Thank you so much for inviting me to your lovely home, Maureen. It’s looking lovely. You really shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble for me.
Is there an inspiration behind the Dylan Scott character?
It’s funny you should ask. *looks over shoulder* For years, I wrote romance, mainly short stories and serials for the UK magazine market. Then I married, changed my name and turned to crime (writing). I wonder if there’s a connection?
Let me tell you that my first reader, the poor man who has to tell me my story’s the best thing he’s ever read, is my husband. He’d enjoyed my other books which are more police procedural than mystery, and when reading PRESUMED DEAD, the first Dylan Scott mystery, he gave me an accusing look and said “Hey, I uttered those very words.” All innocent, I replied vaguely, “Did you? I knew I’d heard them somewhere.” As he read on, his frown deepened. He read the last page and said “Is Dylan Scott based on me?”. I wiped tears of laughter from my face and said, “Don’t be silly.”
My fantastic Carina Press editor, when describing Dylan Scott on a blog post, said: “Dylan’s a chauvinist and a terrible husband but I’ve never found myself rooting harder for a character”. My husband saw this and before he could utter a word, I laughed like a drain and said, “You see? Dylan Scott is a chauvinist. And a terrible husband. How could he possibly be based on you?”.
I’ll let you into a secret though. *looks over shoulder again* There are a few similarities between the two. And that’s all I’m prepared to say.
You have lived in many diverse locations. Tell us a little about your favorites and why.
I’m a hopeless swimmer and I refuse to go on any boat that has less than five emergency engines, but I love the sea. When I lived in Cyprus, I had sea and gorgeous weather. When I lived in Orkney, I had sea and horrendous weather. I have to say that my heart belongs to Orkney though. I love the islands, the people, the sea, the seals, the puffins, the storms - yes, I even love the weather. One day, I hope to return.
Meanwhile, I live in Lancashire and, although I’m not near the sea, this small corner of England has its own qualities. The people are warm - what you see is what you get - and the scenery is spectacular. Small towns are surrounded by sweeping hills. Tall mill chimneys serve as a reminder of the long-dead cotton industry. My house was built around 1875 from stone quarried less than a mile away and those disused quarries provide great places for hiding the odd body (we’re talking fiction here).
Tell us more about your ‘co-workers’ and how much they have contributed.
I couldn’t cope without them. I have Tilly and Muffet (I know, I know, but he was 9 when we rescued him and I thought it unfair to change his name. He’s known as Mister Magoo, Murphington and various other things.) They keep me company, lie under my desk to keep my feet warm (it gets cold in the UK) and remind me to take breaks from the computer. I do all my best work when I’m walking over the hills with them. I sort out plot problems or characterization niggles when we’re enjoying the fresh air together. If I could teach them to type and make the coffee, my life would be complete.
You are a master in the mystery genre. What is it that draws you to this subject matter?
A master? Oh, I like you. I guess it stems from staying up late as a kid to watch the detective shows my mom enjoyed like Kojak, Columbo or the classic Agatha Christie tales. We were both determined to guess whodunit before the other - or before the detective solved it. So the puzzle appeals to me. Also, I’m fascinated by the darker side of people. What drives respectable Mr. or Mrs Average to commit heinous crimes?
Who mows your lawn?
I’m so glad you asked because, coincidentally, there’s a vacancy for that particular job. There’s also one for cook and cleaner. The pay isn’t great but I’m happy to supply wine, whisky and song (well, maybe not song. Don’t want to put off prospective applicants).
Thank you so much for inviting me to your lovely home, Maureen!
Having had several hundred short stories, ten serials and ten novels published, Shirley Wells is finally getting the hang of this writing lark. She’s lived in Orkney, Cyprus and the Cotswolds, and now lives in Lancashire where the Pennines, with their abundance of great places to hide bodies, provide the inspiration for her popular mystery novels. She shares her home with her husband, two dogs, two cats and any other stray animals that fancy being pampered.
Her latest Dylan Scott mystery, DEAD SILENT, is available from Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all good e-book retailers.