Interview with J. New, author of The Riviera Affair
27 Aug 2018
What can you tell us about your new release, The Riviera Affair?
The Riviera Affair is book four of my 1930’s British Vintage mystery series, dubbed by readers as, “Miss Marple meets The Ghost Whisperer.”
Ella, my main character, along with her aunt and an eccentric friend, are traveling to France to investigate the disappearance of Colonel Summerfield, a friend of Ella’s mother. It starts as a simple disappearance but then turns to murder, and Ella finds herself embroiled in a mystery which is far more complex than she had anticipated, with repercussions likely on both sides of the channel. She has to call on all her usual skills and devise new ones in order to flush out the adversary, but whether she will be in time to save the life of the man she came to find remains to be seen.
BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?
Time-travel. Whether it be minutes, hours, days or decades the possibilities are endless. I’d like to go back and visit my family members who are spread across the globe. To spend time with those who are no longer with us, and to visit the decades and places where my books are set; a perfect way to research! It would also be fascinating to meet my literary influences; Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan-Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, et al.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
I’ve read a huge number of books, with each one giving me something different depending where I was in my life and what I needed at the time, so it’s difficult to choose only five.
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton was one I would escape to time and time again as a child.
STARK by Ben Elton was the one book which, when I got to the end I turned to the beginning and read it again immediately. I’ve never done that with a book before or since. But what’s even more unusual is when I was speaking to my cousin about it weeks later, she said she had done exactly the same; turned to the beginning and read it again straight away.
All of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, he’s the one author I would look forward to when a new release was due, and immediately bought the hardcover.
Touched with Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison, as a bipolar sufferer this was a life changer for me, explaining the ways in which my broken brain is wired differently.
Harry Potter, the full series.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
I’d love to talk to Bryan Fuller, the American TV writer and producer who wrote, among many other things, the Hannibal TV series. It’s superlative writing and the attention to detail is impeccable. I’d begin by asking what the fundamental differences between book and scriptwriting are, what you need to take into account and the difficulties from transitioning one to the other, especially in terms of what to leave out when adapting a book for television so it doesn’t compromise the plot or the characters.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Overall it’s the freedom it gives me. In terms of the process there’s so much I love it’s difficult to pick just one. From getting lost in the creativity and having my characters take over the plot, which is truly magical when it happens, to the research. My books are set in Britain in the 1930’s and I’ve found myself down several rabbit holes while investigating various plot points. Also I’d have to say the fan mail. I still find it extraordinary and humbling that people take time out of their busy lives to write and tell me how much they love the series.
What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?
It is very close between, Hogwarts, St. Mary Mead and Discworld, but out of the three I’d have to say Discworld.
What scene in The Riviera Affair was your favorite to write?
Any involving ‘Aunt Margaret,’ she is as smart as a whip with a sometime acerbic and sarcastic wit. She’s great fun to write.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Be kind to yourself as well as others. And have the courage to pursue your dreams, you’ll never know unless you try.
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