Interview with Dawn Brookes, Author of Murderous Cruise Habit

21 Apr 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, Murderous Cruise Habit?

Murderous Cruise habit is the sixth in the Rachel Prince Mystery series set on a fictional cruise ship. Rachel is a murder magnet! Wherever she goes, trouble follows and this Caribbean cruise proves no exception when a nun who is part of an unusual group collapses and dies.

Despite Rachel’s parents being on the cruise with her, she can’t resist the urge to investigate encouraged by her incorrigible elderly friend, Lady Marjorie Snellthorpe. Rachel now has a number of friends on board ship including her best friend from childhood, Sarah Bradshaw, a cruise ship nurse. Never far away is the brusque but likeable chief of security with whom Rachel has a love-hate relationship.

A few early reviewers have marked the book out as the ‘best yet’ and one would love to see the series make it to TV!

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Having grown up reading Enid Blyton books with a torch under the bedsheets, I have always loved reading. Writing was a dream I never thought I would realise until I penned a memoir in 2016. The popularity of that book and with more time after retiring from my forty-year nursing career prompted me to give it a go. I also loved Agatha Christie and decided that it was still possible to write murder without gore, where plot and the investigation are central along with engaging characters. I published the first-in-series in 2018 and was delighted to find a dedicated readership almost immediately. They, and my imagination keep me going.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Now that’s a difficult question because I have an eclectic taste in reading.

If I was pushed to choose a top five they would include:

– Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, my all-time favorite romance novel
– Bleak House by Charles Dickens because of its depth of characters and detailed descriptions that many readers find hard today
– To a Different Drum by Dr Pauline Hamilton is one of the most engaging memoirs I’ve read. It’s about a woman who went from suicidal to stalwart missionary and ended up in China
– Lord of the Rings would be in my top five but as a trilogy rather than singling out one of them.
– 1984 by George Orwell is another classic that has to be in my top five

If you asked me the same question on another day, I might choose a different top five!

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

That’s a tricky one, but if it was now, I would want to invite LJ Ross, a self-published author who has attracted a huge following and sold millions of books. I would ask her what one thing does she believe has been the key to her resounding success?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Definitely the creative process. Allowing my imagination to develop into an engaging story that others want to read is humbling and rewarding in equal measure.

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake early and check emails, and engage with social media fans between 6am and 8am.

I write from 9-12 each day and aim for 2,000 words. I am more creative in the morning.

In the afternoon, I do other business tasks such as checking on marketing, editing, formatting etc unless I’m working hard to meet a deadline, in which case I write again.

This past year, I have been studying for an MA in Creative Writing so have had to fit in my writing life around university and studying. Cover-19 has unfortunately moved the studies to the virtual setting although working from home is something I’m used to.

What scene in Murderous Cruise Habit was your favorite to write?

One of the scenes involving Lady Marjorie and her fractious relationship with the chief of security was my favourite. She has a knack of putting him in his place with a few caustic words. Another was a scene where Rachel is confronted by a group of heavies as it required some imaginative plotting to get her out of a dangerous situation.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Not necessarily, but one of the things I believe concludes the ‘about’ section of my website and it is this:

“I believe there are no limits to what a person can achieve if they set their mind to it, no matter what background we are born into, we should not be restrained by boundaries.”

Dawn Brookes is the author of the new book Murderous Cruise Habit.

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