How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
When I was sixteen years old I wrote a murder mystery for my best friend’s sixteenth birthday. It was only forty pages long and very rough in its execution. I’d written scripts prior to the story—all of which my best friend had read and loved—but it was Death of a Kindred that cemented in me the desire to have a career in writing. I often toy with the idea of re-drafting the original story, and its two sequels, but I’ve not yet found the time to do so. Sometime in the future, perhaps? Who knows!
Who are your favorite authors? (Please limit your answer to five or ten.)
Agatha Christie: – She’s the master of the classic clue-puzzle detective story (the blueprint I follow in my own writing). She set the bar for the genre and is widely considered to be the greatest crime writer of the twentieth century.
Raymond Chandler: – A stark contrast to Christie’s books, Chandler’s follow a hardboiled private investigator called Philip Marlowe. Though a contemporary of Christie’s, Chandler is completely different. There are truly unforgettable one-liners in each novel, alongside gripping characters and exciting plots.
John Bainbridge: – It’s very rare for me to find a book I, quite simply, can’t put down. John’s William Quest thriller books (The Shadow of William Quest and Deadly Quest), and his separate Inspector Abs mystery series (A Seaside Mourning), are able to do just this. I could quite easily finish one of his books in a single day; they are that easy to read, that gripping, and that enticing. His works don’t get the attention they deserve, in my opinion.
What are your greatest sources of inspiration?
My inspiration can come from, quite literally, anywhere. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas for my stories as I’m constantly thinking about them. Once I have an idea, I write it out in a stream of consciousness in a Word document. I ask myself questions about the idea, and follow through on various threads. Next, I’ll do a very basic plot outline for the idea, alongside character profiles for the murderer, victim, suspects, and witnesses.
Research is the next step and, more often than not, I have to revisit my plan and tweak elements to ensure it’s historically accurate. I prefer primary sources for my research, e.g. accounts from the Victorian era and/or photographs of the locations I intend to use. I try to find photographs that depict the location as close to what it was in 1896 as possible. This is really important, in my mind, when describing the location to the reader.
What genre(s) do you write?
I write mystery/detective fiction. My style of writing follows the classic blueprint of the clue-puzzle style. Famously followed by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, this style places emphasis on the puzzle posed by the mystery above anything else. To write a clue puzzle mystery, a writer must adhere to the notion of fair play. He/she is entering into a contract with the reader in which they are promising to set forth the clues the reader needs to discover “whodunit”. The challenge of constructing a solvable mystery, while also building a gripping and interesting story, is what I enjoy most about this genre.
Do you have any current or future projects?
I’m currently working on book three in my Bow Street Society Mystery series of novels. At the point of writing this answer, I’m approximately a third of the way through the book. I can’t give you a word count because I don’t limit myself to word count goals. In the end though, the book should be 100,000 words (approx.).
I’m also working on the next short story in the Bow Street Society Casebook series. This will be first released in parts through my newsletter and then published as part of a larger collection at the end of the year.
The Bow Street Society is a fictional group of amateur detectives operating in London in 1896. Each of its civilian members has been enlisted for their unique skill or exceptional knowledge in a particular field. This ensures the Society may work to solve cases on the behalf of their clients, regardless of their client’s social class or wealth; cases that the police either can’t or won’t investigate. From an artist to an illusionist, from an architect to a veterinary surgeon, the Bow Street Society is justice by all and for all.
Do you have an author website?
I don’t have a website dedicated to me as I prefer to put the emphasis on the characters and stories in my books. I therefore have a website dedicated to the Bow Street Society: Bow Street Society.
Do you have any blogs?
I don’t currently write a blog, but I do write a monthly feature for the online publication, Fresh Lifestyle Magazine. I was invited to write for it after my first Bow Street Society book, The Case of The Curious Client, won the magazine’s book award in April 2017. My current feature for the magazine may be found here: Fresh Lifestyle
Where can people find your work? (to purchase or just to read)
The Case of The Curious Client and The Case of The Lonesome Lushington books are both available through Amazon. So, too, is the first volume of short stories from the Bow Street Society Casebook, The Case of The Shrinking Shopkeeper & Other Stories. Those who want to read the future Casebook short stories before they are published on Amazon must subscribe to my free newsletter, the Gaslight Gazette here: Bow Street Society
Do you have any pseudonyms?
I don’t use a pseudonym, but I do use only my initials when publishing my books and short stories. The primary reason for this is that, in my experience, most people have difficulty spelling and pronouncing my first name (Tahnee).
Do you have any other hobbies besides writing?
I thoroughly enjoy reading and it’s one of my new year’s resolutions to try and read one fiction book a month, in addition to the non-fiction books I read for my research. Being on Goodreads has given me more motivation to read at least once a day, as I want to update my progress on the site with something greater than a couple of percent.
I also enjoy visiting museums, stately homes, and other places of interest in and around London. I’ve become a member of the National Trust and have plenty of outings planned for the coming year.
I enjoy Ghost Walks, too. Richard Jones—a highly experienced tour guide and master story teller—runs a whole host of ghost and historical walks around London. Such walks are an excellent way of finding out the historical background of a city, as most major cities have at least one.
Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I edit as I go when I’m writing, rather than editing a single draft at the end. I’ve tried both methods and editing as I go is, by far, the better option for me.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Until January 31st, 2018, I’m running a competition to win a bonanza of exclusive Bow Street Society merchandise. One lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive: a signed copy of The Case of The Curious Client, a signed copy of The Case of The Lonesome Lushington, a signed copy of The Case of The Shrinking Shopkeeper & Other Stories, a china cup with the Bow Street Society logo on it, a fridge magnet with the logo on it, a keyring with the logo on it, a canvas shopping bag with the logo on it, and three bookmarks, each with one of the above book covers. To enter the competition, please subscribe to the Gaslight Gazette newsletter, as a winner will be chosen from that list. Once the winner has been picked, I will email them for their preferred postal address in order to mail the merchandise to them. Their address will then be deleted once the merchandise has been sent. The winner’s name will also be announced on the Bow Street Society website and in the newsletter.