Murder by Christmas – Lesley Cookman | Blog Tour | Author Guest Post | #MurderbyChristmas @CookmanCrime @AccentPress @rararesources

Murder by Christmas: A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery
(A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery Series Book 25)
Publisher: Headline Accent
Format: Ebook, Audio, Paperback (7 December 2023)

Murder by Christmas: The twisting twenty-fifth instalment of Lesley Cookman’s much-loved Libby Sarjeant series

Libby Sarjeant is deep into rehearsals for the annual pantomime when a body is found in a doorway two weeks before Christmas – and Libby and her friend Fran are called into action once again, when their investigation leads them to a local brewery and the sale of many of its pubs.

With the help of a team of local publicans, can Libby and Fran unravel the case before it’s too late?

My thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invite and to the author for the guest post. Murder by Christmas is published today – congratulations Lesley 🍾 📚. For my turn today I’m delighted to share a guest post by Lesley.

My Writing Life
by Lesley Cookman

I write what is laughingly called full time. I get up, make tea and sit in the kitchen with the laptop to answer emails, catch up on Twitter and Facebook, and generally waste time. Eventually, I go and get clean and dressed, potter about doing any very obvious chores, then go into the office. Then I catch up with more emails and Twitter (there are some very chatty people on Twitter) and finally start writing. I read what was written the day before, then aim for 2000 words a day. Not easy.  There’s thinking time, checking facts time, checking words time – all sorts of things. In my case, because I write a series, I frequently have to check back through the other books to make sure I’m being consistent.

I have an office in an extension built on the side of my house. It is quite disgracefully untidy and contains most of the rubbish that doesn’t seem to belong anywhere else. I have a corner desk donated by some friends, photographs of my children stuck on the walls, together with a map of my fictional village Steeple Martin, by Susan Alison. I’m not good at writing anywhere else, and I have all my essential reference books by my left shoulder.

I do no exercise other than walking to the town and up and down the stairs. I have arthritis (much too young to have it, of course), so much more is beyond me. I live with two cats and an occasional returning grown up child.  I live in a very ordinary town by the sea in Kent, and I write books set in Kent, although in entirely fictional towns and villages. Except Canterbury.

I have written since I was a child, winning my first prize when I was 8. I became a feature writer by accident nearly thirty years ago, and went on to short fiction for the women’s magazine market and pantomimes. Then, I wrote Murder in Steeple Martin in 2005. It was published in May 2006 and has since been followed by twenty four more Libby Sarjeant novels, and three short novellas, which now appear in one volume.  I have no idea how I begin them – usually something hits me, or my eldest son has an idea, I write it down and then try and go on from there. I do all my research at my desk, from books and the internet. I occasionally ask friends if they have particular expertise, but most research is done as I go along and the need for it arises. Neither do I plan in detail. I have a vague plot idea and suggestions for themes from my editor, based on reader feedback, but I neither know the victim nor the murderer when I start the book.

I don’t have a “most memorable moment” in my writing career because there have been lots of highs along the way. Being commissioned to write my first piece for Which Computer, being commissioned to write a “Music Hall musical” for the British Music Hall Society, and being in the premiere, attended by Roy Hudd, receiving the offer for Murder in Steeple Martin, which was only a third written, being in the Bookseller’s Small Publishers Top Ten for four weeks running. And every time the publishers say “Yes, please, we’d like another one.” That’s very memorable.

Best writing time is afternoon. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get going until about 1pm unless I’m on holiday, when I take my laptop and write for an hour or so every morning.  If I’m up against a deadline, and I usually am, I’ll write on as long as I can, but I do like to stop late afternoon for a cup of tea and a read. In summer I’ll go into the garden, in winter I go and light a fire in the front room.

I’m currently working on Libby Sarjeant 26, as yet untitled. I feel dreadfully guilty if I don’t write for a day, although I do take Saturdays and Sundays off!

Lesley started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many Woolworth’s exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys. Since she’s been grown up, following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she’s written short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, achieved an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories, in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. Lesley is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

Lesley has also written pantomimes performed all over Britain, and published a book on how to do it!

Learn more about Lesley by visiting her blog.

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