Thursday, September 7, 2017

Author Interview with Ginger Black authors of Riverside Lane

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ginger Black will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Now, please welcome the authors to our blog. They've agreed to answer a few questions for us.

Thank you so much for hosting us today. It is a pleasure to be on your lovely blog and we are thrilled at the interest from the US in our quintessentially English novel. Ginger Black is a writing partnership comprising Julia Thum and Gaynor Pengelly. Riverside Lane is our first novel together and we are working on the next in the series.

Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

We didn’t write Riverside Lane to fit a genre, we wrote the story we wanted to write then worked out which genre it fitted. Not the most commercial way to write a novel but it was true to our writing style and the tale we wanted to tell and we felt it led to a better quality of story.

For a long time we called Riverside Lane a ‘village mystery’, then Gaynor discovered the ‘cozy mystery’ genre – a term first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction[1]- and we realized our novel fits in perfectly.

Wikipedia defines Cozy mysteries, also referred to as "cozies", as a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. This could have be blurb on our back cover! Riverside Lane includes a whiff of sex and the suggestion of violence but all treated with a light, teasing touch.

What research is required?

We paced the Thames town paths for miles and spent many, many hours in riverside coffee shops all in the name of ‘research’! We also felt it necessary to eat in some of the wonderful restaurants in the village where Riverside Lane is set. Fortunately, this is Bray-on-Thames, home to some of the most famous restaurants in the world, and we planned to spend many hours pouring over the menu at The Fat Duck and gazing out at the beautiful view from The Waterside Inn (in the name of research of course) but sadly, though Riverside Lane has been a fantastic success on both sides of the Atlantic, our royalties haven’t quite taken us there yet.

Name one thing you learned from your hero or heroine.

“Be sure your sins will find you out!” This applies to all our characters. Every one has a secret about which they must lie and while they may not intend those lies to deceive, they cause confusion, pain and heartache all around. Far better to be honest from the outset. The other one is “Liars need good memories” – so do authors who are creating a web of intrigue around a dozen character’s secrets and lies!

Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

Gaynor likes to write away from home – ideally in a place that serves good coffee! I like to write outside, even if I am wrapped up in a blanket (we do live in England after all!) and I need a good view.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

In a writing partnership like ours you really have to be a plotter, so we spend ages making meticulous plans, then start writing and the story and the characters carry it away, take everything over and all our best laid plans go to pot! But though we give the characters their freedom, we keep a tight hold on the narrative spine and a very firm eye on where it is we want the story to end up.

Gaynor Pengelly & Julia Thum – The Ginger Black Writing Partnership

Anything new coming up from you? What?

We are both writing children’s novels on our own and there will be another Ginger Black cozy mystery coming soon. The next one will be set further up the Thames in the village of Cookham which is most famous for being the setting for The Wind in the Willows and the home and frequent subject of the artist Stanley Spencer.

Do you have a question for our readers?

We love to meet readers and particularly enjoy attending book clubs (either locally in real time or often on Facebook) so if you would like to set Riverside Lane for yours please do get in touch with us via Facebook or Twitter. We always want to know which was a reader’s favourite character and which scene made them laugh.

Reading habits are also interesting to us. Do you read in snippets or marathons? In bed? On the train? On a Kindle or do you need a real book?

Thank you so much for having us. Please do get in touch with us via our websites Ginger Black, Julia Thum, Facebook or Twitter with any questions and we will try our best to answer them.

After arranging a house swap with a debonair antiques dealer, a darkly handsome American named Luca Tempesta arrives in a quaint English village. Tempesta, who claims to run a detective agency in Los Angeles, is supposedly on holiday – but the inhabitants of the village are unconvinced.

Yet, as they attempt to solve the mystery of the stranger in their midst, it gradually transpires that there are more than enough secrets to go around in the village itself, harboured by the local MP and his uptight, ambitious wife; the has-been former game show host; the respectable couple with the jailbird son; the hometown journalist, striving for a scoop that will rescue her from debt; and so on. The place is revealed as a labyrinth of deception masquerading as a picture-postcard hamlet; tension begins to mount in between the dinner parties and evenings at the pub, and soon culminates in an unexpected death.

Behind perfect privets and brightly painted front doors, the lives of Riverside Lane’s residents slowly unravel. Tempesta, guarding his secrets with a vengeance, is suddenly threatened with exposure by the elderly religious zealot Ivy Midwinter, whose own past involved keeping professional confidences. When she challenges him in church, she learns that Tempesta will stop at nothing to protect his privacy ...

Set against the exquisite backdrop of a gastronomic village by the Thames, Riverside Lane is a tautly paced page-turner that also gently satirises middle- class English manners: the upstanding denizens of the village watch and whisper behind a mask of English hauteur, whilst their own fragile lives come undone.

Read an excerpt:

Ivy bolted the door behind the journalist. Returning to her desk, she locked the drawer and squeezed her eyes shut. “The blind will see, and those who see will become blind,” she intoned, blinking furiously to dispel the strange dots that had started presenting themselves in her vision. They were becoming more frequent; Ivy knew she should visit an ophthalmologist. She hoped it was not un-Christian, but the thought of being unable to read her beloved sheet music upset her more deeply than any of the memories from her past. The Victorian marble clock, which comforted her hourly with its sweet Handel music, proclaimed that there was just enough time to deliver the cheque to the bank and get back to the Village for Evensong.

Standing at the bus stop with the melodious clock chimes still echoing softly in her head, Ivy caught sight of Luca Tempesta walking through the churchyard. Handel, she thought, had been sent to law school by his father, just like this American. The former had abandoned his studies and blessed mankind with the “Hallelujah” chorus; the latter, according to Ivy’s preliminary investigations, had abandoned his to set up a private-detective firm; then, some years later, he had apparently disappeared from God’s Earth without a trace. Except he had not disappeared. He was here in the Village, living in Clive’s house, next door to Frank, smoking Russian cigarettes. And Ivy Midwinter planned to find out why.

About the Author:
Ginger Black is a writing partnership between Gaynor Pengelly and Julia Thum.

Julia Thum: Julia left Somerset for London at 16. She founded & ran her own consumer P R agency representing a range of international brands including Braun, Molton Brown, Clairol & Kleenex. After selling the business she trained as a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders & hosted a phone-in show on Radio Luxembourg.

Julia writes bespoke literature & articles for private clients and visits secondary schools & prisons representing two national charities in providing emotional support to pupils & inmates. A keen kayaker and a passionate cook, she lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Nicolas and their four children.

Gaynor Pengelly: Gaynor has worked as a national newspaper correspondent for more than twenty years, interviewing everyone from the great and the good to extraordinary people in ordinary lives. The rich variety of her subject matter and their circumstances has given her a rare insight into human nature and the challenges many people face.

Gaynor's great loves include sitting in pavement cafes watching the world go by, National Trust and English Heritage and hiking across the windswept Yorkshire moors. She lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Jonathan and their son, Freddie James.


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  1. Thank you so much for having us on your lovely site today. It has been a pleasure answering your great questions.

  2. congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. Oh good! Hopefully you would like the rest of it too. Julia

  4. Thanks for sharing the great post. I've thoroughly enjoyed following the tour and learning more about the book. I'm looking forward to checking it out :)

    1. Thank you so much Victoria. I really hope you enjoy it. X

  5. I prefer to read in marathons but it's not always possible.

    1. You and I both! Nothing I love more than an empty rainy afternoon (a lot of those in the UK of course), a new book and a large pot of tea. But as you say, not always possible. Thanks for the feedback Mary. Julia


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