Redgrave Ladies Group Talk

April 11th, 2017.

I trundled off in my car loaded down with books and suitcase. I opted to stay in a B & B in the middle of a rural village not too far from the village of Redgrave where I was to give my talk.

I settled into my room and set about making up my little goody bags with mini Easter Eggs as a gift for each lady. My achievement of the day was that I only ate two of said mini eggs. Well, maybe four …

The drive to the talk was beautiful. The sun was nestling above the fields and just perfect. I arrived calm and on time.

Liz Cooper who booked me for the talk greeted me and was most welcoming. I relaxed and the rest of the group were equally friendly.

My table set out as I planned and everything ran to plan. Until. Until …
I was halfway through reading the first draft chapter of Maggie’s Men. I was reading from my eReader on my tablet. Gremlins. Gremlins …

Gremlins moved inside and juggled the workings!

Being a person who still loves paper, I’d saved a printed draft (basic) and at the last minute squished it into the bag. With no more than a few beads of sweat on my upper lip, I battled on.

At one point the room was so quiet I had to take a quick look to see if my audience were still awake. They looked back at me in frustration as apparently, they thought I’d ended the reading and they graciously wanted more.

The whole evening was a huge success and the group were wonderful and so attentive. One lady said she was thrilled Maggie’s Child was ‘their’ book and looked forward to Maggie’s Men. Several others offered the same sentiments when they said their goodbyes. They were equally thrilled when I gave them a one-off bookmark made to commemorate the event.

Taking Maggie home was a special moment in my life. However, when I do my next talk I will not be taking my Gremlin friends with me! Paper all the way from now on. I am a little suspicious of technology and of how it knows when to nip the ‘I’m so relaxed this is going well’ feeling from your smug bag.

Any book signing/reading disasters for you guys?

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Author Interview : Lesley Cookman

Welcome Lesley,





Lesley Cookman ~ Author

What is your genre? Why did you choose it?

What is now called “Cosy” mystery. I have been an avid reader of Golden Age mysteries since the age of nine, and always wanted to write my own.



Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?

No! I tried once, but my brain won’t cope!

Do you work with a writing/critique group?

No, never.

Can you remember your first reading book?

Yes. The Teddy Bear Annual. I’ve got a photo somewhere…

Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?

No. Sorry about that. 😉

Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.

Absolute bombshell, the whole office. It got like this after moving from the large house where my late husband and I had an office each. I’ve ended up with everything crammed in here, and I’m the most notorious hoarder you’ve ever met. I have scraps of paper, receipts, scripts, notes-to-self, photographs, and old baby scan…You name it, it’s in here. Along with boxes of photographs from both sides of the family and the general detritus of family life.

Are you published in the traditional manner or self-published? Share your journey.

Traditionally published and I’m afraid slightly atypical. I started writing features for Which Computer over 35 years ago, and went on to write for various other trade and business magazines. I met Hazel Cushion, MD of Accent Press when we were students on an MA course. We published Sexy Shorts for Christmas between us for the Breast Cancer Charity, I then stepped back, and Hazel went on to found Accent Press. A couple of years later, she asked if I’d written any more of my dissertation from Uni, which I hadn’t, asked if she could read it again and offered to buy it. She also asked if it could become a series. It was a risk for both of us, but luckily, it paid off, and we’re up to book 17 in the series, with number 18 due out in October.

Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?

Elizabeth Goudge, Ngaio Marsh and John Dickson Carr.

What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?

Heavens! What everyone says, I suppose – write the best piece you can and make sure you adhere to the conventions of your chosen genre, especially if you’re just starting out. There are always exceptions to the rule, but we don’t hear about all the failures!

If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?

Libby was originally conceived as a younger Miriam Margolyes, but apart from Ben being based on Paul Freeman, I can’t think of anyone else. All my readers have pictures of the regular characters in their own minds, and I’d hate to disappoint them.

I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?

no, sorry!




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