Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a British author living in NW Ohio with my wife, fellow author Cindy A Matthews. I enjoy writing (of course!), gardening and cooking.
How do you make time to write?
I’m lucky to have my own office space which I can retreat to and work in undisturbed for at least a couple of hours most afternoons.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, it can happen. I found that if a plot refuses to move on, more often than not an idea for a later scene in the book presents itself. Working on those later scenes gets them out of my head and always suggests ways in which the tricky scene can be resolved.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write murder-mysteries set in the 1920’s. There’s something deeply satisfying in crafting the plot and interweaving story-lines to reach a conclusion that-hopefully-the reader won’t guess at too easily from the get-go.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? Traditional. My books are available in e-format and also POD.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Introvert, definitely. I prefer to stay back and observe rather than get involved in things.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Butt on chair, fingers on keyboard.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up. Listen to advice but have the courage to use your own ideas if you believe them to be better.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
From A Fool in the Marketplace, Book 4 of the Veronica Nash murder-mystery series.
The cheering grew in volume. Veronica saw the small shapes of the approaching sculls, the white water thrown up by the oars glistening in the sun.
“An interesting race, this,” Ben went on. “That chap in the lead, Morris, has a crooked right arm. It’s admirable the way he can wield an oar with his fin all bent like that.”
“Indeed,” Veronica murmured.
“You should pop up to Oxford when I return for Michaelmas term, Ronnie.” The dazzling smile was directed at her again. “I’m often out on the Isis with the chaps.”
“Wouldn’t it be rather boring, Jim-jam?” Claire inquired. “Where’s the fun in watching a band of students thrashing about on the river?”
Ben put on an air of hurt dignity but Veronica could see the twinkle in his bright blue eyes. “One does not thrash at Oxford. We row with great dignity and style.”
“Until you catch a crab and fall in the Isis,” Claire retorted then poked out her tongue at him. Veronica saw Lord Desborough taking his leave. With a tip of his straw boater to the ladies he hurried down the gangplank to the riverbank and strode toward the VIP stand. Claire’s second-oldest brother, Edward, watched him go with a thoughtful expression.
She couldn’t quite make Edward out. A stocky, earnest, bookish young man with a full reddish blond beard, he wore thick spectacles and dark, neat and sober attire. He’d been so stiff and formal at his family’s combined Christmas and Hanukkah celebration. In spite of being in his mid-twenties and therefore not much older than she, Edward had a donnish air more suited to a much older man.
At that moment he turned and she looked away before she met his eye. He seemed rather too interested in me last Christmas. Ben’s infatuation is more than enough for me to cope with right now.
She saw His Lordship’s secretary Jacob Levine, a dark handsome man in his early forties looking at her from where he stood smoking a cheroot at the other end of the deck. Unseen by Edward and Ben he gave her a wry smile and jerked his head at the two younger men as if to say boys will be boys. Veronica smiled and nodded back, liking Levine’s quiet demeanour.
Gabriel and his date put their drinks on the trestle table and moved to the railing, Gabriel’s arm sliding around Elizabeth’s waist in a proprietorial fashion. He appeared rather flushed. Veronica wondered how much drink he’d taken aboard. Lady Sibfield-Murray stood somewhat behind the couple, a calculating look on her face. Her husband joined her as everybody stood to watch the single sculls negotiate the closing stretch of the course.
Claire stood close to Veronica’s right, Ben to her left, his interest in her plain enough. She smiled at him. My, but he’s a handsome beggar. He turned his head and gazed down at her, his burly form almost blocking her view downriver. And he seems really smitten by me. Oh dear.
Claire’s lips twitched as she gave her a sidelong look. Veronica guessed her brother’s puppyish interest hadn’t gone unnoticed. She smiled back. Were I not with Claire, I would be tempted.
The party cheered as the single sculls approached. The leader by a clear three lengths or so was the delightfully-named Morris Morris wielding the blue dashed oars of the London Rowing Club. His rival D. Gollan, wielding the light pink blades of Leander, put on a last spurt of effort but failed to close the gap. Morris shot across the finishing line to the accompaniment of a resounding cheer.
“Crikey, what a terrific finish!” Ben crowed, punching the air. “I must see if I can have a word with that chap later.” Veronica noticed Gabriel shake his head at his brother’s words and move back to the table with the drinks. He picked up an egg and cress sandwich and examined it before taking a large bite. She noticed his complexion had turned puce. What a sourpuss to take no delight in another man’s achievement.
A shout of alarm went up from behind her. Veronica spun around and saw the winning oarsman had fallen in the river. “Good gracious, whatever happened?”
“The poor chap’s exhausted,” Claire’s father said, coming up to lean on the railing and peer at the scene. “I’ve never seen
anything like it. He just toppled out of his scull.”
They watched as two of the Conservancy officials’ boats manoeuvred to rescue the man. Between them they managed to get Morris into the motor launch. A heartfelt cheer of relief went up.
Something thumped hard on the deck behind Veronica.
“Gabriel? What’s wrong? Gabriel!” Elizabeth’s voice rose to a shriek. The party turned as one to look. Gabriel flopped on the deck, eyes staring, his face turning bright pink. His hands pawed at his throat and chest, as if he were desperate for air. Elizabeth knelt beside him, frantic hands clutching at his. A spurt of foamy vomit shot from Gabriel’s open lips to splatter her peach-coloured dress and she uttered another shriek.
“Good God!” Lord Sibfield-Murray dashed across the deck as his wife stood paralysed, her hands to her mouth. Levine joined him, kneeling on Gabriel’s other side to loosen his tie and shirt collar.
“Let me through!” someone shouted. “I’m a doctor.”
One of the guests unceremoniously pushed His Lordship aside and set to work. Veronica couldn’t remember the man being introduced to her. Levine got up and moved back to let him work. Feet clattered on the gangplank as someone dashed ashore in search for help.
Everyone watched, eyes wide with shock as the man fought to save Gabriel Sibfield-Murray with what appeared to be professional competence. It seemed touch and go. The young man fought for life with every ounce of his being. Veronica felt Claire take her left hand in a tight grip. A second later Ben’s arm slipped around her waist. She could hear Claire’s breathing, light and quick, almost panicky.
Gabriel ceased his struggles and turned ominously still. A frozen silence fell upon the yacht. The doctor straightened and stood up with a sad expression. “So sorry, old man. I’m afraid I’ve lost him.” Lady Sibfield-Murray uttered a soft scream and collapsed onto the deck. Before her husband could react the doctor dashed with nimble speed across the deck and took Lord Sibfield-Murray by the elbow, steering him to one side. Veronica stood close enough to overhear the doctor’s soft, urgent words.
“David, old man, I believe your son was poisoned. We must summon the police.”