My Welcome Wednesday slot returns with some fabulous interviews for you. That means both you and I to get to know authors not met before, and the first of these is Claire Stibbe.
Crooked Cat will be publishing The 9th Hour, written by Claire, in a few months time.
Welcome to my blog, Claire. Please tell us 3 things about yourself.
Hi Nancy, thank you so much for interviewing me. I’m originally from Berkshire, England. My father was a housemaster at Bradfield College for many years before becoming Head Master of the King Edward School in Norwich. I think it was his courage to survive a war, his stories and his love of English literature that inspired me to write.
I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1995 and I have been here ever since. They call New Mexico ‘the land of enchantment’ and for those of us who have never found our way home, ‘the land of entrapment.’ My husband is American and my son is half Navajo.
I work from home as a wife, mother and part-time author. My first two books Chasing Pharaohs and The Fowler’s Snare are novels of ancient Egypt published in 2014. The research alone took two years before putting pen to paper. Having taken a slight hiatus from Historical Fiction, I am enjoying the freedom of writing thrillers set in a modern era.
I can totally understand and appreciate that about historical research, Claire, and needing a break afterwards. Regarding new Mexico, I almost got to Santa Fe a few years ago when my brother-in-law had a holiday home there...but one thing and another prevented our visit. I'm sure I'd have loved it.
If you’re a reader, (and I can’t imagine any author who isn’t) what’s your favourite genre? Or, do you tend to read anything that comes you way?
One of the first novels I read was Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, a Victorian poet who wrote about a declining rural society in Wessex. I was fascinated by the way Hardy made his characters so life-like, how we could easily resonate with their suffering and sadness―a theme so central in his work. C.S. Lewis was a friend of my father’s and much of my childhood was taken up lying on a blanket in the afternoons on a lazy hazy day, hearing my father read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. J.R.R. Tolkien was also a big influence and I think that’s where the fantasy genre began to take root.
What genre/s do you prefer to write in?
I love historical fiction (with a little fantasy), mystery-thriller-suspense.
What made you want to write your first novel?
My father was a writer and a teacher of English Language and Literature at Bradfield College. He instilled the importance of writing at least one English composition in the summer holidays. Writing quickly became a passion. I think one of the rewards of writing is being able to make up your own characters, living with them, and watching them endure the most lethal conditions and coming out of it better than they went in.
Can you tell us about your new book The 9th Hour?
This is the first in the Detective Temeke series where the central character is a man of Ethiopian and British descent. It gives just the right mix of character to spice up the plot and for readers to enjoy the cultural differences, especially here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With a background in Behavioral Research (BRIU) Temeke is a detective well versed in violent crimes against children.
The Duke City Police Department is no stranger to gruesome murders but the new serial killer on their block keeps the body parts of his eight young victims as trophies and has a worrying obsession with the number nine. The suspect is incarcerated in the state's high security penitentiary but Police Chief Hackett is faced with a dilemma when another teenage girl vanishes.
Temeke and his new partner, Malin Santiago, are sent to solve this baffling crime that weaves ancient Norse legend around the dense forests of New Mexico’s Cimarron State Park. Time is running out. Can they beat the 9th Hour killer before he dismembers his ninth victim?
Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing - fall/winter of 2015.
Genre: Psychological Thriller, mystery, suspense (hardboiled)
Pages: 323 (approximately)
That sounds like an intriguing series, Claire. Is there one main location, or are there multiple places mentioned? If multiple, did you need to research the places for the novel?
Yes. Location is extremely important and often becomes a character in itself. I think the most gratifying part of writing this story was taking photos of a desiccated desert surrounded by mesas - not to mention palisade cliffs, Pondorosa pines, ancient Anasazi Indian ruins, rivers and strange rock formations which make a marvelous backdrop for all these books. With the help of local detectives, researching files and videos, I enjoy driving to the bleak forests scattered around the state and finding the right mood and place for Detective Temeke’s crimes to occur. Albuquerque is predominantly Hispanic, named in honor of Francisco Duke of Albuquerque, viceroy of New Spain (1653 to 1660) and derived from the Latin albus quercus meaning "white oak."
This first book takes place just before Christmas in the snowy mountains of Cimarron State Park. Winter’s coming . . .
Oh, get the winter coat and gloves out... *wink, wink*! What are you working on right now?
The second book in the series Night Eyes is set in Carson National Forest. One of Albuquerque’s highest government officials loses his twelve-year-old son to a kidnapper. Temeke can’t make head or tail of his witnesses or the statements he receives. He must rely on his gut and the rantings for a former prisoner.
You are having a break from historical work! Now for some fun time short answer questions:
Favourite place to visit for a short weekend break? We love going to the art galleries in Santa Fe and the many historical buildings and churches. Taos Resort and Ski Area and the Bandelier monuments which are the homes of the Ancestral Puebloans.
Favourite colour? Blue
Favourite drink? Coffee
Favourite sport or leisure activity? Hiking, reading, swimming, sailing and travelling. We often go to different states to my husband’s model airplane competitions. He flies. I write!
To find out more about CMT Stibbe’s books, visit her website at www.cmtstibbe.com.
Claire has also written short stories for Breakwater Harbor Books, a publisher of anthologies. The collection won Best Anthology of 2014 in the Independent Book Awards hosted by eFestival of Words.
Thank you for such a great interview, Claire. It's lovely to get to know you a little better...and Albuquerque sounds so gorgeous and warm just now, Scotland being so grey and rainy.
I'll look forward to doing a cover reveal when it's time for The 9th Hour to be launched!