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Monday, 26 August 2013

The 'Dark Side' - Interview with crimewriter Frances di Plino

I’m pleased to have Frances di Plino as my guest today. She is the author of the crime thrillers Bad Moon Rising and (just launched) Someday Never Comes, published by Crooked Cat Publishing. Both books feature DI Paolo Storey [I’ve got them on my Kindle and I’m looking forward to reading them - Nik] Frances di Plino is the pseudonym of columnist, editor, non-fiction author and writing tutor, Lorraine Mace. Writing as Frances di Plino gives her the opportunity to allow the dark side of her personality to surface and take control. As Lorraine Mace, she is a gentler creature, being humour columnist for Writing Magazine and a deputy editor of Words with JAM. She writes fiction for the women's magazine market, features and photo-features for monthly glossy magazines and is a writing competition judge for Writers' Forum. She is a fiction and non-fiction tutor for the Writers’ Bureau, and is the author of the Writers’ Bureau course, Marketing Your Book. She is also co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of The Writer's ABC Checklist (Accent Press).

NM. Tell me a little about DI Paolo Storey. It’s an interesting name. What’s his background?

FDP. Detective Inspector Paolo Storey owes his roots to my own Italian ancestry. My great-grandfather was an Italian immigrant to Britain in the late 1890s. He settled and married an English woman, but that Italian blood lives on in his descendants. So, when it came time to create my main character, I decided to give him a similar background to mine. His mother was Italian, but his father Scottish. He’s tenacious and uncompromising when it comes to his own conduct, but compassionate and understanding when dealing with others.
NM.  The release of Someday Never Comes just occurred. Is this another Storey thriller to follow Bad Moon Rising?

FDP. It is. It’s the second in the series. The blurb on the cover reads as follows:
Has Detective Inspector Paolo Storey come up against a criminal he cannot defeat? Paolo is determined to shut down the syndicate flooding Bradchester’s streets with young prostitutes. When a child is murdered, Paolo becomes aware of a sinister network of abusers spread across Europe, and spanning all levels of society. But Joey, the shadowy leader of the gang, always seems to be one step ahead in the chase.
                   “dark and uncomfortably believable.” JJ Marsh, author of the Beatrice Stubbs Series

NM. What are you currently working on?

FDP. The third in the Detective Inspector Paolo Storey series, Call it Pretending. After the harrowing crimes in Someday Never Comes, Paolo is once again dealing with murder. This time it is a murderer with an agenda. He isn’t killing to feed any dark desires, as in Bad Moon Rising, but to get revenge on those he feels wronged him in the past.

NM. How long have you been writing?  What influenced you to start?

FDP. I had my first short story published when I was twelve and then didn’t write another thing for (cough, cough number of) years. I started again in 2002 and had a short story published in a women’s magazine. That was enough to get me fired up and I decided to take the Writers Bureau comprehensive course. I’m glad I did because I learned how to write non-fiction and I’ve been a columnist and regular contributor to glossy magazines for over a decade. In 2007, I was appointed as a Writers Bureau tutor. I now run my own critique and mentoring service for writers.

NM.     How do your family/friends feel about your writing?

FDP. My husband is ridiculously proud and a bit of a bore at social gatherings. If he’s on the other side of the room and I find people staring at me, I know he’s been leading with the line: did you know my wife is an author? My children just seem to accept that it’s what Mum does for a living. My sister amuses me. She reads my books and loves them, but won’t tell anyone I’m her sister. She sent me an email after reading Bad Moon Rising saying I need to wash my mind out with soap and water. So far, she’s only read the blurb for Someday Never Comes, but her response to that was that I needed therapy – followed by the question: when can I get my copy?

NM.     Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

FDP. Doing exactly what I’m doing now, which is writing part of the day and providing writing services the rest of the time (critiques, author mentoring and teaching creative writing). I love my working life and wouldn’t change it. Well, maybe a small change. I’d love to see Paolo on television. A number of readers have said they think Bad Moon Rising would be perfect for the small screen.

NM.    I believe you’re also writing outside the crime genre. Do you want to tell me about that?

FDP. Under my own name of Lorraine Mace, as mentioned above, I write mainly non-fiction, but I have my first children’s novel coming out in the USA next April. It was accepted by an American publisher and I’m really excited about it. I’d love to tell you more about it, but the publishers have asked me to keep the title and plot to myself for now as they want to make a big splash with it pre-launch. Maybe I could come back nearer the time? [Of course you can! – Nik]

NM.     A tall order, I know, but what is your favourite book? And why?

FDP. Wow, only one? That’s so hard. If I’m pushed into a corner and have to choose, it would be Terry Pratchett’s The Night Watch. It is clever and funny, as well as showing every aspect of human nature. It has a cracking plot, the pace never lets up and the circular nature of the tale succeeds in a way few time travel stories actually do. Most of them leave unanswered questions or unresolved issues, but not this one.

NM.    How do you cope with writing under two names? Is the division of work easy?

FDP. It’s interesting, to say the least. I find I sign off emails under the wrong name, which is fine with those who know I’m Frances di Plino and Lorraine Mace, but I have had a few replies from bewildered people wondering who this Frances person was and how she’d come to intercept a personal email addressed to Lorraine.

When sitting at my computer, it doesn’t matter which persona I am writing under. I get completely immersed in whatever I’m doing. Online, it’s a different matter. I confuse myself sometimes and once nearly thanked myself for retweeting one of my other persona’s tweets! That way madness lies.

NM.  Where can readers find you?
FDP. Here are my websites
Frances di Plino Website
Frances di Plino Blog
Frances di Plino Twitter

Many thanks, Frances/Lorraine!





Richard Sutton said...

The cover of that book has just put an image into my brain that may well kill sleep for a few nights. Beaucoups creepy. Great interview, Nik.

Kathleen Janz-Anderson said...

Great interview Nik. Loved the comments Lorraine's sister made. I'm really curious about the children's book.

Nik said...

Thanks for the feedback, Richard and Kathleen, it's appreciated. Excellent cover from Crooked Cat. I think Lorraine's book is a fantasy, but she's not saying much just yet...

Lorraine Mace said...

Because I was away when this post went live, I missed the comments. Thanks, Nik, for posting the interview and thank you, Richard and Kathleen, for your comments.


Nik said...

Sorry I missed you, Lorraine. Gallivanting off to Spain, eh? Hope the weather was good. The number of book reviews is certainly very good - well done!