Saturday, June 03, 2017

Weekend Guest - Kate Ellis

Aline here.  It's my great pleasure to introduce Kate Ellis to you.  Her hugely popular books are set in one of the most picturesque parts of England and I'm deeply envious of her having an excuse for constant visits - tax-deductible too!


 In 1998 I wrote my first Wesley Peterson novel, The Merchant’s House, and back then I never imagined that I’d still be writing about the same characters nineteen years later. Having just published my twenty first Wesley Peterson novel The Mermaid’s Scream, I am constantly surprised that I still keep thinking up new ways to keep Wesley and his colleagues occupied, but somehow I always managed to produce a crime full of twists and turns for them to solve.

 Those intrepid detectives who first inhabited my head when I was a novice writer have stayed with me loyally over the years. There’s DI Wesley Peterson, an archaeology graduate whose parents hail from Trinidad, who abandoned the past for a career in the police force, spurred on by a youthful passion for Sherlock Holmes. His boss is DCI Gerry Heffernan (a Liverpudlian like myself) who is ex Merchant Navy and has a well hidden heart of gold.

 Then there are all the other members of the investigation team who’ve become like old friends. Wesley’s old friend from university, Dr Neil Watson, is County Archaeologist and always introduces a historical mystery into the mix and I never tire of finding parallels between Neil’s investigations and Wesley’s present day murder cases.

 One of the best things about writing a series is that I’ve come to know the place where the books are set – South Devon and the lovely medieval port of Dartmouth in particular. My research gives me the perfect excuse to return there every year, drink in the atmosphere and stumble over new ideas. I’ve deliberately altered the names of the locations I use in my books as I like to use my imagination and change things around. However, if readers are familiar with the area there are a lot of things they will recognise and many people tell me they enjoy the game of ‘guess where the body was found’.

Writing about the same people in each book means that you have to keep up to date with developments in their private life. It’s important to remember the ins and outs of various relationships and how old your characters’ children are. This means that readers tend to become involved with the lives of my detectives and their families (and form opinions about the decisions they make).

So will I ever get tired of Wesley’s company? Well, at the moment I still enjoy writing about him and there are plenty of new ideas for grisly crimes in beautiful Devon swirling around in my brain.

 I think it helps that I write short stories as this gives me a ‘change of scene’ and keep my writing fresh. And recently I’ve tackled something completely new and published A High Mortality of Doves, the first book in a new historical crime trilogy set in the North West of England in the aftermath of the First World War.

. I really enjoyed writing about new characters and a new location, even a different time, but I know I'll always return to the 'mean lanes' of South Devon.


Vicki Delany said...

Thanks for introducing Kate to us, Aline. I have read the Wesley Peterson books for a very long time, almost from the first, and greatly enjoy them.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Thanks for joining us, Kate. I'm looking forward to discovering your books. I been to Cornwall, and I'm sure I'll love your setting.

Sybil Johnson said...

Thanks for telling us about our series, Kate. I haven't had the pleasure of reading the books yet, but they are now on my TBR list.

Donis Casey said...

Love the books, Kate. Going to Devon on a regular basis is a refreshing change of scene for me, and brings back wonderful memories of long ago trips.