Morning lovelies, and happy Sunday!! Today I’m on the blog tour for Murder Ahoy! and thrilled to bring you a guest post from the lovely Fiona Leitch titled ‘Casting Aspersions…’ But first, here’s all the info you need on the book!
book blurb & info
Famous crime writer Bella Tyson is hired to co-host a Murder Mystery cruise, on a luxury liner sailing from Southampton to New York. She’s expecting an easy ride; fun and games, surrounded by amateur sleuths and fans of her books, all the while staying in a deluxe cabin and enjoying the spa and the amazing restaurants on board, culminating in a visit to one of her favourite cities in the world – the Big Apple.
She’s NOT expecting to be stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic with her two least favourite people in the world, her hot but unfaithful bastard ex-husband Joel Quigley and fellow crime writer, bitch goddess and Twitter frenemy, Louise Meyers. And when real live dead bodies start turning up – as well as fake not-really-dead bodies – Bella’s dreams of being pampered on the high seas turn sour.
Accused of a murder she would have liked to commit but didn’t, and helped (or hindered) by a gang of unlikely detectives, can Bella find out who the real murderer is before the ship reaches its destination and New York’s finest drag her off?
Available formats: Paperback & eBook. Also available on Kindle Unlimited.
guest post by fiona Leitch
People often (okay, occasionally) ask me about my writing process. Depending on my mood, I’ll either tell them that I light a few candles and do an hour of yoga, engaging my inner core and aligning my chakras in order to be spiritually prepared for the act of creation, or that I plan everything thoroughly first, writing detailed character biographies (their likes, dislikes, childhood nickname, favourite biscuit, all the important stuff) and plotting each chapter on index cards. Most of the time, though, I’ll just shrug and go, ‘I dunno’, because I basically just write. I’ll let the idea ferment in my head for a while, so that by the time I start writing I know how it’s going to end, but I really start with my characters.
One of the hardest things about writing is making the characters distinct from each other. While friends and families may well share common sayings and phrases, people don’t all speak in exactly the same way, and I get around this by casting each character in my head as I write.
When I first started writing it was screenplays rather than novels, and it was all about imagining it on the big screen. I still dream of seeing my books adapted for film or TV (I’m eyeing up the Sunday, BBC1 9pm after the Antiques Roadshow slot for my upcoming cosy mystery series, while I think Bella’s adventures would make better movies). And the reason I started writing in the first place was because I was a frustrated actress, and if no bugger would cast me in anything then I would flipping well write my own roles. ‘Dream casting’ each project also gave me the perfect excuse to Google hunky actors and obsess over them, all in the name of ‘research’. Yeah, right. I once wrote a romcom for Tom Hiddleston (a Tomromcom?) just because I had this image of him getting out of a swimming pool and walking around in his budgie smugglers (cue the writer going off into a little world of her own for half an hour).
Where was I? Oh yes, dream casting. I now cast every novel I write, at least the main characters but quite often the secondary ones as well, because it helps me create characters who are clearly distinct from each other. Basing them on real people means I can imagine (and describe) that person playing my character, with their own accent, mannerisms and even physical appearance.
As a frustrated actress, I can’t help but imagine myself as the female main character in everything I write, even when they’re twenty years younger/4 inches taller/3 dress sizes smaller/way, way cooler than me. But in the case of Bella Tyson, she and I share a lot of the same characteristics, and I would kill to play her in the movie version. So that made writing her unsurprisingly easy!
But Bella is not an island… She’s joined in Murder Ahoy! by her gorgeous (and quite posh) husband Will. When I wrote the first Bella Tyson book, Dead in Venice, I had this image of a suave, middle class man about town, someone who was fairly mild mannered and unthreatening – but at the same time with a little bit of an unexpected edge… I settled on Tom Hollander, because he’s a versatile actor, the right age, with a (rather sexy) posh accent. When I read Will now I can see him so clearly in my head. However, I avoided describing him too much physically, as I like to let my readers use their own imagination, and I was surprised to hear different people’s perceptions of him. No one guessed I’d used Tom Hollander as my inspiration, even though to me it seemed so obvious!
In ‘Murder Ahoy!’ Bella’s also joined by her Twitter frenemy Louise Meyers, who I immediately imagined as Alison King (Carla Connor in Coronation Street) and ex-husband Joel, which forced me to Google more hunky men (dammit!). My ‘in-depth research’ led me to cast Tom Hardy (not another Tom! I’m not a Tom-obsessed weirdo, honest), because he’s a bit rough, an arrogant bad boy with a good heart.
To me, I can see these three actors in my mind’s eye so clearly as Will, Louise and Joel, but I’m sure they won’t be who my readers imagine. And that actually doesn’t matter; the main thing is, I hope they feel like real people!
about the author
Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel and first in the Bella Tyson series, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant finalists. Fiona is represented by Lina Langlee at the North Literary Agency.
tour hosted by
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour, and to Fiona for sharing her wonderful content with us.
I’ll be back soon with my huge July monthly round up!
Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you choose to purchase this book through these link, I will receive a small payment (at no additional cost to you). This is the only form of monetisation on my blog so every little helps and is appreciated.