Tonight I am welcoming to the blog and to Friday Night Drinks, fellow RNA member and author ….. Nell Dixon.
Welcome to the blog, Nell, thank you so much for joining me tonight. Let’s get the important things out of the way first, what can I get you to drink?
Ooh, thank you. Mine’s a Bombay Sapphire in a big glass with slimline tonic, lots of ice and lime and lemon wedges.
My gin of choice, I will have the same. 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?
Rather handily, there is a pub at the end of my road. Two of my daughters work there so we can have a discount and it does rather nice pub food.
Perfect, nothing better. 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?
I would have to invite Bryan Adams as he’s the one man I’d leave my husband for lol. I love his photography and that he always seems like a really nice bloke. I’d also like Pink as she seems fun, nice, kind and I think she’s fab.
I hope your husband isn’t reading this! I have tagged Bryan just in case. I think Pink would make it a great party. 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?
At the moment I’m busy working on my Miss Underhay Investigates murder mysteries. These are set in Dartmouth in the early 1930’s. If you like Agatha Christie, Moonlighting and the Miss Fisher murder mysteries then I think you’ll like these. They are huge fun to write as they’re set in a time of great change and social upheaval.
I have to say, I absolutely adore the covers of these books, I would buy them just for those, and they fit the books perfectly. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
My proudest moments were winning the Romantic Novelist associations RONA Rose award twice. Two very different books for different publishers, one was first person and one was third person. Totally unexpected and an enormous honour and privilege.
My biggest challenge has been in changing genre from writing contemporary romance to historical cozy crime. I do tons of research to ensure everything I write is historically accurate.
Congratulations, that is a huge achievement! What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!
I would love to see the Miss Underhay mysteries on TV. There has been a bit of interest but so far it’s still available lol. It would make perfect Sunday evening TV.
I would love that. My eldest daughter and I share a love of murder mysteries, it would be something we would enjoy watching together. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
I’ve just sent the third book in the series to my lovely editor and I’m outlining book four. This continues the ongoing mystery of Kitty’s mother’s disappearance in 1916 and the will they, won’t they tug of attraction between Kitty and Matt.
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?
We actually did one of our bucket list trips last year when we went on an archeological tour of Italy visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum amongst other places. One day I would like to go to Singapore though.
One of my favourite places to visit is Malta. We’ve been several times and I absolutely love it. The people are so nice. Fabulous historic sites, lovely shops and cafes and delicious food. It’s so easy to get around by bus and ferry.
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.
I have severe dyscalculia. I cannot remember or retain numbers. I see them back to front and confuse 2’s 5’s 8’s and 3’s. I struggle with the concept of time. I can’t read a digital clock very well. I can’t remember telephone numbers, pin numbers or my car registration number. I have difficulty with directions – left and right and can’t tie a bow properly!
That must be a very tricky condition to manage. 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’?
Argh, this is a bit like being asked to pick your favourite child. I have several books I absolutely love and several authors that I have on auto buy. A book that I love, but which I know can be a bit Marmite, is Daphne Du Maurier’s The House on the Strand. It sucks you in and leaves you feeling unsettled and disconcerted, but it stays with you.
Dick Young is lent a house in Cornwall by his friend Professor Magnus Lane. During his stay he agrees to serve as a guinea pig for a new drug that Magnus has discovered in his biochemical researches. The effect of this drug is to transport Dick from the house at Kilmarth to the Cornwall of the 14th century.
There, in the manor of Tywardreath, the domain of Sir Henry Champernoune, he witnesses intrigue, adultery and murder. The more time Dick spends consumed in the past, the more he resents the days he must spend in the modern world. With each dose of the drug, his body and mind become addicted to this otherworld, so much so that he ignores the responsibilities of his present life and places his marriage, livelihood and life in jeopardy.
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?
Coffee, lots of coffee. Not that I ever need an excuse for coffee anyway.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
Lazing around with my dog reading the papers and chatting with friends and family eating a takeaway pizza. Perfect.
Ooh, I really want a slice of pizza now! Nell, thank you so much for having a drink with me this evening, I have really enjoyed it. I hope we can meet in person at an RNA event soon.
Murder at The Dolphin Hotel by Helena Dixon is the first book in the Miss Underhay Investigates series.
A room with a view… to murder.
June 1933. Kitty Underhay is a modern, independent woman from the top of her shingle bob to the tip of her t-strap heels. She prides herself on the reputation of her family’s ancient hotel on the blustery English coast. But then a body is found, rooms are ransacked and rumours begin to circulate that someone is on the hunt for a valuable stolen ruby – a ruby that Kitty’s mother may have possessed when she herself went missing during the Great War. Before she can do more than flick a duster, Kitty finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation.
When the local police inspector shows no signs of solving the shocking crimes plaguing the hotel, Kitty steps briskly into the breach. Together with ex-army captain Matthew Bryant, her new hotel security officer, she is determined to decipher this mystery and preserve not only the name of her hotel, but also the lives of her guests. Could there be a cold-blooded killer under her own roof? And what connects the missing jewel to the mystery from Kitty’s own past?
Helena Dixon was born and continues to live in the Black Country. Married to the same man for over thirty years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, a crazy cockapoo and a tank of tropical fish. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 and winner of Love Story of the Year 2010 under her Nell Dixon pen name.