting rip with Zoe.

A few comments from me:
1. She’s an outliner! I guess for mystery writers it’s absolutely necessary, but I’m still excited to read this since I’m such an outlining advocate.
2. I noticed that without a hitch she changed the Americanized “favorite” to “favourite!” Good thing the questions didn’t involve any lorries, lifts, chips or flats.
3. How awesome would a French Revolution novel from her be?!

 * I found her answer that she found her book topics in present-day news fascinating, because Perry’s life itself has been splashed across headlines. Born as Juliet Hulme, she and her best friend murdered the friend’s mother when they were teens, in 1954. Kate Winslet plays Hulme in the film Heavenly Creatures. After serving a prison sentence, Hulme changed her name and began writing fiction. Her appearance at the conference falls on the anniversary of the crime, June 22, 59 years later.

Perry will be speaking at the dinner on June 21 as guest of honor, and then at 9:30 a.m. on the 22nd she’ll be a panelist speaking about “Writing the historical fiction mystery” along with my bestie Susan Spann, Annamaria Alfieri (who I’ll be hosting here on the blog May 31), Frederick Ramsay and Judith Rock. I can’t wait for this session!

Many thanks to Anne Perry for participating in the Historical Novels Society blogathon!

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