Join me in welcoming back M K Tuner and her intriguing murder mysteries.
What inspired you to write your first book?
A conversation with a friend. After a good gossip, she stated “They wouldn’t believe you if you wrote it down.” I decided to give it go, and using a mixture of the quirks and oddities from some colourful characters we knew I wrote a tongue in cheek, farcical, murder mystery, Murderous Mishaps.
How did you come up with the title?
As I never intended to publish the story, I called it Murder and Moet. Murder for obvious reasons, Moet, because the characters were on a weekend jolly, and were celebrating with champagne when the body was discovered. When I later decided to publish, my editor warned of using the brand name, so I asked Moet if I may use it, and they declined, stating, that while they were happy for me to refer to it within the body of the text, they didn’t think it appropriate to have the brand connected to murder on the cover. I was hoping they wouldn’t mind the extra advertising, albeit small, but it was not to be. I changed it to Murderous Mishaps.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?
This was my first novel, and writing it did give me the spur to carry on writing, but I decided to test myself and see if I could write a serious murder mystery, and came up with the characters of DC John Meredith & Patsy Hodge, and wrote the first in the Meredith & Hodge series, Misplaced Loyalty. I have now published five novels in the series, the latest being One Secret Too Many, and am currently working on another, yet to be given a title. In addition I have now published Murderous Mishaps, and another novel, The Recruitment of Lucy James.
Are there messages in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t set out to send a message as such, but I do want readers to ask – Why? We all know the world can turn upside down when someone is murdered, and that the ripple effect reaches out into the community, sometimes in unexpected ways, and once over the shock of the act itself, the main question is – why? When I read a novel, irrespective of the genre, I want to know as much about the characters as the storyline will allow. I have read some cleverly crafted plots which have kept me guessing until the end, but when I don’t understand why a certain character would have – kept the secret, killed her aunt, left her husband, or any number of actions – I’m left wanting more because it doesn’t add up.
Therefore, however horrific the crime, I want the readers to know that both the heroes and villains are human, leading their own lives away from the main storyline, and it is what happens in those lives that affect how they react in different situations.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Of course, but never exactly, a mannerism here, an attitude there, and a snippet of gossip or news, which is screaming out to be exaggerated or explained.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Good question, I’ll have to get back to you on that. In One Secret Too Many, I killed off a regular character and I’m not sure how that will go down with my regular readers. I agonised over whether or not I should for weeks. I even wrote two different endings, but ultimately, for me, it had to happen.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want them to be entertained, engaged, and hopefully keep them guessing until the end.
What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?
That has to be the relationship between Meredith & Hodge. They were always going to be a couple, but the nature of their personalities and how they react to the issues they encounter is an ongoing challenge. Plus, of course, I don’t want them to be too predictable, so in each novel a situation will arise where they have to show a weakness or quirk that has not previously been revealed. Much like making new friends, just when you think you know what makes them tick, they will react to something in a way you would never have expected.
What is your favorite theme/genre to write?
Definitely mysteries or thrillers and when planning the story, I make it so there are several possible outcomes, and it’s not until near the end that I actually know ‘whodunit’, or perhaps why.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
TI would never write erotica. However great the characters, after the first few sex scenes, for me it becomes boring and fairly predictable, and does nothing to enhance the story. I read Fifty Shades of Grey, and I liked the main characters, so much so, that I also read the second to find out what happened to Ana, but I found myself skimming page after page wanting to get back to the story. I didn’t bother with the third, a friend told me what happened, and I was disappointed.
What book are you reading now?
I have recently finished Diamonds and Dust by Carol Hedges, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Set in Victorian London, it is very atmospheric, with clever little one-liners hidden amongst the narrative, and left me wanting to know what happened next. It was the first Carol Hedges I’ve read, and I wasn’t disappointed. I now have a stack of authors I’ve yet to read on my kindle, but have yet to decide which one is next.
Do you see writing as a career?
In a way, yes, with the exception of family/dogs/household duties, it takes up more time than even my part time job. Will it ever pay enough to say it’s what I do for a living, who knows? But it is certainly what I ‘do’. Everything else is a necessity to get from one end of the week to the other, not necessarily unpleasant, but writing is a necessity for no other reason than the writing itself. I watch about an hour or so of television each day, and afterwards will think, that was funny, or entertaining, or had a great ending, etc. but I would rather be writing something and wondering whether I’d achieved one of those things.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
At my desk, staring out the window overlooking the beach and sea beyond, pondering the latest plot, and wondering whether to brave the heat and walk down to the local tavern for lunch. When I’m being sensible I hope I’m still selling books, and earning enough not to feel guilty about the time it takes up.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Promotion. Always the promotion. Editing is hard work, proof reading worse, but they help one to improve the finished product. It’s the telling the readers at large about the product which I find most difficult, and am sure most seasoned writers would shake their heads in wonderment at my feeble attempts.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Of course, many pages have been written and stories started, based on a great overall idea, but something was missing, or the character was good, but wrong for the story, so it ends up in the bin. Some survive awaiting the planned re-write, but most will wait in vain.
What book do you wish you had written?
So many! But to choose one, I suppose it would be A Kind of Loving by Stan Barstow. A gritty story, and follows the fortunes of Vic Brown and how he woos the girl he believes he loves, Ingrid. It shows how their relationship grows and ultimately fails. I was about fourteen when I read it, starry eyed and hoped every relationship ended with roses around the door. I kept hoping that something would happen to change the inevitable, and when it didn’t I re-read it to find out what clues I’d missed. They were all there, some subtle, some that smacked you in the face, and it helped me grow up a little. There were consequences to your actions, however small, which added to the domino effect which eventually gathers a momentum all of its own, bringing your ideals crashing down. To be able to draw a reader in like that, to make them hold their breath and care so much about the characters, that they try to will the characters to take a different route, all the time knowing they won’t, yet still keep them reading to the very last word, is a skill every writer wants. Of course I have read it as a cynical adult and still loved it.
What is your best marketing tip?
Do it! I hate marketing. It’s a necessary evil I don’t do enough of, or well. I get side tracked on social media, and irritated by form filling.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
As mentioned it’s the fifth in the Meredith & Hodge series, One Secret Too Many. Everyone, including Meredith has secrets that ultimately will cause their downfall. Meredith & Hodge are assigned cases with high stakes, and that one secret too many causes the death of one of the regular characters. But to find out how a bombing in Northern Ireland is related to killings in the former Czechoslovakia, and the Russian Mafia you’ll have to read it.
How do we find your books, blog and bio?
Amazon Links for all books:
Here is MK’s last interview link: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2013/04/12/interview-m-k-turner/