Describe the Emily Castles series in five words or less.
Fun British murder mysteries.
How did the ideas for your books come to you?
I live in London and I love reading mysteries. I wanted to set my books in London but create a village feel for the series by having Emily Castles, the main character, get to know her neighbors, some of whom will pop up again in other books in the series. Emily lives on a street in south London very like the street where I live. In Three Sisters, Emily goes to a big party in a house at the end of her street, where she thinks she witnesses a murder. Emily’s dog, Jessie, has just died, and she’s feeling a bit sad. I must admit, that bit came directly from life. My dog, Jessie (who had lived a long and happy life) had just died, and I was feeling a bit sad.
Is there a message in your books that you want readers to grasp?
I have written books in the past that are about love and loss, friendship and betrayal. The Emily Castles Mysteries are fun books that are not to be taken too seriously. If there’s any message in them, it’s perhaps to get to know your neighbors better. Emily has a lot of fun once she starts meeting and interacting with them.
What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?
The hardest part of writing is plotting the books. I enjoy writing once it’s going well. The easiest part is editing because the hard work is done; all I need to do is go back over it and make improvements.
What's next for you? Are you currently working on or do you have plans for future projects?
The first full-length Emily Castles book, Invitation to Die, will be published later this year. I’m currently working on the follow-up and hope to write more books in the series.
What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?
It’s wonderful when I hear anything positive from readers, whether it’s reading a nice review they have left on Amazon, or hearing via Twitter or my author Facebook page that they’re looking forward to a new book.
What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I’d love to be asked, “How do you feel about winning so many prestigious awards for your work?” To which I would reply, “I’m really proud, of course. But so long as people keep reading and enjoying my books, that’s the most important thing.” (I haven’t yet won any prestigious awards for my work, which may explain why I haven’t been asked that question in an interview.)
What was your road to publication like?
Getting my first book published was quite straightforward. I found an agent and she found a publisher for the book. Since then I have self-published a couple of books, found a new publisher and found a new agent. Oddly enough, the road started twisting after that first book was published, not before. It has been an interesting journey and I have learned a lot from it.
Three Sisters and Showstoppers are two novella-length stories in the Emily Castles mystery series. The first full-length novel, Invitation to Die, will be published by Thomas & Mercer in October 2013.
The Emily Castles mystery series is set in present-day London. It features twenty-six-year-old Londoner Emily Castles and her neighbor, eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel Crowther. In Three Sisters, Emily goes to a party in a big house at the end of her street. She's sure she witnesses a murder, but no one will believe her. She teams up with Dr. Muriel to investigate.
In Showstoppers, Emily helps out at a local stage school run by her neighbor, Victoria. Soon she's mixed up in a blackmail plot and two deaths. Emily and Dr. Muriel team up to prevent further a massacre live on stage during the end of term show.
Praise for the Emily Castles Mystery Series
Fast-paced, funny, and mysterious... Helen Smith is a master story-teller.
~Socrates Book Reviews
It grips you from the very beginning.
~Babs Books Bistro
Bright, colorful and full of surprises.
~Amazon Vine Reviewer
Fast-paced and unusual, I highly recommend this one.
Praise for Helen Smith
Smith is gin-and-tonic funny.
Author Helen Smith
Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She's the author of bestselling cult novels Alison Wonderland, Being Light and The Miracle Inspector as well as the Emily Castles Mystery Series.
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