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Interview

“The Only Person I Am In Competition With, Is Myself—Angela Wren”

Angela Wren is back. She is all set to launch her latest novel, ‘MAZARGUES— A JACQUES FORET MYSTERY’ next month. She is extremely busy these days with travelling, various pre-book launch events, blogging, and research. But as a successful multi-faceted artist, she meticulously manages her tasks within the strict deadlines.

We, at TheCheckerNews, requested her for this exclusive interview to know more about her forthcoming project. She readily gave her nod and agreed for it. We are happy to feature her interview.

Here Are the Excerpts

Hello Angela! Welcome to TheCheckerNews. So what’s keeping you busy these days?

The launch of my new book #Mazargues is the most important project that is taking up the majority of my time.  There is also the launch of a new anthology of stories, called Winter Paths – I’ve been working with eight other authors in Canada to pull that together.  Lastly, I’m also working to create a new series of mystery stories set in central France with a new crime-busting team.

As I was going through your blog site, it seemed you have been travelling a lot. Which places have you recently visited? Can you share some anecdotes?

I’ve always loved to travel – it stretches the mind and there is so much to learn from other places and cultures.  I’ve travelled extensively in Europe and a little in north Africa, too, but there are still so many other places in the world that I would like to visit.

My most recent travels have taken me across France to Millau, and then back into the mountains of the Cévennes with some spectacular scenery, then north through the Puy de Dome and eventually back to England.  On that journey, some of my stopping places have been favourite old haunts and some have been newly found places to explore.  It was fabulous being in the valley of the river Allier but cold – the temperature rarely got above seven or eight degrees.  In Badaroux, a small village in the Cévennes, a cheeky Frenchman with a wide smile on his face walked into my photograph and waved at me through the lens of my camera!  Of course, I lost the shot, because the sun was covered by a cloud.  But he brightened my day.

I suppose the best parts of this journey through France were all the interesting bits of history I happened upon as I was meandering through towns and villages.  And all of that will be appearing on my blog in the coming months.

So your upcoming literary work is a cosy crime murder mystery. Right? Can you briefly share some details about #Mazargues the next #JacquesForêt mystery? Is it available in both online (Kindle edition) and paperback format?

#Mazargues will be published on November 25th and is available for pre-order as an e-book now.  The paperback version will follow after publication.

The story is set partially in the city of Mende in the Cévennes and a city further south.  My private investigator, #JacquesForêt, has to find a painting for his mysterious client.  But she isn’t always totally honest with Jacques and that leaves him following false leads.  However, his search brings him face-to-face with forgery and murder.

You are a big fan of Agatha Christie. What’s your opinion on Alfred Hitchcock—one of the best film directors in this genre?

I’ll say!  I’d read just about everything Agatha Christie wrote by the time I was fourteen.  And I still re-read her books even now.  I’m also a great fan of the TV adaptations of her stories too.

As for Hitchcock – I love his movies.  I think that these days they are getting a bit dated, but you can not deny the cleverness with which Hitchcock builds the suspense.  A lot of his films are in black and white and I think that adds to the chill of the subject matter and helps to build the tension.  As a director for stage myself, I have sometimes followed Hitchcock’s lead in limiting the colours used for costumes, scenery and lights in order to underline the actions and words of the actors.

I’ve read that Hitchcock was a very demanding man to work for.  But, if he were alive today, I would love to meet him and talk to him about his films and his thoughts on directing and managing actors and crew.

What are your expectations from #Mazargues the next #JacquesForêt mystery? Will it surprise the readers with a climax in the end?

I sincerely hope that the new book will be as well received as the others in the series.  But I’m enough of a realist to understand that you can’t please all of the readers all of the time.  So, I will wait and see what the reviewers say.

As for a climax at the end, well, a character from the previous books does re-appear.  He’s completed his prison sentence and he might be back in Jacques’ field of vision at some point in the future.  And that’s all I can say at the moment.

What are your hobbies – the things that you prefer to do when you’re not writing?

I’ve always loved history, so you can often find me at the library or in front of my computer researching my family tree.  My ancestors were from Ireland and London and I’ve come across some very interesting stuff about their lives and work.  Haven’t found a criminal amongst them, yet!

I also help manage a writing group where you can find me on two Saturday mornings a month.

Although I’m not working on stage any more, I do still love theatre and often go to see productions of all kinds.

And when I’m not doing any of the above you will find me travelling, or curled up on my sofa with my nose in a book.  I have always loved to read and that has made me into a collector of books.  You can sometimes find me searching the shelves of second-hand bookshops at any time of the week.

You must have a tight schedule for 2023. Is any major literary project is in the pipeline?

The new series of mystery stories is my major concern for the end of this year and the beginning of 2023.  I’m currently working on the first one and I have the outlines for at least four more books after that.  Any news about that will be on my blog in the new year.

There is also another #JacquesForêt mystery to develop and draft.  I’ve got all my research and planning done for that and I just need to sit down and put the words on the pages.

Following on from Winter Paths, there will be another short story for the third collection in that series which we hope to publish towards the end of next year.

I’ve got some talks scheduled into my diary and there will be some events coming up where I will be selling and signing books.  Everything will be advertised on my website, blog, and across my social media platforms.

Do you think the Nobel Prize in literature should also be awarded to writers of crime thrillers or suspense genres?

The point of the prize is to single out an ‘outstanding work’ across the whole field of literature.  So, that must mean that crime writers are included.  Whether any have actually won the prize or not, I couldn’t say.  I don’t really set much store by prizes or awards.  They seem to be divisive, to me.  And in all honesty, the only person I am in competition with, is myself.  I’m always trying to make my current book better than the last.

But going back to the prize, when you consider the number of books that are published every year, finding that one outstanding piece of work must be an almost impossible task.  If it happens that a book in the crime or suspense genre wins – that can only be a good thing.

What’s your aim in life as far as your literary career is concerned?

To keep telling my stories.  Being a writer was something I’ve wanted to do since I was child.  But school, exams, work got in the way.  It’s just great to be able to do what I really love doing.  And I have loads of notebooks filled with snippets of phrases, sentences, paragraphs and ideas and I want to use as many of them as I can.

Finally, Team CheckerNews wishes you the very best for your upcoming book. Before we let you go… Give us some reasons that make #Mazargues the next #JacquesForêt mystery different from other crime thrillers?

It’s set in a rugged mountainous area of France, my detective is a seriously nice guy and all of my books are completely clean reads.  There is a murder, but there are definitely no blood-thirsty or gory descriptions and my editor says it is ‘a cracking read’.

Thanks a lot, Angela. All the best!