Tonight I am delighted to have joining me for Friday Night Drinks, my fellow Yorkshire Terriers RNA member, author, actor and director, Angela Wren. Angela is the author of the French-set Jacques Foret mysteries, Messandrierre and Merle. The third book in the series, entitled Montbel, was published last month. Angela is also one of the contributors to the short story collection, Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings.
Welcome to our virtual evening out, Angela and thank you for joining me. First things first, what are you drinking?
As we’re eating later I would like a glass of chardonnay please.
I can’t drink much white wine without getting a headache these days so I think I will have a glass of prosecco. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
Presumably money is no object? If that is the case then I think I’d like to take us to Carcassonne and the fabulous restaurant in the Hôtel de la Cité. The surroundings are stunning, the food is top notch and the service is excellent. Oh, and the waiters are gorgeously French!
I have been wanting to visit Carcassonne for a while now, having heard many people rave about it, so thank you for bringing me! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
That’s a tough one! I’d love to meet Dame Freya Stark. She had a most interesting life and her travel books are fascinating. I’m sure she would be an excellent dinner companion. As for the second person… So hard to choose and I’m having to narrow it down between Shakespeare and Alan Bennett. I guess, as Bennett is still alive I’ll include him.
I would love to meet Alan Bennett, a fellow Yorkshireman, of course. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
I’m currently writing Book 4 in my Jacques Forêt series of mystery stories. I will be submitting the first three chapters and the synopsis to my publisher in January, and, assuming they like it, the book will be published sometime next year. I’m also working on another Miss Moonshine short story for a second anthology that is due to be published towards the end of 2019. I’ve got a brand new project that I need to pick up in the autumn of 2019 – something very different. In addition to all of that I’ve got my regular blog post each week and I’m supporting the launch of Montbel (Jacques Forêt #3), which was published last month. A lot to do!
As for your supplementary questions of ‘why?’ and ‘where?’ – I guess the answer is because I love writing, always have and I want to keep on writing books until I run out of ideas.
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
I guess my proudest moment was when I eventually opened that e-mail from Crooked Cat – my publishers – saying they wanted to offer me a contract for Messandrierre, the first book in the series. The e-mail had sat in my in-box for a couple of days because I’d convinced myself that it would say, ‘thanks but no thanks’. Having opened it, I was dancing on the ceiling for weeks afterwards.
As for my biggest challenge, I think that was understanding the post-publication scenario. Like a lot of new writers I mistakenly thought getting the book published was the end of the journey. It’s not. It’s the first step on a completely different but equally challenging journey. However, that was 2015, and here and now, three years on I’m loving it. It’s hard work but I just love it.
It’s so encouraging to hear success stories and that you are still enjoying the whole process. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!
Seeing my hero, Jacques Forêt, on the big screen. I know it will never happen, but hey, I can dream can’t I?
Never say never! Dreams sometimes do come true. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
Book 4. I’ve been wanting to get to this story for so long now, that when I sit at the keyboard my fingers are running at almost twice the speed of light. At least, that’s how it seems to me. Everything is there inside my head and I just can’t get the story down fast enough. Even though I know the ending, I still can’t wait to get there.
That sounds exciting. Writing is a pleasure when it is virtually doing itself, rather the times you feel like you are pulling teeth. I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
Hmm… bucket lists. I don’t have one. My dad became very ill when I was a teenager and as a result he was never able to do all the things he’d planned to do once he’d retired. I made up my mind a long time ago that bucket lists were futile. If you want to do something, then just do it. Don’t save it for later, life is so fragile, there might not be a ‘later’. As you can probably guess there’s nothing at the top of my bucket list. I spend three months of every year in my favourite place – France – and I spent almost a month in Egypt some years ago because I knew that if I didn’t go then, I probably never would. I just want to keep on travelling and keep on learning.
Alas, if only time and funds allowed me to visit everywhere I wanted to go immediately. If I win the lottery, I will definitely be following your advice. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.
I played Mr. Twit in one of our family shows at Easter a few years ago. After each show, myself and the actress playing Mrs. Twit would go into the audience and, using our natural voices but still in full costume and make-up, would offer the children little bags of sweets. After one matinee performance a little boy in row B, who looked frightened at first, then bewildered when he heard my voice, suddenly piped up with the very serious accusation, ‘Ugh! You’re a girl!’ As an actor, that’s the best compliment I’ve ever had!
‘Out of the mouthes of babes and sucklings’. Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
That’s a question that is almost impossible to answer. My bookshelves are lined with books that I would like to recommend, but I will plump for The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen.
Another one for the TBR, since this is not one I have read. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
My failsafe plan is to never overindulge and I never do so I don’t have a go-to cure.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
As we’re in Carcassonne, let’s spend some time here in the citadel and then take a walk along the canal and through the surrounding town. There’s a lot to see.
Angela, thank you so much for spending time with me this evening, I have enjoyed it very much and I look forward to seeing you soon at our next RNA meet up.
Angela’s latest book, and the third in the Jacques Foret series, Montbel is available now and you can buy a copy here.
A clear-cut case?
A re-examination of a closed police case brings investigator, Jacques Forêt, up against an old adversary. After the murder of a key witness, Jacques finds himself, and his team, being pursued.
When a vital piece of evidence throws a completely different light on Jacques’ case, his adversary becomes more aggressive, and Investigating Magistrate Pelletier threatens to sequester all of Jacques papers and shut down the investigation.
Can Jacques find all the answers before Pelletier steps in?
You can find out more about Angela via her social media links :
Website : http://www.angelawren.co.uk
Facebook: Angela Wren
Next week I will be sharing a beverage with the lovely Wendy Clarke, founder of the amazing online book group, The Fiction Cafe Book Club, which is absolutely the best place on the internet to hang out if you love books, so I hope you will join us then to hear all about it.