Recently I had the privilege to interview Lesley Tither! She writes books that take place mostly in different countries in Europe! Here is her website! http://tottielimejuice.com/books/
She is a very talented writer and I was excited to have this opportunity for the Mystery/Thriller week! For more information on this click here!
Now for the interview! (The Blue is me the red is her!)
Interview for Author Lesley Tither
First, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Lesley Krier Tither, British-born but now a naturalised French citizen. I was a journalist, later a copywriter and copy editor, before I retired. I now write more or less full time across three genres – crime fiction, children’s fiction with a crime twist and travel memoirs. I’ve also worked for the Crown Prosecution Service. I live in a beautiful and little-known part of Central France with my two border collies, Fleur and Rosie, and two cats, Bibi and Her Royal Highness the Princess Freddie Mercury.
1: When did you start the first draft of your debut novel?
I started the crime novel on Christmas Eve 2014 and finished the first draft within about three weeks. Having written professionally for much of my life, often on ridiculously tight deadlines, I tend to write very quickly.
2: What are your best tips for aspiring writers?
People often contact me to ask about how to write and I’m always amazed and dismayed when they add, ‘I’m not much of a reader.’ I honestly believe you cannot write well unless you read extensively – the good, the bad and the truly dreadful – so you learn to understand the difference and to know what works and what doesn’t. The next thing you need is a brutally honest beta-reader. Someone who will look at what you produce and, instead of massaging your ego, will tell you what it’s really like, warts and all. A great friend of mine is my alpha beta-reader. As I finish each chapter, I send it to her for comment. She is from Yorkshire, where they tend to be blunt and she is very direct. She will throw it back at me and say, ‘You can do better than that,’ when necessary. Other than that, it’s just hard graft. Write, edit, check, submit, write again, and so on.
3: Do you have any authors that inspired you to do what you do today?
My late father was a newspaper editor and book reviewer. I grew up surrounded by books and I was lucky enough, through him, to meet on several occasions the wonderful Alan Garner, who writes children’s fantasy similar in style to Tolkien though excellent in their own right. I loved the fact that he was always so ordinary, and was also kind enough always to remember my name. In terms of crime writers, I like Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, P D James and Neil Cross. I started reading Agatha Christie when I was quite young and have read, I think, every crime book she has ever written.
4: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?
This is going to sound really cheesy but the idea for the first book in the DI Ted Darling series, Baby’s Got Blue Eyes, came to me in a dream! I always tend to dream vividly and in colour and the night before Christmas Eve, two years ago, I had this dream which was almost like a complete film script. Fully-formed characters, names, a basic plot-line. Luckily, I remembered most of it so I spent the next couple of days, apart from dog walks, getting it all down on the computer while it was still in my head. Then I sent a sample chapter and synopsis off to my friend for her opinion, as she’s a great reader of crime fiction. She was full of enthusiasm so I kept on writing. I now have six books out in the series and have just started the seventh, within two years.
5: What do you base your characters on?
For me, making characters come alive is a very important part of the writing craft. We’ve all read books that we okay but we felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters. I’ve worked as a court reporter and coroner’s court reporter and there is a touch of real people in most of my characters, although not the lead character, Detective Inspector Ted Darling. To be honest, I’ve no idea where he came from. He just arrived in my head one night and has been around ever since.
6: Did you ever take classes on how to expand on the art of writing?
No. I trained for four years in journalism, emerging with a qualification. I retrained in copywriting, with another certificate to wave. Those have stood me in good stead. Especially copywriting, where less is always more. I tend to get irritated by books which go rambling on with lots of extraneous detail. In copywriting, you sometimes have no more than twenty-five words in which to hard sell a product, so you learn to use precious words to maximum effect.
7: Is there a reason you use pen names?
When I first started out on social media, I called myself Tottie Limejuice. She was a music hall character and my elderly maiden aunt used to use it of someone who gave themselves airs and graces: ‘Who does he think she is, swanning around like Tottie Limejuice?’ I wasn’t sure if the travel memoirs would take off as so many people are writing them so I decided to use the name for those. In fact, they’ve turned into international bestsellers. But when I wanted to publish the first crime fiction, clearly I couldn’t use that. Who would take seriously someone called Tottie Limejuice as a hard-bitten crime writer?
8: How do you come up with your pen names?
I’m fortunate in having two first names and two family names, if you see what I mean. Lesley is my first name, followed by one beginning with an M which I hate and never use. Tither is the family name but my father’s family were from Luxembourg and the family name there is Krier so I have both. So that gives me plenty to choose from. For crime, I use L M Krier and for the children’s fiction, I’m L M Kay. But most people now simply call me Tottie or Tots.
Thank you VERY much! It is a pleasure to have this opportunity!
Thank you so much for having me. The pleasure is all mine.
Again thank you Lesley Tither for helping me out with this!
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed! I will continue to have more Mystery/Thriller week posts coming out soon!